The dirty dozen: 12 of the most destructive invasive animals in the United States

The dirty dozen: 12 of the most destructive invasive animals in the United States

For some animals, there’s no such thing as a dog-eat-dog world. They rule.

Animals from around the world that stow away in airplanes, ships and the luggage of some smuggler become almost bulletproof when they make their way into the American wilderness as invasive species. Why? They’re new here, and they don’t have predators to keep them in check. Animals that should be afraid of a vicious predator aren’t. Invasive species eat like kings

Burmese pythons

These long, lean eating machines are terrorizing the Florida Everglades. Humans don’t have much to fear, but native animals had better watch their backs. Alligators are being knocked off their perch as the swamp’s top predator. People ask why these snakes are such a problem. Why can’t experienced hunters walk into the Everglades and kill them? Burmese pythons from Southeast Asia are so stealthy that even experts with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission have a tough time spotting them, let alone killing them. Since they were determined to be established and put the squeeze on the swamp in 2002, deer, raccoon, marsh rabbits, bobcats and possum have declined by as much as 99 percent in some cases, according to researchers for the U.S. Geological Survey.

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