Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Invasive Snakes

Invasive species introduced by humans can wreak havoc on any ecosystem. One prime example is the snake problem in South Florida. Florida has the highest number of nonnative herptiles out of any state. The problem arises from the trend of Floridans buying huge snakes, then realizing they are unable to care for such a cumbersome animal, then releasing it into the wild for lack of a better way to get rid of it.The wet, swampy biomes of Southern Florida are the perfect habitat for large reptiles like snakes and crocodiles, so as soon as they are released the snakes began feeding on native wildlife and reproducing. The invading snakes routinely devour deer, alligators, and people. Floridan legislature is currently trying to push a bill that would list the large pythons as an "injurious species," sort of an opposite to an endangered species. Their removal from the ecosystem, whether by capture or killing, would be permitted and encouraged. Purchase and sale of the offending species is already illegal. Recent years have shown a trend of decreasing snake populations, hopefully meaning that efforts are being successful. Reclaiming an ecosystem so heavily affected by an invasive species will be a very difficult task, but hopefully someday they will be able to restore the Everglades to their former glory.

Rhys Ursuliak


  1. It is interesting to see the effect that such a dangerous predator has on an ecosystem. Most of the invasive species we hear about in the North like moths and fungi are, on the surface, not very exciting. These snakes however are apparently eating large prey and even people! it is sad that these snakes have to be killed but, in the interest of the balance of the ecosystem, it is necessary. My question is, do the snakes have any natural predators or other means of natural population control?

    Posted By Erica Bonnell

  2. I wonder how this legislature will influence that of other states. Federal law regarding snakes has already been affected by the situation in Florida. It is terrible that pythons are wreaking havoc on the Everglades ecosystem, but when they are released into the environments of northern states, they will only survive for a very short time, having little or no effect on the ecosystem.

    Posted by Erica Fitzpatrick

  3. Has there still been an issue with snakes being released into the wild, since becoming illegal? I just don't understand how people (knowing it is illegal) feel okay about buying these animals and releasing them, knowing they can't properly care for them. I hope the fine or charge for the people who do this is drastic because it is a form of animal abuse.

    Taylor Pirog

  4. I have heard that it's not just the swampy areas that these snakes are in but that they are getting so overpopulated that many are starting to show up right in peoples backyards. This obviously causes a huge problem for households with little children as those snakes could crush them in a matter of minutes.

    Posted by Nicco Ciccolini

  5. Another irresponsible act by humans. I feel that besides making the purchase and sale of these invasive species illegal, people should be more educated and aware of the consequences. In this case, snakes are pretty big, hence they are easy to be killed and their populations can be controlled. But there are other smaller invasive species who are harder to spot and maintain. Therefore I feel prevention, such as making sale and purchase illegal, is always better than cure, which will be to try and control or wipe out the populations of these invasive species.

    -Hermann Kam

  6. The more of these blogs I read about how humans interact with other species in our environment, the more I feel like it concludes are massive impact everywhere we go. We don't really realize the scope of our actions until it's almost too late most of the time. It seems that we don't learn from past mistakes are well as we should. This invasive species as done some serious damage in Florida.

    Posted By Andy Zou