Horses were native to America

How the Mustang came to the Wild West

People are always breaking new ground. They often carry animals in their luggage. Horses, snakes, kangaroos and wolfhounds found new homes.

The Mustang

The Wild West without Mustangs is not possible. The wild herds of horses are icons of the American West. However, whether they actually belong to North America and whether they are actually an invasive species is a matter of dispute. Mustangs are not real wild horses: They are feral domestic horses, which explains their colorful furs.

The herds originally come from those animals that were brought to America by Spanish conquerors. In the exterior of certain Mustang groups, it is said, the legacy of their Spanish ancestors should still be clearly visible.

The Tiger Python

As if alligators and a colorful palette of native snakes weren't enough: In the Everglades, the large wetland in Florida in the south of the USA, there has been a steadily growing population of Southeast Asian tiger pythons since the turn of the millennium. They are likely to descend from specimens that have escaped from terrariums or were deliberately released, which may have simply grown over the head of their owners - with a body length of up to five meters, they are among the world's largest snakes. Apparently, the reptiles from tropical and subtropical regions feel comfortable in the warm Florida climate.

The dingo

It only exists in Australia - and in zoos: the dingo, which stands somewhere between dog and wolf. But does that make him a real Australian? Somehow. After all, nobody doubts that the British-born inhabitants of the continent are “real” Australians - and the dingoes have been there for a very, very long time. How long is not entirely clear. But researchers believe that the reddish-beige animals arrived in Australia sometime between 5000 and 3500 years ago. And it is very likely that they did not come alone, but as companions of humans. Not with the first to settle in Australia, but tens of thousands of years later with a group of people that was not yet clearly identified.

The wallaby

Exactly how many there are is unclear - but the population seems to be thriving: wallabies on the Isle of Man. How it came about that around a hundred of these small and often somewhat chubby-looking kangaroos live wild on the island in the middle of the Irish Sea is unclear. They are likely to come from a local wildlife park. But when the founders of the wild population ran up there and how many there were, is not known. In any case, "Wanda", who was guaranteed to have spent a year free, apparently returned to her zoo colleagues voluntarily.