What is an invasive species?

An invasive species is an animal that is not originally from a specific ecosystem that has increased in numbers enough to cause harm to the environment.

In order to qualify as invasive species, the animal itself must

  • Reproduce quickly
  • Grow quickly
  • Spread in population aggressively

Invasive species can be harmful to native animals that already live in that ecosystem through many different ways.

  • Eating other native animals
  • Eating food resources of native animals
  • Carrying diseases that can affect other native animals
  • Eating or crushing the eggs of native species, making it harder for them to reproduce

Invasive Species can end up in new eco-systems through many different ways

  • The Pet Trade (Many Burmese pythons were either lost or intentionally freed into the Florida everglades where they are now an invasive species there and have become a threat to the local alligator population)
  • Intentional Introduction (the cane toad was introduced into Australia to stop beetles from eating crops, but now has aggressively spread throughout northern and western Australia)
  • Ships (rats stowed away on various ships and ended up on a variety of tropical islands where they quickly spread and multiplied, consuming the islands resources.)

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