According to the infallible foresight of Gene Roddenberry, mankind is still at least a couple centuries away from figuring out that yanking a species out of its natural habitat and transplanting it somewhere else because, you know, we can isn't exactly the brightest idea. But it's a lesson that we probably should have learned long ago, based on the following ridiculous examples:
#6. Florida Is Full of Giant Snakes That Dumbasses Bought as Pets
While most pet owners are content with a subtle, mostly concealed evil nature in their choice of furry companion (hi there, cat people!), others are only satisfied with the straight up Thulsa Doom in your living room provided by the Burmese python. From 1999 to 2004 alone, 144,000 of these slithery predators were imported to the U.S. and, drunk on the idea of having the badassest pet ever, droves of people brought home a "cute" inches-long baby, only to have it (unexpectedly?) mature into a 20-foot-long nightmare dweller.
"Lately I've been trying to branch out into dwelling in apocalyptic visions and bad peyote trips, too."
Because personal responsibility runs strong in the human race, they admitted that they could no longer properly care for these unwieldy serpents and somberly delivered them to animal sanctuaries. Oh, wait -- no. Actually, they just drove over to the nearest swamp, dumped the snake in some long grass, made an exaggerated hand-wiping gesture, and peeled away while listening to Dio at full crank.
Michael R. Rochford/University of Florida/AP Photo
They're smiling because the water disguises the fact that they just simultaneously peed themselves.
Today, an estimated 150,000 pythons inhabit the Florida Everglades. They've quickly become the dominant predator, horrifyingly slo-mo-swallowing everything from raccoons, rabbits, opossums, and deer to freaking bobcats and even alligators. The increase in Burmese python numbers and decrease in every-other-animal numbers has been a trend observed since the early 2000s, so the government promptly restricted the import of these snakes, right? Well, if you consider 2012 prompt, then yeah -- that's when the U.S. finally got around to saying, "Uh, guys? No more monster snakes, K?"
Question: What happens when a python swallows an alligator?
But should you, gentle Floridian, be afraid? The snakes may not have attacked anyone in the Everglades yet, but many people have been injured and killed by the Burmese pythons they kept as pets. And members of the current wild population have been known to spoil picnics, eat pets, and take a dip in backyard swimming pools. Just remember: The snakes that are currently loose in the wild are descendants of our former prisoners, and it's only a matter of time until their numbers grow large enough that they can storm your Miamis and your Tampas, using their bifurcated tongues to hiss something about exacting revenge in the name of their discarded forefathers.
South Florida NRC, via National Geographic
Answer: It explodes, because reality can't contain that much shityourpantsness.
#5. Galapagos' Goatpocalypse
Nobody has made a horror movie about an attack by a massive herd of ravenous goats, but maybe they should. Get enough of them together, and all hell breaks loose ... even if it looks ridiculous:
Galapagos National Park Service
The petting zoo is back for revenge.
The goatstravaganza you see up there is due to the fact that in the late 1950s, some fishermen released a few goats into the fragile ecosystem of the Galapagos Islands (aka "That Tortoise Place") so they'd have something to hunt and eat when fish were scarce. The goats, being goats, did what goats do ... which is apparently lots and lots of bonin'.
Without any natural predators on the islands, that handful of goats ballooned into tens of thousands of horned stomachs that swallowed up every single plant they encountered. Every single one. Tortoises lost the shade that forests provided; sundry species of birds and insects found themselves newly homeless; and without plant life to anchor them, the islands' steep volcanic slopes decided it just wasn't worth hanging on anymore.
Josh Donlan, via Modern Farmer
Thankfully, they were too short to eat the island's atmosphere, but damned if they didn't try.
By 1997, the population of goats on Isabela, the largest of the islands, was greater than that of people by a good 5 to 1. Something clearly had to be done, and that something, of course, was to declare a full-on goat war.
Along came Project Isabela, because calling it Project Full-On Goat War was evidently a bit too literal. Named after that ravaged goatopia of an island, the project consisted of a multi-agency group that implemented the "professional training of a team of highly skilled park wardens." If you were expecting to hear "assassins" instead of "park wardens" at the end of that sentence, well ... that's because that's pretty much what they were.
"Should I hide the body afterward?"
"No. I want to send a message to those bastards."
In a move straight out of some sort of goat-based sci-fi dystopia, these "park wardens" strapped radio collars onto the necks of sterilized "Judas" goats and released them into the wild. Wanting nothing more than to hang out with friends of the goatly variety, they quickly located and subsequently betrayed their wild brethren to the wardens' crosshairs. Then it was a simple matter of following the homing beacons in helicopters while armed with high-powered rifles and hunting down every last goddamned goat on the island.
The landscape of death that this murder squad left behind was the true horror of the situation -- since exporting the dead goats would remove valuable nutrients from the island's ecosystem, the tens of thousands of goat corpses were just left there to rot their way back into the soil. Picture that while listening to "Circle of Life," and you may never be able to watch The Lion King again.
Sara Yeomans, via Flickr
But before we move on, allow us to also ruin sea lions for you. You're welcome.
#4. Florida's Herpes-Ridden Monkeys
Anup Shah/Digital Vision/Getty Images
Long before Disney took to building secret underground tunnels and employing scent-based mind control, a tour operator by the name of Colonel Tooey in Florida's Silver River State Park had plans to build a Jungle Cruise attraction of his own, except with none of the animatronics and six times the actual, real-life monkeys. Taking inspiration from a Tarzan movie that had been filmed in the area, Tooey mail-ordered himself some rhesus monkeys (hey, this was the 1930s -- we weren't too far removed from being able to mail your freaking kids), which would serve as his main attraction.
State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory
Say what you will about their lifelikeness, at least animatronics don't masturbate in front of you.
To his credit, Tooey made a genuine attempt at preventing the monkeys from escaping into the wild by building an artificial island, complete with a little wooden house for the primates to live in and probably have tea parties while wearing cute little hats. Unfortunately, he overlooked one very crucial fact: Even 2-day-old rhesus monkeys can swim. When he introduced them to their new home, the six monkeys immediately pulled a Clint Eastwood -- i.e., escaped from Tooey's little Monkey Alcatraz and spent the next several decades vigorously humping.
State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory
And lo, they established a poo-flinging utopia. A pootopia, if you will.
OK, we know precisely what you're thinking: "There's a place in the U.S. where I can get my Mowgli on with actual monkeys and holy shit, why am I still reading this article instead of buying my plane ticket to Florida?" But before you pack your Sunday loincloth, you should know that rhesus monkeys have been known to act aggressively toward humans (doubly so when you grab their mouths and move their lips as you sing, "I wanna be like you-ou-ou"). And while a monkey attack might leave you with a badass scar and a truly boss story to tell your friends, it'll also likely leave you with something more -- because most of Florida's rhesus monkeys are carriers of the herpes B virus. In non-human primates, it amounts to nothing more than drawn-out excuses to the missus, but in primates of the human variety, it often leads to death by brain bulge.
If you're lucky enough to live in Florida, you might not even have to seek out these vagrant monkey tribes: In 2009, Cornelius the "Mystery Monkey" was cast out of his colony, leading to a few years of him repeatedly flipping animal control agents the double bird as he evaded capture. He was finally caught when he tipped the authorities off to his location by biting a 60-year-old woman outside her home. Thankfully, his herpes-filthy slobber didn't infect her -- otherwise, Cornelius might have lost one of his over 85,000 Facebook followers.
Don McBride, via Tampa Bay Times
It was vanity captured the beast.