The most aggressive natural invaders


Do not think that nature is kind and defenseless. Since the time that man began to conquer the sea, the ecological pyramids of different continents have been threatened by new living beings.

These animals and plants were more active and aggressive, conquering new habitats for themselves. Local species are losing the battle for space, food, life. Nature responded to the Colorado potato beetle in Russia with a Black Sea goby, which took away the habitual spawning grounds from the Great Lakes trout.

The most important environmental terrorist is, of course, the human being. It is he who is the invader number zero. But we will talk about the next ten of the most aggressive living creatures-invaders below.

Kudzu. The first on our list is the plant. In our cemeteries, you can often see signs calling for the destruction of ivy, as it destroys trees. But even aggressive ivy is nothing compared to Japanese kudzu. There is even a conspiracy theory that the attack of this plant on the United States was one of the stages of the Japanese revenge for the defeat in World War II and the nuclear bombing. In the middle of the 20th century, kudzu was widely advertised in Eastern America as a remedy for soil erosion. The Americans, relaxed after their recent victory in the war, were unable to provide regular care for the Japanese vine. As a result, kudzu conquered 11 thousand square miles of the east of the country. If the house was left for a year, then a green hill formed in its place. Not long ago, kudzu was seen in Oregon, far to the west. Here it is not far from native Japan. If the invasion had happened a couple of centuries ago, then we would not have seen today's America. Today, farmers have in their arsenal the means to contain the attack of an aggressive plant. We are not talking about complete victory.

Rabbits. In our country, rabbit meat is a delicacy, you have to spend money to try it. And in some countries they will even pay extra for the opportunity to get rid of such a terrible beast. Yes, yes, scary, and not at all harmless. Australia remembers its farmer Thomas Austin with bad words. After all, it was he who released 24 gray rabbits in 1859. In the wild, the rabbits did what they do best - reproduce. Only 40 years have passed, the eared animals have multiplied so much that not only the fauna of the mainland, but also its soil, is under threat. In the 1930s, the situation became so critical that the authorities were even forced to use biological weapons - the myxomatosis virus was launched into nature. A famous photograph has appeared in which rabbits drink contaminated water from an artificial reservoir. The virus was 90% effective, but by 1950, rabbits were able to develop immunity against it. During the epidemic, the number of animals decreased by “only” half a billion individuals. Only recently has the population of furry terrorists been reduced to a minimum. For this, the country has built the world's largest mesh fence.

Starlings. There are birds that are irritating. These are impudent seagulls, which are driven away from food, ominous crows, at which they shoot from slingshots and pneumatics, and starlings disturb someone. And they are not at all such cute songbirds. In 1890, the wealthy pharmacist Eugene Schiffelin inaugurated 60 European starlings in the Central Pair of New York. A year later, another 40 birds rose into the American sky. Nature lovers believed that now melodic trills would sound everywhere. How could they have predicted that such a "gift" would annually cause damage only to agriculture in the amount of 800 million dollars. Do not forget about the numerous air crashes, which were caused by starlings. Starlings gather in flocks of up to a million individuals. From the outside it may look beautiful, but how great is the destructive power of such a horde. Our flocks of pigeons and rooks cannot compete with them in any way.

Pythons of Burma. Florida's warm climate beckons many animals. A particularly favorable location is the Everglades Nature Reserve, in the swampy south of the state. Local residents, scientists and not so much, adore here to release various exotic animals brought from Asia and Africa. Until recently, the number of such guests was successfully regulated by aboriginal alligators. But then one day someone came up with a "bright" idea to settle Burmese pythons in the reserve. Six-meter voracious snakes quickly put their order here. Since 2002, dozens of cases of battles between crocodiles and snakes have been recorded. Once a boa constrictor even swallowed a young alligator, but he, not giving up, gnawed the python from the inside out. Today, scientists believe that there are already about 30,000 such dangerous snakes in Florida. Local cats, for example, are no longer there. Global warming threatens the spread of pythons throughout the southern states, with the result that ferocious snakes can conquer a third of the United States in just a century. Perhaps one should rely on "God from the car", as in Bulgakov's "Fatal Eggs".

Yeah. The feral rabbits never taught the Australians anything. Just in those very years when the feral rabbits began to be poisoned with viruses, huge poisonous cane toads were brought to the mainland. Since 1935, agi have been used to combat agricultural pests. However, in the new place, 60 thousand emigrant animals suddenly changed their habits, refusing to eat the offered food. Toads, on the other hand, liked the local frogs, lizards, bees and even animals. It turned out that agi know how to poison their victim with secretions from the skin. A couple of days is enough for a frog to eat a kangaroo! Every year, hordes of toads move south, destroying everything in their path. The Australian authorities are racking their brains how to stop the new invaders. Maybe it's worth bringing in someone else?

Snakehead. This fish with an evil grin is unusual in that it knows how to breathe air and crawl from reservoir to reservoir. You just need to get there in 5 days. The snakehead is so adapted to different habitats that it can well live in a garbage can or in a salty lake. The amphibian fish, due to its size (up to a meter in length), is not afraid of anyone. Pikes, snakes and walleyes are killed with one bite. Snakehead loves to hide in ambushes so much, tracking down all living things near the reservoir. The amphibian was discovered in the Far East, but its meat seemed so tasty to people that the snakehead began to settle in the ponds of other countries. So the fish began its ascent to world domination. As a result, in America and Europe, there were cases when whole lakes were poisoned in order to get rid of a toothy predator.

Gray squirrels. In England, there is a popular ecological story about how red squirrels retreated under the onslaught of their gray counterparts. The cute furry guest from Carolina has turned into a ruthless invader, showing his stubborn nature. It turned out that when gray squirrels do not have enough food, they are literally ready to swim across the sea in search of food. Most likely, the animals got to England on some ship. The gray squirrel is larger than its red counterparts, besides carrying a virus to which its European counterparts have no immunity. As a result of the invasion, the number of red squirrels has noticeably decreased. Britain even passed a law that equated gray animals with pests, encouraging hunting for them. Cooking shows are popular on television that share recipes for lean protein dishes.

Killer bees. It is man who is to blame for the appearance of these terrible insects in nature. In the mid-1950s, Brazilians decided to become famous not only for their coffee and beef, but also for their honey. For this, it was decided to cross a European bee, a lover of the cold, and a hardworking African one, after observing the behavior of the offspring. 26 queens were brought from Tanzania, but due to the negligence of the technicians, the bees were free. Here they quickly mixed with local species, giving rise to a hybrid that is very melliferous, but also extremely aggressive. Sensing the slightest alarm, the killer bees attack their target with a whole swarm. For a person or even a cow, such aggression turns out to be tragic. As a result, since 1969, in Brazil alone, more than 200 people and thousands of domestic animals, including common bees, have died from the bite of these bees. Only Brazil was not enough for killer bees - they spread to South and Central America, tourists met them in Mexico. Scientists can only reassure that in the north mestizos will become more lethargic and can even be tamed.

Silver carp. A common bony inhabitant of our ponds and fish shops in the west is called the Asian carp. By completely devastating ecosystems, silver carp can grow huge. This fish was once brought to the United States to weed ponds on fish farms. But because of the flooding, the silver carp got into the Mississippi basin, getting close to the Great Lakes. The fish not only leaves its competitors without food in the water, but is also dangerous even for fishermen. After all, the silver carp is so fearful that, having heard the sound of the boat's engine, it can jump high out of the water, literally attacking the passengers. There is no fisherman in the Midwest today whose boat hasn't been knocked over by a flying carp at least once. Although in the historical homeland silver carps are considered a delicacy and a shortage, in America itself this fish is not eaten, giving it to feed penguins in zoos.

Rats. The uninhabited islands of the World Ocean are not at all so uninhabited. 90% of them are captured by rats. Biologists believe these rodents are responsible for the extinction of many species of seabirds and endemic reptiles. Suffice it to recall one of the Aleutian Islands, called the Rat. In 1780, a Japanese ship sank next to it. The ship rats that escaped from it have destroyed all birds on a treeless island for 200 years. Only large species survived, capable of repelling the invaders. The scary thing is that after killing a bird, the rodent only eats the brain and eyes. In 2008, Alaska authorities scattered a lot of poisonous bait around the island, announcing a year later that there were no more rats left. We can only hope that new invaders will not come.


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