That's what we are
Fuel for viruses...
Top of the food chain, not...
Top boffins in the States believe they have unmasked the mystery attacker responsible for repeatedly wiping out towns in the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains, slaughtering thousands of inhabitants. The massacres are apparently being carried out by a type of carnivorous mouse, described by scientists as "nasty little beasties …
Cute? THAT? Are you DAFT? It looks like it wants to rip your arm off and beat you to death with it, if only it was big enough.
P.S. For some real prairie dog related fun, look up "varmit gun" on ewwtoob... these are ultra high powered rifles designed to take out prairie dogs at up to half a mile away, because it's really hard to sneak up to normal gun range. Some of these weapons have 5ft barrels.
It's fun watching a prairie dog vaporize into a puff of blood and fur!
... and the cost of replacing those who have to be put down is Y, I can see how sympathy for the little buggers would erode quite quickly and a "varmit (or varmint?) gun" would seem a wise investment. It'd be best for all concerned if the prairie dogs (and their burrow holes) could stay on their side of the fence and leave the horses' and/or cattle's side alone but I haven't heard of this happening. Of course, in states with open range laws this "solution" might be a bit dicey as would be trying to "manage" such hazards on public lands leased to ranchers.
"At only 10 (small furry) residents per acre, that sounds very des res."
That's 10 prairie dogs with several observation mounds, exit tunnels, and several hundred feet of burrow per acre. They have their towns tunneled like the Brits do Gibraltar.
It's more like suburban sprawl, with areas of densely populated burrows and areas of sparse burrows between them.
Nice though it is to use such a convenient shorthand term, the US Midwest is NOT the same as "the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains". It is the area to the North East of the Great Plains, centered around the Great Lakes, although there is some overlap in the region of North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska.
Check out the two Wikipedia articles http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_plains and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midwestern_United_States, and you'll soon get the idea. (There are nice outline maps that show clearly how the Great Plains are directly to the West of the Midwest).
As a sometime Midwesterner, I don't know anybody who counts the Rocky Mountains as part of the Midwest; nor really the plains south of Kansas.
The grasslands of SE Colorado are a fine place to pick up bubonic plague, though. It used to happen once or twice a year to some unfortunate camper.
...the good old Rodenator. The spokesman is great -- he can hardly contain his glee when describing the product.
We have serious gopher problems here on the California central coast (*that* will confuse the Midwest vs. Rocky mountain/Great Plain identify crisis).
Anyway. We thought about importing some of the carnivorous mice but then worried about what we would do with them after they ate all of the gophers.
Although the Rodenator is rather expensive at $1,400, several of us are considering pooling together to share the ability for committing mass rodentcide. (Not to be confused with using rodenticides which are nasty chemicals and not near as much fun to use.)
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Check out: < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alberta >, < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_rat >.
The last one found in Alberta was after provincial inspectors captured a single varmint believed to have entered the province from neighbouring Saskatchewan on a recreational vehicle in 2009.
Rat control costs the provincial government about $500,000 a year but the effort is said to save tens of millions of dollars in potential crop damage, disease, food contamination and damaged buildings.
Unfortunately the Progressive Conservative stronghold of 'rats' remains.
Rat free, well...except for Calgary. There's still a small nest of the little blighters there that they've been having trouble eliminating. I think it was a few years back, a couple of lab rats got loose and started breeding. They keep thinking they've wiped them all out, but ever couple of months someone spots a new one and the province sends in the pest control once more.
Personally, I vote for abiogenesis of rodentia due to the concentration of politicos even more bat**** right wing (Alliance) than regular Cowtown PCs. This of course is based on the completely unscientific belief that corruption casts an aura, and that when too many such auras overlap the point of confluence causes the normal laws of of our reality to collapse. From this we get abiogenic generation of rodentia, gates into hell, Adobe Reader vulnerabilities and so forth.
Why yes, that is my coat…
"Rat free, well...except for Calgary. There's still a small nest of the little blighters there that they've been having trouble eliminating. I think it was a few years back, a couple of lab rats got loose and started breeding..."
Theyyyy're Pinky And The Brain -- YES,
Pinky And The Brain...
Alright, alright, I'm gone.
It is, after all a Pom site...
Boffin is hardly arcane, except maybe to seppos.
It means, roughly, highly competent scientist or engineer whose work may not be readily understandable by the general public, maybe with a slight aura of unworldliness. Much more positive than say geek.
"So we decided to write a computer model to determine if the number of mice being trapped is consistent with driving these plague epizootics."
Anybody else read this as: "so we decided to write a computer model that proves the number of mice being trapped is consistent with driving these plaque epizootics."?
It is entirely possible to in an ethically responsible manner write a computer model for the interactions amongst the various participants including their variation in numbers to see if there exists a configuration in which the mass kill event occurs. I will confess I didn't follow the link to the article to see if they are in fact proceeding in a scientific and ethical fashion, which is: have they published the raw data, the model, and provided access to the source code for their computer model? If yes, then it is solid science. If no, then you are correct to question the conclusions.
Can they figure out why they commit suicide under cars?
Drove out Interstate 80 in Neb/Col area, and there were many stretches of road 200-400 feet with literally hundreds of these guys turned to street pizza - a little slick to go over, BTW. Seemed strange, then on the way back, the same thing. But at one of these graveyards I see a little fella standing up on the shoulder, no cars in sight in front or behind, yet he times it perfectly to run under my wheels!
Made a quick backstory in my head though - he came upon the bodies if his slaughtered kin, and decided life was not worth living without them, and joined them when the next car came by...
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