Invading Our Space

Posted 12/31/2020

Pythons, Iguanas and Tegu Lizards, Oh My! 

Florida offers the perfect place for retirement. From the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico to the peaceful Sawgrass of the Everglades, the beautiful weather could put a smile on anyone’s face. It is not just humans that are finding Florida to be a fabulous place to reside, wildlife is moving in too.

There are many invasive species to Florida, both on land and in water. The most common would be the Python found mainly in the Everglades. The Burmese Python is one of the biggest snakes! The largest caught in Florida measured over 17 feet. They can be found mostly by water but they are hard to see. Their colors camouflage them within the brush. Pythons are native to India and parts of China, but have been popping up in the Everglades since the 1980’s. In recent years, Pythons seem to be moving west into the Naples area. Pythons are not only a danger to humans and pets, but also to our wildlife. They have been known to make a snack out of our native mammals and birds and in return, have very few predators, making it easy for them to slither around. Many people had these snakes as pets. It is thought they grew too large, and were released into the Everglades by the Owners. These snakes can have up to 100 eggs at one time, and can live up to 20 years, a good explanation for the boom in population. Another long living nonnative critter is the Iguana, who can also live for more than 20 years. Native to Mexico and Central America, the Iguana has been seen in Miami-Dade County since the 90’s, and they are trailing the Python and moving west. These beautiful, large, green lizards are vegetarians, so they do not compete for a food source with Florida’s native lizards. Another bright green lizard we saw recently is the Cuban Knight Anole, native to… you guessed it, Cuba! Unlike the Iguanas, these feisty lizards do eat smaller native Anoles as well as frogs. They can be seen hanging out in a tree, but don’t get too close. They have teeth! The most recent reptile that has shown an appearance in sunny Southwest Florida is the Tegu Lizard, traveling all the way from South America. The Tegu Lizard is black and white and can get very large. Like most invasive species, it is thought they have multiplied in the wild due to being released as a pet.

Along with the invasive reptiles, there are many aquatic fish and land mammals that have found their way here. The Muscovy duck has been invading the area for some time. Although beautiful to watch, these ducks can cause a big problem to the native birds, and become a nuisance to a homeowner. Another nonnative critter to Florida that can cause damage to a property is the Armadillo. Although they are not native, they are common throughout the state of Florida. They are named because of the flexible armor they have. They eat mainly insects and worms, so they enjoy digging in the beautiful garden. Armadillos also dig for shelter and protection, and can have multiple burrow holes in one area. We do not recommend anyone going near wildlife themselves. Instead, call us and we would be happy to help with those critters invading your space!

From our Family to yours, Happy New Year,

Goldie Locks (2017)

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239-353-PEST (7378)