This is Gallus gallus domesticus...yes, the domestic chicken. However, this is no barnyard chicken, but a feral, endemic population of chickens that have become quite famous on the island. These are an introduced, invasive species here. They are extremely common, and are protected locally. We witnessed chickens foraging among the seaweed on the beach, and digging for insects under shrubs, around and under houses, and in wilder areas as well. The chicken population is controversial, with locals strongly in favor of extirpating or protecting the chickens. They eat large quantities of insects, which the locals appreciate, and also small reptiles and other wildlife, all of which makes them detrimental to the local environment. However, Key West is largely a suburban city. The chickens are an increasing problem, as they thrive here, and have begun to spread to other Keys.
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