MARQUETTE — There are many things that can harm us online, from viruses to cyberbullying. But there is another online threat that can hurt more than just people.

Online shopping is a big factor in introducing invasive species to the state of Michigan and its environment. The internet is a great way to get plants and animals online, but there is a chance that the species could be illegal in the state. There is also a chance that the animal or plant may not be accustomed to its new environment.

“Because of the climate here, generally the animals that are purchased aren’t going to survive here during the winter, but it’s still not responsible to release that animal into the wild,” said DNR Wildlife Biologist Brian Roell. “Plants themselves are the ones that do more damage; some of the plants can be very noxious as well. So they can be a danger to pets and humans.”

Before you shop online for any exotic species, it’s good to know what state and federal laws are in effect.

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