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The Dangers of Exotic Species

Although South Florida has made great strides within the last few decades in protecting and restoring the Florida Everglades, it is imperative that attention is also brought to the animals who live within these revitalized spaces. Invasive species such as the Burmese Python and other large snakes have proven particularly problematic for the Everglades, where they devour keystone species such as alligators which create natural habitats for other organisms. Because many invasive species lack natural predators, they are able to prey on a variety of animals with few limiting factors keeping their own numbers from swelling. Through their presence, they disrupt the entire food web and throw fragile natural processes off balance. During a recent land restoration effort, volunteers from livablecutler encountered a town record-breaking Boa Constrictor weighing in excess of 45 lbs. Invasive species are thus not only a problem for other animals, but also affect our own safety within natural areas.

Residents should also know that Zoo Miami holds an annual Amnesty Day every March. During this time, exotic pets can be safely surrendered to authorities without penalty or inquiry. Together, we can raise awareness and prevent these endangered species from causing untold environmental damage.

- Thomas C. Condon
- Cutler Bay, Florida

Invasive Species: Burmese Python

It’s no secret that Burmese Pythons have been a detrimental problem to the Florida Everglades for several years now. Pythons have been recorded seen in the saline glades and mangroves since the 1980s when it was presumably introduced because of hurricane Andrew destroying a breeding facility. Ever since then they’ve been reproducing and expanding throughout the Florida everglades. With little to no predators including humans and alligators they can easily thrive preying upon various non-native and native species within the ecosystem. It is our duty to decrease the rate at which these pythons have been reproducing and spreading by implementing more Python removal days. Previous contests have been initiated allowing permitted hunters to kill pythons within a short amount of time. I think more of these contest should be implemented to rid these invasive species.

-Johsica Johnson