Friday, January 1, 2010

The Everglades

I went with friends to explore the Everglades in Florida.

What is it about people who recoil in fear when they see a cockroach or a spider, but in the wild become fearless explorers? My friends, their daughter, my wife and I spent a day looking for alligators and taking pictures of them from the safe distance of 10 feet. Of course, later on we found out that alligators can run at speeds of up to 45 mph, although only for short distances.

We didn't see any pythons, but I didn't forget for a minute that there are about 10,000 of those delightful creatures hiding in the vegetation of the region. The non-native species in Florida are becoming a real threat to the ecosystem. People are dumping their aquariums into the canals, letting birds free and getting rid of exotic snakes and lizards by releasing them in the Everglades. Many of these animals have no natural predators and are multiplying at a rapid rate. Contractors who have been hired to get rid of the pythons have captured an impressive 39 snakes. 9,961 to go.

I saw some exterminators use a fishing pole with fruit to capture iguanas. They are quite efficient. However the number of iguanas in South Florida could be controlled much more efficiently replacing the fishing rod with a machine gun. Another efficient method could be letting some of the drivers here drive in the wild.

Well, here are some pictures to document this entry. Be aware that these alligators are free and there is no dividing wall or fence between us and them.

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