As Hurricane Irma continues its destructive path up Florida's panhandle, experts are concerned that many exotic animals could get loose and wreak havoc on the state's ecosystem.
According to the New York Times, the reason this is so concerning is that it's happened before.
Back in 1992, Hurricane Andrew hit the state and, at some point, a Burmese python escaped a breeding facility and found its way to the Everglades National Park.
Once there, the species originally from Southeast Asia took to the wetlands and feasted on raccoons, deer, and eggs. It multiplied into the tens of thousands and raved the ecosystem there.
There was never any concrete evidence that effects of the hurricane were directly responsible for the Python's escape, but the timing was clearly enough to give investigators cause to believe there was a connection.
Now, with Irma coming in at full-force, conservationists are worried this could happen again.
There are over 1,200 different species of reptiles and amphibians that are held in captivity in Florida.
One major concern is the Nile Crocodile, which is said to be "extremely aggressive."
"It’s not inconceivable that we have a repeat of what truly is an ecological disaster in the Everglades. It’s a ‘black swan’ event: low probability, high risk," Associate Vice President for conservation science at the National Wildlife Federation, Bruce Stein said.
By emphasizing that citizens should "get out quickly" we can only assume
The issue that arises here, however, is that mass evacuations can cause serious traffic jams that lead to highway gridlock which can extend for miles.
This happened with evacuation attempts of hurricanes in both 1999 and 2005.
"Evacuation orders are going to be given in a timely manner so people have time to evacuate. But if you wait, that's when the problems are going to happen," the governor continued.
The storm was predicted to be a category 4 hurricane when it hits Florida, and it appears that at this current time it's only a category 3.
"A storm of this size can have effects statewide, and everyone must be prepared," Scott said.