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Florida’s Invasive Species Fiasco

Giant lizards, wild boars, and pythons are all just part of a regular day on the job for Florida wildlife trappers

FloridaFOX 35 Orlando, MELBOURNE, Fla. – Giant lizards, wild boars, coyotes, and pythons are all just part of a regular day on the job for wildlife trapper James Dean.

He said these invasive animals have wreaked havoc in the Sunshine State. “Florida has always been a zoo,” Dean added.

Every year, invasive species cause an estimated $1.4 trillion in damage and control costs worldwide.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Florida is home to more non-native animals than any other part of the country.

Dean knows this all too well. He said he has had a big increase in phone calls for wild boar sightings this year, and some of them are a 500-pound problem … Click here to read more. 

Green Iguanas Now Illegal In FL; What Pet Owners Should Know

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D’Ann Lawrence White, Patch Staff | Apr 30, 2021

PATCH.COM, FLORIDA — Iggy the green iguana may be your child’s beloved pet. However, as of Thursday, he’s also illegal.

A new statewide law takes effect Thursday prohibiting the sale and purchase of 16 nonnative reptiles in Florida, including green iguanas and tegus, a type of lizard from Central and South America that can grow as large as a dog.

But parents need not worry. There won’t be armed wildlife officers invading your home to confiscate your child’s pet.

Residents who own green iguanas and tegus, however, will have to register them, obtain a permit and have their pet reptiles microchipped.

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To make it easier for Florida residents to comply with the new invasive species law, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Service is hosting a series of Tag Your Reptile Day events in May and June.

The new state rules are designed to protect Florida from 16 species of high-risk, nonnative reptiles, which are all too often released into the wild when irresponsible pet owners get tired of them or the creatures escape their cages and wander away from their homes.

For years, these nonnative species have negatively impacted Florida’s sensitive ecosystem. Nonnative species tend to breed quickly and can take over an area, competing with native wildlife for food and other resources, killing the native species’ young, introducing new diseases into the habitat and disrupting the food chain.

In response to the growing problem, the state enacted a new law Feb. 21 intended to cut down on the release of green iguanas and tegus into the environment and help locate the owners if the creatures are lost.

Floridians will no longer be able to buy or sell these reptiles:

  • Burmese or Indian pythons
  • Reticulated pythons
  • Green anacondas
  • Northern African pythons
  • Southern African pythons
  • Scrub pythons
  • Nile monitors … Click here to read more.

 

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