Non-native species in KY are huge problems

Since moving to the country a year and a half ago, we haven’t really encountered what we thought we might…until this morning.

Sure, we HEARD the coyotes, and I know they’re a pain in the back, but I like the sound. I imagine the neighborhood cats don’t. But no, the encounter this morning was with a snake.

Now, I’m NOT a fan of snakes, either. But this guy was very small and, to find out, he’s just a little old chicken snake. No harm, no fault. And since we had no FOWL, it continued.

Dave Spencer/Townsquare Media

Dave Spencer/Townsquare Media


But snakes are not invasive species. Kentucky has a blue million, for better or for worse. However, three invasive species that CAN be found in the Commonwealth – and which are central to this story – are not reptiles. One is a fish; one is a mollusk; and one is even a pig.


Many articles have been written about the problems that Asian carp are causing the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. The agency is no fan and works tirelessly year after year to rid Kentucky’s lakes and rivers of the nasty invading fish. Here’s why the agency is on such a mission:

Invasive carp is an invasive species that harms native Kentucky species. They can compete with native species for resources and some females are able to produce over a million eggs per year, causing their numbers to increase at an alarming rate. Additionally, silver carp pose a hazard to boaters due to the jumping behavior they exhibit when startled. Therefore, this behavior can put them on a collision course with boaters, causing injury to people and property.


Now here’s a new one about me. First of all, I love mussels. Bring me a plate and some melted butter and a bib, and stand back. But THESE molds are not THESE molds. In fact, I’ve never heard of a zebra mussel, but you can rest assured the KDFWR has. Like barnacles on a ship, these tiny snails attach themselves to hard surfaces and, in Kentucky, can be found in the Ohio River, Lake Barkley, Lake Kentucky, and Lake Dewey near Prestonsburg in eastern Kentucky. .

You may have already read between the lines and deduced why these little creatures – native to the Black and Caspian Seas in Eastern Europe – cause so much havoc, but Kentucky Fish & Wildlife will explain it to you:

Zebra mussels attach themselves to hard surfaces, including rocks, stumps, boats, weeds, other mussels, engines, piers, and inside water intake pipes. Once attached, they can form layer after layer of living mussels.

You can imagine the clogging issues surrounding the habits of zebra mussels. As the agency points out, boaters who leave their craft in the water all year round can face a big problem.


Now we go from a BIG problem to a PIG problem… except the pig problem IS a big problem. No, I’m not talking about typical farm pigs like Wilbur or Babe; I’m talking about wild pigs. And you just don’t want to mess with them. I knew they were a problem in the deep south, but just heard they migrated north. But they didn’t do it without help. According to the KDFWR, the wild pigs came to Kentucky in trucks.

But the Kentuckians are STRONGLY discouraged from shooting them. Instead, if spotted, you should call 1-800-858-1549. Slaughtering feral pigs is futile due to their prolific reproduction rate. It just won’t move the needle.

For a very long time, I really thought Florida had huge problems with non-native species like pythons and monitor lizards.

But with every minute I spend researching animals in Kentucky, I’m even more enlightened about the problems caused by creatures that just don’t belong here.

[SOURCE: Louisville Courier-Journal]

Kentucky’s Pests

A few of these creatures would fall into the “dangerous” category, but the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife says they are ALL nuisances, and with good reason.

WATCH: Here are the pets banned in each state

Since the regulation of exotic pets is left to the states, some organizations, including the Humane Society of the United States, are advocating for standardized federal legislation that would prohibit the ownership of large cats, bears, primates, and large poisonous snakes as pets.

Read on to see which pets are banned in your home country, as well as nationwide.

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