America has always attracted the talented and adventurous individuals in search of a land of plenty. But we people are not alone as numerous animal and plant species are also making the trip to our fine shores. Unfortunately they are not always the most considerate visitors and many outstay their welcome or unwelcome as is often the case.
Here are a few in along lost of far out characters that have staked a claim in our world:
The Nutria – a 20 pound giant rat from South America that was originally farmed for its fur. Upon escaping to the wilderness they have bred copiously and are now widespread in the wetlands of Maryland.
The Burmese Python – a big slithering snake that attracted many pet owners. However as they grow and grow…and grow, many were released into the wild. They have found a welcome habitat in the Florida Everglades where they are estimated to number in excess of 30,000…and growing…
The Asian Carp – imported to clean catfish ponds in Arkansas, they quickly escaped into the Mississippi River where they happily grow to over four feet and weigh in at over 100 pounds. They compete with native fish for plankton and are forever hungry.
Feral pigs – introduced to the US in the early 20th century for hunting, these squeelers quickly went hog wild and have bred into a population of over 4 million responsible for more then $800 million in property damage each year.
Kudzu – not restricted to the animal kingdom, invaders from abroad include plants of all kinds. Kudzu found its way here from Japan and is inundating waterways around the south spreading at a rate of over 150,000 acres per year.
Not all visitors are welcomed but the immigration continues. What other strange beasties will join these ranks over the coming years? Stay tuned…