Strange Facts About Wildlife In The United States

America has some pretty wild tales to tell about its history with animals. Throughout the ages, we’ve made some outrageous decisions, chosen the wrong kinds of animals to keep as companions, and failed at domestication to an astonishing degree. If animals could talk, it would be a heck of a story. But since our four-legged friends can’t, you’ve got us to spill the beans. Here are some fascinating facts America has mostly swept under the rug about the pests we sometimes call pets.

A Squirrely Romance

We mostly think of squirrels as a nuisance pest these days, albeit a cute one. But did you know we were once head over heels for that fluffy-tailed, mischievous rodent? In the 1700s, 1800s, and partway into the 1900s, squirrels were one of our country’s most beloved household pets. President Harding even had a pet squirrel named Pete, who used to roam the halls of the White House. Even our sagest Founding Father, Benjamin Franklin, found them charming. He even wrote squirrel poetry. “Oh, Mr. Flufferbuns, how we adore thy rascally ways.” Of course, it eventually went sideways. It’s hard to stay enamored when your sweetheart keeps biting you and tearing up items throughout your house.

A Hairy Situation

Americans also had a dubious hand in our country-wide infestation of nutria. This semi-aquatic beaver-on-steroids has been wreaking havoc on land and waterways since we first brought it here. Yes, brought. Back in the late 1880s, fur traders imported them from South America because they intended to farm them for their fur, which was supposed to be as silky as human hair. Things didn’t go as planned, and as it turned out, nutria escaped quickly and bred like rabbits. Soon, many cities became overrun with them. Unsurprisingly, supply began to eclipse demand, and they eventually became worthless. Traders gave up and released the nutria they still had in captivity out into the wild. They have since spread from coast to coast and are still as worthless as ever.

The Raccoon Who Came To Dinner

Ah, raccoons. Is there another animal so capable of bedeviling and enchanting us at the same time? They’re smart and funny, and their nonstop, madcap mischief is somehow charming, even when they are swiping our food and trashing our homes simultaneously. Rebecca is the best example of this striped creature’s sway over us. President Coolidge was once gifted a female raccoon to be served up as Thanksgiving dinner, but Rebecca got much more than a presidential pardon. The beguiling bandit stole Coolidge’s heart and became his favorite companion for many years, despite her infamous misbehavior in the White House.

The Starlings And Stripes Forever

There are simply no fans in the world like American fans. We paint our bodies weird colors, stalk our heroes with creepy persistence, and behave with reckless enthusiasm in tribute to the people we hold in the highest regard. Granted, most of our fawning idolatry is harmless fun, but not always. Case in point, a bird-brained Shakespeare fanatic named Eugene Schieffelin. Just because the Bard mentioned starlings in Henry IV, he thought releasing a flock of European starlings in New York would be a great idea. 100+ years and 200 million starlings later, they’re one of the worst nuisance birds in existence, creating countless problems for American homeowners yearly. Schieffelin was also famously responsible for unleashing the house sparrow on North America, another well-known nuisance. Two for two, Eugene. Good job.

The Trouble With Pythons

Snakes have been tempting us into disaster since the Garden of Eden, but they remain popular pets to this day. However, some species are not easily domesticated, and when things go awry, we also have a bad habit of releasing them into the wild. Hence, our country’s invasive python problem. Pythons make terrible pets. They outgrow our ability to contain and feed them, and when they escape into our wild spaces, they tend to multiply prolifically and take over. The problems pythons cause in Florida are legendary and are starting to become a serious issue in Georgia. As Indiana Jones famously muttered, “Snakes… why’d it have to be snakes?”

History Lessons

If there’s one crucial takeaway, we should learn from our crazy past mistakes; it’s that wildlife and human habitats do not mix. It’s one thing to protect, respect, and even love our country’s wild animals and yet another thing to attempt to domesticate them. Please don’t. It rarely ends well for them or us. If you have a wildlife problem, Advanced Wildlife Control is your answer, and we are ready to help.

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