Florida and Hawaii lead the nation when it comes to having to deal with invasive species totally messing up the balance of their ecosystems. Non-native plants and animals can often devestate an environment, and government scientists are constantly waging battles against these dangerious invaders.
The Florida Keys are knee-deep in such a battle right now.
Federal and state officials are trying to completely irradicate Gambian pouched rats from the state. These are not ordinary rats. These damn things grow to the size of full-grown cats! Can you imagine a 9 pound rat running around your yard???
These African rats are more than a pest - they could potentially be dangerous. They are responsible for destroying all kinds of crops in their native Africa. And they are mean sonsofbitches - they will bite. And because some moron was keeping them and decided to let them loose 8 years ago, government workers are setting toxic traps in an effort to completely destroy them.
"They're a big rodent. They're not particularly attractive. I don't understand why anyone would want them as a pet," Gary Witmer, a member of the US Department of Agricultrue said. "They're very messy animals."
There are a ton examples of other invasive species causing havoc to the native ecosystems:
When the Asian long-horned beetle infested Brooklyn, New York, more than 2000 trees had to be destroyed, costing the federal and state government more than $5 million. Chicago has had to deal with these critters as well.
Invading sea lampreys caused the collapse of lake trout and other Great Lakes fisheries, costing the U.S. and Canada $13 million annually to control. This eel-like parasite of a fish can kill up to 40 pounds of other fish during it's 12-20 month lifetime.
In Guam, the brown tree snake was accidentally introduced to its ecosystem. This Australian native has caused over 200 snake bites, 1200 electrical outages and the extinction of most native forest birds on Guam.
On the TV show The View, the invasion of the Rosie absolutely devestated the already established balance on the set. The Rosie created her own magazine, and then quit - with a $100 million lawsuit on her heels. She then produced a show with Boy George! The musical lost $10 million (duh!!!). And she has engaged in battles with The Letterman, The O'Reilly, The Trump, and finally, The Hasselbeck. Fortunately, she's left the show - but I'm sure this crazy lesbian will find a new home to destroy.
Hat Tip goes to Siren for this story. Have a story idea for a blog post or podcast episode? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a voicemail at 206-339-7125.