Cat-sized African rats survive in Florida
Gambian pouch rats have been found in Florida's Grassy Key despite efforts to eradicate them. Officials worry that the voracious rats, which grow to nine pounds, might wipe out some crops and upset the delicate ecological balance if they manage to reach the Florida mainland.
But a breed of giant, Gambian rats have been rapidly reproducing in the Florida Keys despite a decade-long effort to wipe them out. KeysNet reports the invasive, African native species first began showing up between 1999-2001 after a local exotic animal breeder released eight of the rats into the wild.
"We thought we had them whipped as of 2009," said Scott Hardin, exotic species coordinator for Florida's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. "We think they have not moved far but they clearly reproduced," he said.
The rodents, officially kn
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