Woods To Waters
Mar 20, 2023
Florida is full of lush environments and water supplies, and the state sports over 200 days of sunshine. While that’s a perk for the 22.5 million residents in Florida, it’s also why many invasive species stay. This sunshine state contains over 500 non-native plant and animal species.
These species wreak havoc throughout the state and damage delicate ecosystems. Florida has allowed some residents and visitors to hunt invasive animals in Florida to stop them from ruining the ecosystem. However, it’s always best to review the state laws to know when these animals are in season and the proper (and lawful) ways to pursue them.
Hunting aside, we wanted to share with you five types of invasive species that you can find in Florida just in case you come across them when you’re visiting this unique state.
Lionfish is one of the most distinctive fish in the sea. They’re typically brown or maroon, with white stripes covering their bodies. Many people recognize these fish by their tentacles, which fan all over. As beautiful and unique as they are, they’re messing up our ecosystem—making them an invasive species to Florida and a perfect fish to hunt in the Everglades.
These invasive Florida fish negatively impact the native species and habitats so badly that the FWC encourages people to remove them. They are yearly tournaments with a grand prize for catching as many lionfish as possible. Some rewards extend past $5,000 for each fish caught dead or alive.
The cane toad or marine toad is a non-native amphibian causing havoc in our natural habitats. They’re also poisonous—especially to your furry friends. These toads munch on small birds, other amphibians, and vegetation.
If you’re a Florida resident, we recommend maintaining your lawn and removing debris or clutter to prevent cane toads from moving into your space.
As if Florida wasn’t random enough, there’s an invasive species of monkeys roaming around. In the 1940s, about a dozen vervet monkeys from West Africa escaped captivity and fled. Now, over 200 monkeys live around Broward County —and they’re local celebrities. You can also glimpse these monkeys around Sarasota, Apopka, and Fruitland Park.
However, these animals are illegal to own, feed, and kill in Florida. The FWC believes they’re not bothering anyone. They stay in one space, and officials would rather not get into monkey business. You can only kill one of these animals if it’s on your privately-owned property.
The infamous green iguanas are an invasive species you can find in Florida. They roam the streets and sometimes will stop and stare at you. Due to Florida’s desirable climate, these large lizards migrated to the state and plan to stay. Green iguanas have been a big problem in the Sunshine State since they ruin the vegetation in South Florida and, in cold weather, fall from the trees.
Since 2004, green mussels have been popping up along the Florida coast. These mollusks grow tightly together and can cause problems with ships, boats, and infrastructure in beach homes. Green mussels often grow in toxic or polluted waters, so we recommend not eating them. If you do, you could run the risk of falling gravely ill.
Want to put a stop to all this invasive species madness? We have the excursion for you: hunting invasive species in Florida. If you live in Florida or are visiting, help keep our habitats healthy by participating in our guided iguana hunting in Florida. We also offer other excursions, from wild hogs to Burmese pythons to even alligator hunts. Contact us today, and we will help guide you
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