Nonnative Species in the Everglades
Florida is a beautiful state with a climate that is inviting to people as well as a variety of plants and animals including species from other parts of the world that live in similar climates. World travel, international mail, and wind and water currents are among the many pathways that have made it possible for species from all over the globe to find their way to the Sunshine State. Sometimes nonnative species are brought here intentionally and sometimes they hitchhike along with unknowing travelers. Many invasive reptile species in Florida, such as the Burmese python, have been introduced through the pet trade.
Most nonnative species that are introduced do not survive, but those that do have the potential to become invasive, causing significant negative impacts to the environment or the economy or posing a danger to human health and safety. While invasive wildlife species are found in many parts of Florida, they are especially prevalent in subtropical south Florida. Of major concern are Burmese pythons, Argentine black and white tegus, Nile monitors and lionfish. Invasive species such as these can prey upon native species and compete with native wildlife for food and habitat. They can also spread nonnative diseases and parasites, as well as damage important recreational and commercial fisheries and agricultural crops.
To minimize these impacts, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, South Florida Water Management District and partners are working cooperatively to manage and control invasive species throughout the Everglades ecosystem.
Getting involved with the Florida Python Challenge® is a great way for you to help these agencies conserve Florida’s native fish and wildlife! You also can help by reporting sightings of nonnative species. Sightings can be reported online at IveGot1.org, through the IveGot1 mobile app, or through FWC’s IveGot1 Hotline.