Monday, June 28, 2010

Repopulating Vermin

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.

14 comments:

Tam said...

Unless they let me go "weapons free" with my Sheridan inside city limits, they have no business turning even more rodents loose around here.

Nathan said...

Our generals haven't failed us.

Our politicians have.

Figures a Red-riddled rag like the local fishwrap would get that backwards.

Bob S. said...

PETA call "Be Kind to Roaches"

http://living.peta.org/2010/be-kind-to-cockroaches

Wonder if Mr. Castrale is a member

Shermlock Shomes said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U36DO_nrJeA

reflectoscope said...

Cats gotta eat too, but spending tax money at all, never mind a half-million? Good grief.

Jim

LabRat said...

I don't suppose you have a link describing the program in more detail?

I could well be wrong, but my suspicion is that the wood rat is endangered in the first place because it's NOT any good at urbanization. The brown Norwegian rat is an efficient urbanizer that's actually pushed out other rat species that were either in the niche before or merely in areas that became urbanized; one of the reasons you hear so little about bubonic plague these days is its original and most hospitable host, the black rat, was pushed out and marginalized by the Norwegian across Europe and most of the rest of civilization save tropical areas the Norwegian dislikes.

The rats you have to trap and shoot, unless you live somewhere rural, are almost always the vulgar European immigrants...

Old Grouch said...

It appears that this is funded by the "Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Contribution" checkoff on your IT-40 (a contribution that reduces your refund, not a designation). It's the same program that monitors/encourages river otters, peregrine falcons, bald eagles, and bobcats.

Since it's a voluntary contribution (rather than appropriated "tax money"), I don't have a problem with it. These guys appear to be non-urban types who might steal your brass (really!) but won't break into your house and piss all over your food. And besides, money that goes to support THESE rats won't get contributed to politicians.

------
LabRat: start here.

Stranger said...

Early on in my life, I was introduced to a pair of capybara. They were amazingly tame, and liked alfalfa hay. Except for the same problems as sheep, they seemed nice enough. For 100 pound rodents.

The smaller ones make good target practice, or in the case of the squirrels, Brunswick stew.

Stranger

LabRat said...

Ah! Looks to be a northern relative of the inoffensive little packrats that live in our larger woodpile... or did until Kang built a den in it and forcibly evicted all other inhabitants.

MO Bro said...

I agree with Nathan:
Our generals haven't failed us.

Our politicians have.

Good wood rats, or no, politicians have failed...

D.W. Drang said...

I expect they'd be after my lockin' Ratbane up and puttin' him on a vegan diet.

They can break the news to him, I value my fingers too much.

Roberta X said...

I don't care how cute they are, they're rats. And apparently, we had almost wiped them out.

...Would I approve if people were voluntarily earmarking money to preserve smallpox? No. I can't stop 'em but I don't like it.

Frank W. James said...

Would this be the same DNR organization that has 'introduced' water mocassins to parts of Indiana where there has NEVER been a history of them? The same one that denied there were free roaming mountain lions in Indiana, that is until someone shot one with an electronic tag on it?

Just wondering, is all....

All The Best,
Frank W. James

Ian Argent said...

Free-roaming wildcat with a tag on it? That has a combination of circumstances that adds up to major fail.

I love my cats, but I never forget that every large cat I've ever seen has the EXACT same mannerisms; many of which make the littles looks cute. In a half-a-ton of obligate carnivore? Not so much...