Are there invasive reptiles other than Burmese pythons in the United States that people should be concerned about?

Free-ranging snakes representing dozens of species from around the world are discovered in the United States in any given year, usually as a result of escapees or illegal releases, but most of these have not established reproductive populations.

Florida is a major transportation hub and has a climate that’s suitable for many invasive species. As a result, the state has the world’s largest number of established non-indigenous reptile and amphibian species. Those include 3 frogs, 4 turtles, 1 crocodilian, 43 lizards, and 5 snakes.

Any animal can be problematic when released in places where it is not native. The safest policy is to find an appropriate home for any animal that is no longer wanted because disposal or release in the wild can do great environmental harm.

It is highly likely that additional species of potentially harmful reptiles (for example Nile monitors and Argentine tegus) will spread through south Florida in coming years.

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Image: An Invasive Boa Constrictor at a Miami County Park

An Invasive Boa Constrictor at a Miami County Park

Boa Constrictor (Boa constrictor) at a county park in southeastern Miami. Photo courtesy of Mike Rochford, University of Florida. Used with permission.

Image: An Invasive Boa Constrictor at a Miami County Park

An Invasive Boa Constrictor at a Miami County Park

Boa Constrictor (Boa constrictor) at a county park in southeastern Miami. Photo courtesy of Mike Rochford, University of Florida. Used with permission.