In today's Birdcage-Liner: big front page photo of one of 'em over a headline twice the size of the one over the other "news" story ("Have Our Top Generals Failed Us?" --Yes, if you expected a combination of Jesus, Daddy, Santa Claus and Alexander the Great): the endangered Allegheny Wood Rat. I was eatin' breakfast at the time, too.
But there it is, in living color and bold as brass, a middle-sized* member of the rodentia, upon whose species the State Department of Natural Resources is spending a half-million of my money in order to reintroduce. Them. Of which. (Grammer-MEDIC!)
Psst, DNR? It's a RAT. Eats some of your food, fouls the rest. Just like the cute little white-footed mouse the paper tells me they resemble. State bird biologist John Castrale -- who I'd like to think may have more of an eye on hawk and eagle food than he lets on, but that's just me -- is quoted saying, "These species were here for thousands of years...we have an ethical responsibility to maintain...diversity." Wonder how he'd react to an infestation of brown roaches? They've got all kinds of seniority, their species havin' "been here" for millions of years!
Whatever supposedly-valuable niche is filled by a critter whose job it is to ruin my cornflakes, we can do without it. We can especially do without havin' to put rats on Welfare with my tax money. Doggone it, they've failed at the species most iconic behavior and if the little thieves can't manage to breed like, f'pity's sake, rats, we should not be proppin' them up.
Just Say No. To rodents.
*Ignoring the really huge ones because...well, ew.
T. R. MCELROY'S STREAMLINED TELEGRAPH KEYS
2 months ago