5 Extremely Invasive Species | What the Stuff?!


(goofy music) – Hey, so over the years, humans
have imported other animals from all across the world. Sometimes it’s because a
species is just so cute that we have to take it out of its natural environment, and other times, it’s because we need them to solve a problem we can’t, like eating a bunch of annoying bugs. But if the species doesn’t
have a natural predator in their new home, they can
become a problem all their own. So, imagine me throwing a
bowling ball at your head. That’s what it feels like
when an Asian carp leaps out of the water and smashes,
boom, boom, into your face. They weigh a hundred
pounds, or 45.4 kilograms, and they can jump as high as 10 feet. Motorboats scare the heck out of ’em, so it’s not uncommon for hundreds of them to suddenly bound through the air. So why would we bring these
native Asian fish to America? Because it turns out they’re
really good at clearing algae out of catfish ponds. They’ve spread rapidly across the country. Now carp are poised to ruin the $7.5 billion fishing industry. So we’re poisoning rivers and we’re building
electric underwater fences to kill them off. Ironically, however,
carp are rare in China, so some fishermen here are
actually selling them back there to be served as a delicacy. And speaking of China, in
1882, golden bamboo was brought from China to Alabama to provide a natural visual and
sound barrier for privacy. Like some kind of monster
that grows up to 40 feet tall, this bamboo overtakes
everything as it spreads, destroying other plants
and the homes they provide to local animals. As of 2010, the United States spends $138 billion a year fighting against these menacing plants. And then, there are rabbits. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Everybody supposes that
bunnies are cute and harmless, but those twitchy little
noses tell another tale. They’re only native to southern
Europe and northern Africa, and yet now, rabbits are
on almost every continent. And they reproduce very quickly. They eat and burrow through everything, causing soil erosion and landscape damage. Big example, 1859. This farmer buys 24 rabbits,
takes ’em to Australia. Since then, they’ve
bred into the millions. This is how brutal these bunnies are. In 1950, Australia
tried biological warfare and killed 500 million
rabbits, but bunnies developed a resistance to the Myxomatosis virus and have replenished their millions lost for the next stage of
their offensive campaign. Don’t get me started on starlings. It’s gotten out of hand. We can blame William
Shakespeare, oddly enough, for the infestation of European starlings here in the United States. In 1890, some fans of the
bard wanted North America to be home to every bird
mentioned in his play, for some reason. So they released starlings into the wild. Fast forward to now, we’ve got 200 million of these things flying around in flocks
of a million or more. They devastate the land, they eat all the grapes,
the olives, the cherries, they even eat the feed from troughs for livestock and poultry. Starling flocks are so large that they’ve even caused planes to crash. And have you heard about cane toads? They were imported to the US and Australia to devour the insects
that ruin sugarcane crops. These guys will eat almost
any terrestrial animal, and also fight ’em for territory. And here’s the thing. They’ll win, too, because
they secrete a toxin that can sicken and kill wildlife. Yes, even humans. Our best hope against cane toads appears to be bioengineering them so that they only give birth to males, and can no longer reproduce. Of course, it’s not like that could ever go
catastrophically wrong, right? To learn more about invasive
species, visit our article on 10 invasive species at HowStuffWorks.com And which ones are currently
infesting your area? Let us know in the comments below, and for more “What the Stuff?!”
please click Subscribe. So you’re asking yourself,
“Why would we bring these native Asian fish to America?” Because it turns out
they’re really good at (gibberish) algae… we already have that part anyway. Oh, at clearing algae out (gibberish). And speaking of China, in 1882, golden bamboo was brought
from China to Al… (coughs) I’m sorry, can you go back to the…

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