The Cunning Rat
Zed has always had a soft spot for rats; he had a couple as pets and spoiled them for years, letting them run wild through his room at his father's house. They nested in the piles of clothes in his closet there, so when he'd ask me how formally to dress for a given event I'd have to specify: "Nothing with rat holes in it!" Yes, it came to that. Anyway, that's why this article from cnn.com caught my eye:
Rodent eludes capture for 4 months
A rat released on a deserted island off New Zealand outsmarted scientists and evaded traps, baits and sniffer dogs before being captured four months later on a neighboring island, researchers said on Wednesday.
Scientists from the University of Auckland in New Zealand released the Norway rat on the 23.5-acre island of Motuhoropapa to find out why rats are so difficult to eradicate.
"Our findings confirm that eliminating a single invading rat is disproportionately difficult," James Russell and his colleagues said in a report in the science journal Nature.
Despite all their efforts, including fitting the rat with a radio collar, they couldn't catch the crafty creature.
After 10 weeks on the island the rodent decided it had had enough. It swam 400 meters, the longest distance recorded for a rat across open sea, to another rat-free island where it was eventually captured in a trap baited with penguin meat several weeks later.
Invading rats on remote islands off the coast of New Zealand have been a recurring problem. Norway rats have invaded the uninhabited Noises Islands at least six times between 1981 and 2002.
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