Searching out rodents across the globe

Saturday, December 30, 2006


The Sad Truth About Poison

I realize that not everybody likes rats. Most people don't want wild rodents in their yards or their houses. They can be a nuisance and a danger, and I don't blame people for wanting to be rid of them. However, I am a firm advocate against rat poison.

Rat poison is nasty stuff. A rat ingesting poison doesn't die instantly. It can take days. Slowly his body shuts down. Internal bleeding occurs. In a weak state, the poisoned rat becomes easy prey for other animals, including pets, who can in turn be poisoned. When the rat dies, his body remains for other animals to feed on, animals that are poisoned in turn. Alternately, the rat dies inside the walls of a home, spreading the stench of death.

Rat poison doesn't just kill rats!

Two days ago, my dog Mandy slipped out the front door and took off. She returned an hour later, covered in mud and burrs and happily panting. But that night she began vomiting blood. When we rushed her to the vet, he diagnosed poison. She hung on all that day as we sat with her in the clinic, poised on the edge of life and death. When the clinic closed we kissed her and patted her and told her everything would be alright. That night she died.

Rat poison doesn't just kill rats. For Mandy and all the other pets that have died, remember that.

Dealing with Wild Rats
Rodenticide Poisoning in Dogs
Anticoagulant Rodenticide Toxicosis in the Dog and Cat

Monday, December 18, 2006


Rats of Florida

School is out, it's the holiday season, and I'm here visiting family in Florida. I've left my beloved pets and trash rats behind, but there are still plenty of rodents to keep me amused.

Having dinner last night on the patio of a restaurant overlooking the beach, I was thrilled to see a cute little mouse scamper across the deck. He looked different than the mice I'm used to, bigger ears and a longer tail, almost like a kangaroo rat, though I know those aren't native to Florida. Or were they? Not knowing anything about Floridian rodents, I did some research.

The first thing I discovered was that the rattus rattus, or roof rat, is the predominant rat species in Florida, unlike rattus norvegicus, which is the main rat in Ohio. Rattus rattus is an arboreal species, meaning they live in trees, much like squirrels. I can't think of anything that would thrill me more than the sight of a rattus rattus scurrying nimbly across a tree branch.

Actually, the one thing that would thrill me more would be to spot an African Gambian Rat. For those who are familiar with the 2004 remake Willard, the rat that played Ben was an African Gambian Rat. Gambians can grow to the size of a raccoon and have a lifespan of 6-8 years. Unfortunantly, because of the monkey pox scare a few years back, they're illegal to buy in the United States. Which hasn't stopped me from wanting one. As it turns out, Gambian Rats have infiltrated the Florida Keys. A long way from the Gulf Coast where I currently am, but it's still fun to think out.

I never did find out what that little mouse was..

Control of Roof Rats in Fruit Trees
Rat Traps in the Mangroves(cute pictures!)
Large Gambian Rats Worry Florida Officials
Gambian Rat Pet Care