Discussion in 'Reptile News' started by pinefamily, Nov 17, 2016.
https://theconversation.com/alien-i...eptile trade is a serious threat to Australia
Whenever I see articles like this I can't help but think of cane toads.
Let's not limit this "banning" to exotic reptiles, how about exotic mammals, fish, and yes birds too.
So we should expect you on a plane back to Africa at the first available opportunity then? Go on, lead by example...
Exotic fish and birds are banned already. What there is in Australia have all been bred here.
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Live fish are legally imported all the time, you just need to apply for the appropriate permits (probably the same for birds but im not 100%)
That is the same with most exotic reptiles in Australia.
Despite Biosecurities best efforts a number of exotic reptiles have been able to establish themselves in Australia.
From what I've been told it appears that the illegal importation of exotic reptiles is alive and well in Australia and it seems that you can get just about anything you want if you have the contacts.
The main threat to our herpetofauna through importation of exotic reptiles and fish is the establishment of viruses of iridovirus origin (ie: ranavirus, herpesvirus, turtlevirus) that could have a defining effect on wild populations. I believe that another threat is the past and present practice of genetically modifying these viruses in an attempt to combat invasive species such as cane toads, gambusia fish and european carp.
The comparison between imported reptiles and cane toads is flawed. Toads are able to out-compete natives because they're poisonous at every stage of their life, and breed in prolific numbers. The vast majority of imported reptiles lack the reproductive biology to replicate the "success" of toads.
I used them as an example to show that an introduced species can cause a huge amount of damage, in that it wasn't supposed to be in the ecosystem in the first place. If we introduced imported reptiles, many of the popular species such as Boas or Tegus could probably survive and reproduce in the tropics. Destroying native flora and fauna.
And I'm saying they're a poor example because they have unusual characteristics that enabled them to be very successful, the vast majority of other exotics simply don't have those advantages. Other exotics may survive and reproduce but they likely won't have anywhere near the impact on an ecosystem that toads have had, they'd most likely be just another competitor for food.
Any introduced animal (or plant) can have an impact on the native ecosystem. As "another competitor for food", any introduced reptile will impact the ecosystem, just by reducing prey numbers. The same sort of thing can happen in an extreme drought or bushfire, but prey numbers will increase again afterwards, unlike in the case of exotic speices.
No doubt about that, but very few animals would have the same effect as toads, which obviously have had an extraordinary negative impact- that's why I said they are a very poor comparative example of the impact exotics can have.
Yes, as Pinefamily said, they (exotics) become another competitor for food, as a boa will eat the same food as a Carpet python. If a large enough number finds it way into the wild, they will also eat other native animals like possums, small koalas and wombats, reducing those numbers.
While cane toads have their poison as an advantage for survival, they kill a large amount of native wildlife and even pets too, Introduced species would do the same, just without the poison.
I'm saying that while cane toads do a huge amount of damage to the ecosystem and swarm everywhere, introduced species prey on the larger wildlife, and would probably end up destroying the ecosystem the same way, ie if the cane toads kills a small croc, a boa would eat it.
It's not just 1 boa vs 1 cane toad I'm talking about, if exotics were allowed to be imported, the amount of exotic animals dumped into the wild would be huge, and since Australia has a variety of environments which would allow for a variety of different exotic reptiles to survive and thrive.
You only have to look at the Florida Everglades as an example of exotic reptiles and the problems they cause.
You are both completely misunderstanding what I'm saying. If you ranked animals on a scale of 1-10 based on negative impact toads would likely be 8-10, the vast majority of other reptiles would be 2-3. Most other reptiles simply lack the reproductive capabilities to reproduce in massive numbers and also lack the poison to kill off larger animals (which is where toads have such a massive affect).
As I said, large reptiles like boas, burmese pythons, retics etc, could quite easily take down larger animals, such as crocs and kangaroos, what they lack in poison they make up for in strength. These same animals also have quite large clutches of eggs, not as many as cane toads yes, but they are much more likely to make it to adulthood, or at least to a large enough size to start eating wildlife. Furthermore, there are several animals that can endure it's poison and survive, such as the Keelback and Snapping Turtle. An animal that may survive the poison will not survive an encounter with a large boa/burm/retic. I'm not saying that cane toads don't have a devastating impact on the environment, that is why I compared them to exotics in the first place, what I am saying is that many people underestimate the implications of allowing these exotic reptiles into our fragile ecosystem.
No misunderstanding at all. Cane toads are by far one of the worst introduced species, right up there with foxes and rabbits.
What Iguana and I are saying is exotic species can do a lot of damage in our ecosystems when released in the wild. It wouldn't take much for 2 or 3 boas to start reproducing in tropical areas to create a problem.
Even mankind, by spreading into previously untouched areas, is wreaking havoc on ecosystems around Australia.
Taking down one animal (a roo for example) as a food item would be no different to the eco system than another scrubby taking one. The problem with toads is that they kill many animals (not just one or two) that are much larger, not just prey items. Toads can produce between 8,000-35,000 young twice per year, versus 25-100 for Burmese pythons. Toads are poisonous right off the bat, small pythons are another food item for predators in the ecosystem- this is the biggest difference and why I said it's a poor comparison. On one hand the roads are killing animals that try to eat them, thus making more of an impact, whereas pythons in this example are actually a food source for the predators thusly reducing their impact and making them LESS likely to make it to adulthood than toads.
I'm not denying exotics would have an impact, I actually said they WOULD. I'm saying comparing a Pythons impact to the impact toads have had isn't realistic. If you can't understand that then exotic reptiles are the least of your problems. I won't be replying again because I can't put it in more plain terms.
Most native wildlife have come to realize that the toads are poisonous and have come to avoid them from what I've read. One exception being the Mertens water monitor. Their numbers are dwindling in the wild, from eating the toads.