What’s going on?
Invasive species tend to make Florida their home due to the state’s warm and hospitable climate. Not to mention, Florida has many port cities which serve as a point of entry for almost three-fourths of all plants imported into the U.S. On top of that, Florida is the world leader in the reptile trade. Taking all of these factors into account, it’s easy to see why Florida has the worst invasive species crisis in the entire continental United States.
Why it matters.
Invasive species can quickly take over habitats and cause serious harm to the environment. They hurt Florida’s native species by preying on and competing with them for food and other resources. Not only do these species decrease Florida’s native biodiversity, but they can also damage crops and spread disease. Managing the invasive species crisis is no easy task, and it costs Floridians over $500 million per year.
What you can do.
- Report any invasive species you see to the Exotic Species Hotline (888-IVEGOT1) or list a sighting online.
- Participate in invasive species removal programs where you can be trained on how to safely capture animals like pythons and iguanas.
- If you own an exotic pet you can no longer care for, don’t release it! Instead, give the animal to the FWC’s Exotic Pet Amnesty Program.
- Learn more about specific invasive species and their impact on Florida.