AP: Feds collect giant rats in Florida

Discussion in 'Up to the Minute' started by Dark Knight, Nov 29, 2006.

  1. Dark Knight

    Dark Knight New Member

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    By MARGARET EBRAHIM, Associated Press Writer



    As the rising sun danced across Florida's coastal waters, government workers in shorts and T-shirts knelt in a grassy island field and plucked wriggling rats from traps laid the night before. These weren't just any rats. They were 3-pound, 35-inch-long African behemoths. They squirmed as the workers, wearing protective gloves, removed green radio collars that had been tracking the rodents' movements.

    All 18 of the animals were carted away for research.

    Darin Carroll kept a watchful eye on that dawn mission at Florida's Grassy Key Island. Carroll is no ordinary G-man. He's a disease hunter determined to stop the next outbreak.

    Carroll works for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and for three years he has painstakingly tracked the journey of Gambian rats from their African homeland, through the exotic pet trade, and to U.S. homes.

    His quest is to prove what many scientists suspect: that African rodents imported as pets caused a monkeypox outbreak in the Midwest in 2003 that sickened dozens of adults and children with a virus related to smallpox. Scientists suspect Gambian rats may play a role.

    Similar outbreaks have occurred in Africa.

    While no one died from the U.S. outbreak, it sent warning alarms about the potential dangers of importing exotic pets captured in the wild.

    Florida and U.S. officials are trying to raise enough money to kill off the Gambian rats that have proliferated on Grassy Key Island, just a few miles from the coast of one of the country's most populous states. The rats were imported to the island a few years ago.

    MUCH more at link:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061129/ap_on_re_us/threats_from_the_wild3&printer=1



     
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  3. strach304

    strach304 New Member

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    DarkKnight, are there pics at that link? I wanna read the rest but I'm afraid a pic will pop up of a big ugly rat :eek:
     
  4. southcitymom

    southcitymom New Member

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    There's one picture of a rat, but he looks pretty cute to me.
     
  5. Peter Hamilton

    Peter Hamilton New Member

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    They'll have to rename grassy key "rat island"--lol--but rats swim so they should be on the mainland soon, but we hav other "pets" that will take care them, namely 200 large pythons that are slithering around in the everglades--pythons love rats, especially big ones--so if those rats are smart, they'll stay on that island lol
     
  6. montana_16

    montana_16 Active Member

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    Nevermind, I thought this was gonna be a political thread.
     

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