North America's Invasive Species
by Pallav Regmi, age 12
The nutria is a furry, rat-like rodent that has been invading the southern wetlands of the United States. Originally from South America, nutria were brought here in the 1930s and ‘40s and bred for their fur. When fur went out of style, many were released into the wild.
The nutria causes many problems because it eats crops such as sugarcanes and rice. They also dig burrows, which exposes soil and causes erosion.
The snakehead is a long, thin fish with sharp teeth and snake-like scales on its head. It was brought from Asia to the United States to be used as food and sold as pets. Now this invasive species can be found in the wild in Florida and Hawaii.
The snakehead is invasive because it has an extremely large appetite and it eats native fish. It can also breathe air and wiggle up on land, so it can spread to other lakes and ponds relatively easily. The snakehead has been eating native fish in several habitats that are considered fragile. One example is the Florida Everglades.
[Sources: Ranger Rick]