Non-Native Pets

  • Released, non-native pets may form introduced populations in the wild where they cause negative economic, environmental, and/or human health effects.
  • Across the U.S., 4,500 invasive species have established sustaining populations. Invasions of non-native plants, animals, and microbes are thought to be responsible for 42 percent of the decline of native species now listed as endangered or threatened.
  • The USDA believes that under no circumstances should non-native pets be released.
  • Invasive species have caused major financial losses in agriculture, forestry, and other economic sectors. It is estimated that the total cost of invasive species in the U.S. is $100 billion each year.
  • Pets may become invasive by escaping. Securing tanks, terrariums, cages, is essential to prevent accidental introduction. Pets sometimes have invasive pests on them or are transported with other invasive species.

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Sources: Hoffman, MP Meeting the Challenges of Invasive Species; Segelken R Biological Invasions: Economic and Environmental Costs of Alien Plant, Animal, and Microbe Species, Cornell Dep. of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; Marks, R. Invasive Species, Natural Resources Conservation Service & Wildlife Habitat Council; National Invasive Species Council

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