Bullying isn’t just something that happens on school playgrounds, it’s a daily occurrence in nature all over the world. Invasive species are plants and animals that, once introduced to a new habitat, start bullying the native species to the point where they can no longer survive there. They’re generally hardier, consume more resources, and reproduce much faster than the species they compete with. And, since they are new to the environment, they have very few, if any, natural predators to keep them in check.
The introduction of non-native plants and animals to a new ecosystem will almost always results in environmental stress, degradation and sometimes even disaster for native populations. These are 10 of the most destructive invasive species the world has ever known.
10. Cane Toads
Originally introduced as a way for farmers to quell the problem of insect pests in their sugar cane fields, cane toads quickly grew into a massive problem for Australia. Especially since the over 60,000 toads initially released didn’t save the crops they were meant to protect because they didn’t like to venture into the farmers sugar cane fields.
After the cane toad population exploded, there was no easy way to stop it due to the toads amazing defence mechanism — they secrete toxic ooze that’s poisonous enough to kill just about any animal that would try to eat it. While predators in their native habitat are very much immune to this toxic ooze, unfortunately, the Australian predators have yet to build up a resistance to it. Many animals that attempt to eat a cane toad die instead. With nothing around to keep their numbers in check, populations of cane toads in non-native habitats like Australia have grown out of control and, because they’ll eat pretty much anything they can fit into their huge, gaping mouths, its taking a serious toll on native animal and plant species.