Top 5 Newsworthy Critters

Published  December 2015

5. BAYOU ALLIGATOR

Various news outlets reported sightings of a few 3 to 4 foot-long gators in Bayou St. John over the summer. One news outlet said they had reports of a man feeding it Doritos. No word on whether they were regular or Cool Ranch.

 

4. LAKE PONTCHARTRAIN BULL SHARK

A fisherman caught a decent-sized Bull Shark in Lake Pontchartrain near Slidell this summer, the first shark he’s caught there in 26 years. Bull Sharks carry a bad reputation for being aggressive towards humans. Last summer, one shark bit a 7-year-old boy swimming in the Lake. UNO has tagged 18 sharks and learned that their presence in the Lake is fairly common.

 

3. LIONFISH

Unlike the Bull Shark, the lionfish is an invasive species. Hurricanes mess with the currents that form the natural barrier keeping lionfish out of the Gulf of Mexico. People also dump Lionfish they kept as pets, exacerbating the problem. It’s venomous, mean as hell, and will wipe out native species, including cornerstones of the seafood industry.

 

2. THE SWARM

Formosan termite alates, the members of a colony that get to breed, have swarmed in New Orleans since being introduced from Asia after World War II. Bagoodles of these horny insects took advantage of an exceptionally balmy March. A colony can eat up to 13 ounces of wood a day. Wield that Dust Buster like a battleaxe, or turn your lights off at dusk. Whatever works.

 

1. BRAIN EATING AMOEBA

Or Naegleria fowleri, if you’re nasty. This microbial terror haunted New Orleanians’ minds after several deaths were reported from surrounding parishes. Numerous boil advisories ensued. The amoeba will not survive your stomach acid, meaning you can technically drink water contaminated by it. Just don’t snort it. Also, the brain- eating amoeba is not the usual cause of a New Orleans boil advisory. When the pressure drops, it’s the brain-eating amoeba’s cousin, E. Coli, that poses the most risk.

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