A cemetery in Brussels has been completely invaded by marbled crayfish, reported The Brussel Times. According to the Flemish Institute for Nature and Woodland Research (INBO), the species poses a huge threat to local biodiversity.
The problem lies in the fact that marbled crayfish are parthenogenetic meaning they can reproduce without mating. This self-cloning ability makes them able to reproduce in large numbers taking over whatever area they decide to conquer.
Furthermore, the crayfish can eat pretty much anything, making them an extra danger to their environment. If you are wondering how this invasive species came to be, it is important to note that it was not produced naturally.
Instead, it is believed to have been created through experimentation by pet traders in Germany in the 1990s and it serves as a perfect example as to why it's best not to mess with nature. It is also assumed that the animal did not show up by chance in Belgium.
“Someone apparently had the animal in their aquarium, and then set it free in a canal,” said Kevin Scheers of the INBO to The Brussel Times.
Scheers speculated that the animal population was probably getting out of control at home which led the pets' owners to let them loose in nature. A very bad idea indeed!
“Often people get tired of their animals or the marbled crayfish population is getting too large at home,” said Scheers. “It must seem like a good idea to let the animals loose in nature.”
Now, experts are struggling to find a way to control the population before matters become even worse. “It’s impossible to round up all of them. It’s like trying to empty the ocean with a thimble," further added Scheers.
And options for catching the species are indeed quite limited. “In Spain, they tried some experiments with poison, but that is not permitted in Belgium," concluded Scheers.
The story is a good lesson as to why it is best not to experiment with nature and not to support people who do by getting pets that are the result of such experimentation.