Pythons are wiping out wildlife in the Florida Everglades.
Here’s an excerpt from an article in the Tampa Bay Times:
“In a report published Monday, a team of scientists said they found that between 2003 and 2011, the areas where pythons had proliferated saw a 99 percent decrease in raccoons, a 98 percent drop in opossums, a 94 percent drop in white-tailed deer and an 87 percent falloff for bobcats. And that's not the worst of it.
“‘We observed no rabbits or foxes,’ the report noted.
“The bottom line: ‘In areas where pythons have been established the longest … mammal populations appear to have been severely reduced.’"
Of course, pythons are an exotic species that should not be in the Everglades. They are present because of the federal government’s failure to competently regulate the exotic pet industry.
Just add water and you get an idea of what could happen to our fish and other aquatic species because of exotic carp, snakeheads, gobies, and other invaders.
Granted, the snakehead is the only top-level aquatic predator so far --- as is the python on land --- but exotics can wipe out natives through means other than eating them. They can take over habitat and gobble up all of the food. They can introduce disease. In rare cases, they even can interbreed, weakening the genetic integrity of natives.
The truth is that established populations of invasives can have consequences that we can’t even contemplate until it’s already too late.