Feral Animals / Introduced Species

Back to main list: Mammals
Feral Animals
– Horses, burro, swine –
Order Perissodactyla – Odd-toed ungulates
___ Burro (Equus asinus) One animal
One fairly tame burro released by residents runs loose with feral horses and is frequently seen on the beach.
___ Horse (Equus caballus) Common
A train-car load of mustangs from Arizona was released on the island in the 1920s and forms the basis of the present herd. Other stock was introduced periodically. Modern horses are not native to the North American continent, compete with native wildlife for resources, and are a serious insult to the natural ecosystems. The herd is subject to regular mortality from encephalitis.
Order Artiodactyla
___ Swine (Sus scrofa) Common
The population of feral swine fluctuates from large to moderate and their impact on the native fauna and flora is devastating. Every species on the island is likely to feel the impact of these destructive, exotic animals.
Introduced Species
Order Marsupialia – Pouched mammals
___ Opossum (Didelphis virginiana) Common
Opossums are not found on most Georgia barrier islands but were introduced to Cumberland Island in 1993 and are now found throughout the island. Coastal opossums harbor many parasites, including the potentially lethal agent causing trypanosomiasis in humans.
Order Rodentia
___ Fox Squirrel (Sciurus niger) Died out
These large squirrels were intorduced but apparently died out. There is a museum specimum from the island.
___ Black Rat (Rattus rattus) Died out?
There were large island populations in buildings in the late 1970s, but they may have been eliminated.
Order Carnivora
___ Bobcat (Lynx rufus) Uncommon
In 1988-89 bobcats were introduced to the island. Bobcats are not members of the present fauna on most Georgia barrier islands.
Back to main list: Mammals