Owl Shack - scops owl Christmas

If you own an aquarium or backyard pond, take steps to ensure that the non-native plants and animals in those systems don’t get released into the wild.  This can happen if you dump them into a natural pond, flush them down the toilet or if your outdoor pond floods during rain events and the contents wash out. The fish or plants you dump could become invasive species, spreading disease and competing with or eating our native fish and wildlife – like pythons in the Florida everglades that have reproduced and are eating the native mammals and birds, as well as people’s pets. 

Giant Salvinia is a floating fern native from southern Brazil and popular in some aquaria.  It’s been accidentally released into the wild and has spread like wildfire.  Maybe you’ve seen it as you’re driving over a bridge over our many lakes and reservoirs here in the South – it looks like a matt of flat green turf floating atop water. Giant Salvinia has become hugely problematic as it blankets surface water, reduces oxygen concentrations in the water negatively impacting native fish and wildlife, and it completely alters any waterbody where it occurs.  It’s terrible for our birds, anglers, and anyone else trying to boat or swim in the water.  Several species of owl forage along our waterways.  We’re spending millions of dollars trying to control Giant Salvinia, but it’s an uphill battle.  Here’s more info on this invasive plant 

This “no dumping” tip also includes terrariums with non-native snakes, iguanas, and other critters that you’ve grown tired of. Keep your aquarium and terrarium plants and animals in captivity, never to be released into the wild.  Do it for the owls!

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