This is a tale of two Floridas. One: the land of land of sunshine, palm trees and manatees. The other: a bizarre, swampy hell of giant pythons, pet-eating lizards and gators galore. (And possibly even the fabled skunk ape!) Not to mention more recent additions including anacondas and the recently-uncovered Nile crocodile—you know, the Nile in far-away Egypt? Yes, that one.
That’s right—as if Floridian marshes didn’t have enough nightmarish creatures to contend with, reckless citizens have been introducing additional invasive species to the state for years. And they’re running amok. Non-native species cost Floridians half a billion dollars each year by damaging crops—including Florida’s staple export good, oranges—competing for resources with benign/useful indigenous species, injuring pets and generally screwing with the ecosystem.
The state has created an extensive public marketing campaign to raise awareness against introducing alien species, but so far to little effect. Miami International Airport is a major hub for the wild animal trade, both legal and illicit, and business is booming. So enjoy Miami’s beaches and your Disney World vacation while you still can—the Nile croc could be coming for you!