Nutria are huge rodents from South America that have invaded wetlands in the U.S. and eaten all the plants in sight.
Here's what a nutria looks like, in case you haven't had the pleasure of meeting one:
|Hey, you gonna eat that?|
One day my brother Mike and his family came home to see their dog in a fight with a nutria. They tried to pull their dog away, but the nutria kept running after it again. They hadn't seen one before and didn't know what it was, but my nephew Luke said, "Hey, that's a nutria! It's an invasive species from South America!" Then he ran and got his science textbook to show his parents a picture. My brother had a less academic approach--he ran to his car, drove up to the canine/giant rodent smackdown, "took steady aim at the teeth that shone like beacons of evil, or Cheetos," and shot the nutria twice in the head. (Do not try this at home. Unless you're a really, really good shot.) He didn't get a picture, because it was "shot in the head and kinda bug-eyed lookin' when it was all over," but here's a crappy artist's* rendering:
|It's just a flesh wound! Get back here! I'll bite your leg off!|
*"crappy artist" = me
2. Snakehead fish
|Thanks a pantload, Evolution|
3. The brown tree snake of Guam
This is a snake that probably hitched a ride on a plane from Australia back in the 1940s, on a flight that unfortunately didn't have Samuel L. Jackson as a passenger.
About every three days there's a power outage somewhere on Guam, caused by snakes who thought it might be fun to play with electrical wires. Thankfully they aren't highly venomous, but their bites do cause a lot of ER visits.
Before the brown tree snake barged in, the only other snake on Guam was the blind snake. You know what it eats? Termites. Which makes the blind snake really cool.
Not so cool: ridding the island of birds and small mammals. The birds of Guam weren't used to predators, so didn't know they should fly away from something with sharp teeth opening its mouth
to eat them. They were just sitting there, minding their own business on a branch next to the newly-arrived brown tree snake, saying, "Oh, hi, I don't think we've met. Um, why am I in your mouth?" You'd think the next birds would've flown away then, but no, they just looked into the snake's mouth going, "Hey, where'd our friend go? Can we play?"
And I get it--when you're at an all-you-can-eat buffet, you want to get your money's worth. But you know what happens when you eat all the birds, Brownie? ALL THE BIRDS ARE EATEN. Kind of screwed yourself over there, didn't you? Enjoy the lizards, jerk.
I don't need to put in a disclaimer, do I? Then again, we need warnings on lawn mowers so people will know not to trim their hedges with them. Sigh. Okay, then.
People: It's not the animals' fault that they're in the wrong place. They're just doing what they know, after being plunked in a ridiculously inconvenient place. DO NOT GO AROUND PUNCHING ANIMALS IN THE FACE. It's not nice, and some of them are bitey.
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to see what my neighbors have in the pantry. I've run out of Cheetos.