I woke this morning to the sound of parrots flying overhead.
I nearly stepped on a curly tailed lizard when I took the dog out.
I swatted a whitefly that tried to fly up my nose.
All of those are examples of exotic or invasive species.
Welcome to Florida, Land of Weird Pets.
Weird Pets always escape. It just takes time. There are monkeys in the Florida Keys, and Giant Snails in Miami. It's the second time for the Giant Snails. The first time a kid gave two to Grandma back in the 1960s. Grammy didn't like the snails so she tossed them in the back yard. They multiplied and the state of Florida decided to try to eradicate them. It took around 10 years and many millions of dollars.
I'm actually not the right person to argue about invasives since I have an Orange Wing Amazon Parrot. His name is Oscar and he lives in a cage that is in the back room right now. He likes to watch the ring necks that come for their afternoon visits in he shade of the bougainvillea.
But that's the point. He actually lives in the back room, right now at any rate. I may move him to the front room later. He likes that sort of change.
He's not living in the Everglades with another colony of parrots. I'm not letting him go, I've had him since 1986 and got him in Pennsylvania.
Pets do escape, sometimes they're aided by an open door and a pair or three of hands.
I'm "not allowed" to go to the dog park here. My dog wouldn't like it. You see irresponsible owners take their unwanted dogs and leave them tied to a fence so some poor fool like me would show up later and make my old dog Lettie jealous.
Can't really do that with a 17.5 foot long, 164 pound pregnant Burmese Python with 87 eggs in her. They don't tie to fences too well. Someone let this snake go at one point thinking they won't do any harm. They're actually pushing native species closer to extinction. It is this threat to biodiversity that is the problem.
This one was found with feathers in its stomach that they're looking at to see what kind of critters they're eating. It's not like you can say, "Hey Mrs Snake can you just eat the invasives?". They don't really know anything other than eat and sit in the sun to warm up.
I have heard rumors that this sort of exotic pet won't be allowed to be owned in the warmer areas of the state. North of the I-4 line perhaps. If that sort of law were in place we wouldn't have dozens of iguanas living on the docks around the island here and my bougainvillea would be less threatened by hungry green mouths that don't know how to share.
If you want to see a picture of the monster snake from Burma, have a look at this story on the BBC here. In the meantime, I'll have a look around the yard to see if I have to chase an iguana out of the bushes.