Orlando: Burmese python-free since 2009
Are you concerned about the rise of invasive non-native animal and plant species here in Central Florida? Please allow us to refer you to EDDMapS, the database developed by the University of Georgia’s Center For Invasive Species & Ecosystem Health that will help you keep tabs on the latest critters, varmints and odd flora sighted in our general area. EDDMapS informs us the last Burmese python seen in our wild was in September 2009 slithering around town homes in Hunters Creek. Unfortunately, sightings of the African native ball python have occurred more recently (May of 2012 in Ocoee; September of the same year in Winter Springs), and don’t get us started on the friggin’ South American island applesnail (our city’s been lousy with them since at least 2005).
It’s easy to let focus here shift away from plants, but many of the leafed interlopers EDDMapS catalogs can prove just as troublesome as intercontinental snakes and snails. To wit: Japanese bush coral ardisia, which is toxic to livestock and capable of re-sprouting after fire (just like the Terminator).
Remember, the easiest way for you to help fight these trends is to not transmit, spread or release any invasive species in the area (read: do not dump your exotic reptile aquarium in a nearby retention pond because “Lucky” has become “too ornery” to feed). EDDMapS suggests that if you spot an invasive species in the wild you should immediately contact your local county extension agent, state forestry commission office, or any other state/federal natural resource or agricultural agency. Act fast and responsibly and you just might be the one who finally puts an end to the unwanted proliferation of Rosy-faced Lovebirds in your subdivision.