Chan Lowe: Burmese pythons take over the Everglades
The recent story about how pythons have taken over the Everglades⎯and are eating everything in sight⎯prompts us to re-examine the precarious balance between man and beast in this humid swamp we South Floridians call home.
When you think about it, everything was doing fine down here until homo sapiens came along in search of mild winter weather. For a short while, hot summers drove him off until he invented air conditioning, which allowed him to become a permanent fixture amid the other subtropical fauna.
With Man came hobbies and interests. His love of reproducing microcosms of the oceans within his dwelling inspired him to import exotic species such as lionfish to populate his aquaria. When he tired of them eating up the rest of his piscine investments, he tossed them into the nearest canal. Now lionfish, which have no local predators, have become a menace to our waters, decimating the indigenous species.
A desire for more land upon which to build crackerbox developments caused Man to import the melaleuca from Australia to drain the swamps. Again, lacking predators, this tree grew out of control until a special beetle that enjoyed feasting upon it had to be imported.
Likewise, Man’s hankering for products from afar brought unwanted hitchhikers to our shores, like the Formosan termite and the white-footed ant.
Now we speak of the Burmese python, which was imported willy-nilly by commercial interests to satisfy herpetophiles’ desire to share their domiciles with slimy, slithery things. Of course, they soon got too big for the condo, and⎯well, you know the rest of the story.
It makes you wonder which species are the pests.POSTED IN: None