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Anacondas, Crocodiles, and Pythons on the Loose in Florida -My New Article Appearing in Slate

Hey Living Alongside Wildlife Readers,

You may remember a recent post I wrote about why I didn’t think we needed to worry about Green Anacondas in Florida. Well, I was just given the opportunity to write more about which big predatory reptiles actually should keep Florida biologists up at night. Please click through, share the article, and show some love there. Maybe I’ll have the opportunity to reach that audience again. Here’s the first paragraph.
Some of the world’s biggest and deadliest reptiles have been found in the United States where they don’t belong, including Nile crocodiles, Burmese pythons, and green anacondas. In fact, all of them have been found in Florida alone. The swampy wilderness of south Florida is hot, muggy, and a great spot for reptiles from all over the world to settle in and get comfortable. You might think that it would be difficult for a beast from the jungles of Africa, Asia, or South America to find its way to Florida, but it’s not. In fact, a few hundred of them may have been in the cargo hold of the last airplane you flew on, either smuggled, shipped here legally for the exotic pet trade, or as stowaways. If they escaped, any of them could end up wreaking havoc on native ecosystems and contributing to the $120 billon worth of environmental damage that non-native species cause in the United States each year. Or, they could end up doing nothing at all. Unfortunately, it is very difficult for biologists to tell what risk a non-native species might pose to the United States before it is too late…