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  • Writer's pictureDorothy Royal

Topsail Gun Gal: Critter Invasion

With our planet warming, there is no doubt creatures that we are not accustomed to will begin to wander into new territory. Whether it is Mother Nature or human assisted, the introduction of some new residents may become troublesome.

Florida has been battling with Iguanas to the point they have created an aggressive hunting program to reduce the numbers. The creatures have caused expensive destruction to property, including costing West Palm Beach taxpayers 1.8 million dollars to repair a Dam that the iguanas had been burrowing into. Utility companies are also suffering the effects. Iguanas cause dozens of power outages a year when they climb into the sub-stations and short out the connections.

Four times in a ten-day period, large snakes have electrocuted themselves causing wide-spread power outages at a “State-of-the-art” power station in Williamson County, Tennessee. The action of the snakes, which are not all the same species, is bewildering engineers and wildlife specialists. Think this is only in that area of Tennessee? You would be wrong. Rockwood Electric Company has reported the same issue being caused by large snakes and they are located 150 miles away from Williamson County, TN. Snakes on a plane? Nope, snakes on a wire.

A woman and her daughter were driving through Charlotte County, Florida when they spotted and photographed a large reptile that appears to be a 6-footlong Nile Monitor walking up the embankment of the roadway. These large reptiles are known for not being friendly and having hefty appetites.

Black bears, though native to North Carolina, prefer living in large expanses of woodlands, but due to excessive land clearing and development, bears are now being spotted often in residential areas. A rental property in the Mountains of North Carolina will likely have instructions about how to store trash and food products to avoid attracting bears, but this is not so common on the coast. Recently an alert was issued by the Brunswick County Sheriff’s office regarding a bear being active in the Carolina Shores community. The bear was seen limping and is being monitored by N.C. Wildlife agents. People are being advised to leave it alone.

The Asian spotted Lantern Fly has crossed the border into North Carolina. Easily distinguished by its black spots and red hind wings that can be spotted during flight, this insect must not be allowed to flourish. Known for being very damaging to fruit crops like grapes, these insects can destroy up to 90% of a grape crop. Whether you are a wine drinker or not this should be alarming news.

Joro spiders are coming to North Carolina. The Asian spider, known for its large size of 3-4 inches and it's amazing web building abilities, should be considered harmless to people and pets. Keep your eyes open in the morning dew for their extensive 6-foot-wide webs that may be lining tree branches near you. The black and yellow garden spider, an area native, will most likely be confused with the Joro due to their size, but just note that neither spider means you any harm. Perhaps we can work with these spiders to eat the spotted lantern fly.

Like most people, I have no interest in a spider (of any size) being on my person, especially while mowing when I imagine everything is out to get me. Regardless of what I know, spiders can trigger a response in me faster than lightning can.

Remember knowledge is power, and apparently snakes in Tennessee have a problem with that, but we are all here on this great blue marble together and need to learn to respect our new neighbors (as long as their webs don’t get on me).



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