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10 feral animals wreaking environmental havoc

By: Sidney Stevens on June 7, 2012, 7 p.m.
Burmese python

Photo: Robert Sullivan/AFP

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Burmese pythons

Nile monitor lizards aren’t the only feral foreigners plaguing Florida. The Sunshine State is also being overrun by Burmese pythons, which were introduced to the wild by errant pet owners. Tens of thousands of these monsters — some growing up to 20 feet long — inhabit the state’s Everglades National Park where researchers suggest they may be responsible for a precipitous decline in populations of native mammals (including opossums, bobcats, rabbits and deer), birds and reptiles. Even more alarming, pythons and other feral serpents, like boa constrictors, are notoriously difficult to manage in the wild and adapt easily to colder climates — meaning they may be making their way to a state near you!