Fire Ants, Killer Bees, Piranhas, Monitor Lizards, giant African rats, and other unwelcome newcomers are making Florida a trickier place to tread. One invasive species, however, trumps all the rest combined.
Our friend, Ernie, of nearby Naples, Florida, tells us that last year he and another deputy sheriff were called to the local airport on an emergency. When the two arrived they gazed up in the girders of a airplane hanger and there, snugly ensconced, was a large python. Yep. And this one, of course, was no escapee from a zoo either. No, it was a wayward monster from the nearby Everglades, the first of many to come, no doubt. Ernie, formerly from the human zoo of Brooklyn, NY, takes it all in stride. Me? Ha! Anyone who doubts my credentials as a card carrying ophidiophobic need only consult past posts on this blog regarding snakes.
As most Americans are probably aware of by now, the Florida Everglades has a major problem with Burmese Pythons. How these nightmares reached Florida matters not; they are here in numbers now and unless we throw some serious money and effort at the problem, they are here to stay, with all the terrible ramifications for our native species that one can imagine. Problem on problem: As per Ernie, and as a news note from nearby Ft. Myers mentioned last month about one spotted in a backyard, anyone who thinks these ugly monsters will remain politely within the bounds of the Everglades is kidding themselves.
Now, Ft. Myers is a mere 30 miles due south of this island Michelle and I call home. As I see it there is absolutely nothing to prevent an eighteen foot python from reaching Manasota Key save a short swim of a mile or so from the mainland. I am girding myself for the day when I walk outside and see one of these beasts hanging from a palm tree or laying under the car.
Alaska is looking better and better every day.
Postscript--Since there are pythons here in Florida, then 'tis almost certain that there are cobras, too. Nice thought. Pleasant notion. One invasive species can crush you like a beer can and swallow you whole, another will kill you with poison in thirty seconds or less.
More Invasive Species—The U.S. Coast Guard this week successfully returned over 120 Haitian and Cuban criminals who were trying to enter Florida illegally by boat. Unfortunately, once these invasives reach their original starting point they will immediately reboot for another attempt. Much like the millions of human locusts sneaking across our southern border, the few this government manages to catch are treated with all the rights, courtesy and human dignity a nation in duress can muster. It is clear to this humble observer that this tired approach just don’t cut it. Instead of being fed, watered and politely returned to their homeland—“. . . and thank you, ma’am, come again!”--I think we should begin adding some “risk” element to this criminal game. Although sinking a few Haitian boats or shooting dead a dozen or more illegals swimming the Rio would work wonders for the problem, the U.S. government clearly prefers droning to death innocent stone-age families half way around the globe rather than defending this nation's borders against an illegal invasion. Perhaps making those criminals who are caught clean up the trash along our highways for several weeks, or until they have earned enough money to pay for the trip back to their homeland, would work as an anti-incentive to entering this country illegally.
What Goes Up. . . . Florida has had a number of parasailing deaths lately. One occurred up in the Tampa area; another just north of us on Longboat Key. Whoooeeee! A three-hundred pound dude down from Michigan for some fun in the sun, some sand and surf, snap some shots, buy a baby gator, some sex memories, chug some brewsky at a tiki bar, life is a groove, then BANG!!! a rope snaps and down our tourist comes like lead, all three hundred feet, all three hundred pounds, until he splatters like a tomato on the water. Apparently, a female parasailer was killed when the pull-boat engine suddenly stopped dead and down the woman came like a rock. Guess it is all in the para and there is no “sailing” to it. Murder! And I assumed these things were safe!
The Original Parasailer