South Florida’s recent unusual cold weather might be helping with the problem of Non-Native species.
Pythons and other snakes, reptiles and fish are dying by the thousands as temperatures drop.
Vultures circled over Everglades National Park’s Anhinga Trail, where thousands of dead nonnative fish floated in the marshes.
About half of the Burmese pythons that have turned up in the park recently have been dead.
Dead iguanas have dropped from trees and into lawns and patios across South Florida.
And in western Miami-Dade County, three African rock pythons have turned up dead.
Although South Florida’s warm, moist climate has nurtured a vast range of non-native plants and animals, a January cold snap reminded these intruders that they’re not in Burma or Ecuador anymore.
Temperatures in the 30s have apparently killed Burmese pythons, iguanas and other unwanted species.
“Anecdotally, we might have lost maybe half of the pythons out there to the cold,” said Scott Hardin, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s exotic species coordinator. “Iguanas definitely. From a collection of observations from people, more than 50% fatality on green iguanas. . . . Lots of freshwater fish died; no way to estimate that.”
Nonnative fish that have infested the Everglades are turning up dead in the thousands, including the Mayan cichlid, walking catfish and spotfin spiny eel, said David Hallac, chief biologist at Everglades National Park.
No one knows how many Burmese pythons live in the Everglades, where some were released as unwanted pets and others found refuge after hurricanes destroyed their breeding sites. But there are a lot fewer today than there were a month ago.
Greg Graziani, a police officer who owns a reptile breeding facility, is one of several licensed python hunters who stalk snakes in the Everglades. In four days, he found two dead snakes, two live ones and one on the verge of death.
“Vultures had pecked through 12 inches by 4 inches down the back of this animal’s body,” he said. “I thought it was dead, and we reached down to pick it up, and it was very much alive.”
In cold weather, Graziani said, pythons go into a catatonic state, and if they don’t make it to a safe place to ride out the weather, they freeze to death.
“We’re finding the smaller pythons are handling it better than the large ones,” Graziani said. “The smaller ones can get into different cracks and crevices to maintain the temperatures they need.”
Some information from the LA Times
The powers that be in Marco island hired a wildlife trapper six months ago to catch and kill their nuisance iguanas. The complaints are that they deficate in pools, eating shrubs and flowers, and undermining foundations and seawalls. The state of Florida requires the trapper to kill them because they are a non-native species, and as such, cannot be released back into the wild once captured.
Iguanas are just one example of non-native species in Florida becoming a nuisance.
Some others are armadillos, foxes, hogs, rats, mice, and even the European rabbit. And thats just some of the mammals. The reptiles on the list include Boa constrictors, pythons, monitor lizards, and even the brown Anole. Don’t know what an Anole is? Ever seen those cute little lazards that stand on the side of a tree and make their throat stick out to warn others and attract a mate?
We won’t even get into the debate here about Africanized Honey Bees in Florida.
The point is that practically everything in Florida is non-native, including most of the people.
Our job here at Nuisance Wildlife Removal is to trap and remove the animals and insects that have become nuisances to people. Now you know why we can’t just move some species to another location and let them go.