It sounds like something out of a science fiction movie. Three foot long Ghambian rats, previously believed to have been exterminated in 2003, are being spotted again in Florida. The rats began multiplying after a breeder from Key West released 6 or 7 of them into the wild in 2000. Seemed like a good idea at the time...
"We thought we had them whipped as of 2009," Scott FWC's exotic species coordinator. "In the early part of 2011, a resident e-mailed me and said he saw one of the rats. We were skeptical but went back and talked to people and [saw] there were rats that we missed."Hardin says they've caught 20 since then through peanut butter and cantaloupe-laced traps in Grassy Key residents' backyards, reports KeyNet.
The rats rapidly destroy crops, could contain the monkey pox virus, and do bite, according to scientists. However, there is no reason to be alarmed, as the rats will most likely be eaten by the non-native Burmese Pythons living in the Everglades (who were released by their owners).
Gambian Pouch Rats Population Rises Again In Florida Keys