Feds Collect Giant Rats in Florida

November 29, 2006
Feds Collect Giant Rats in Florida (AP)
Jill Cox, a member of the animal care staff at the Hogle Zoo, shows off a female giant Gambian rat in June 9, 2003, in Salt Lake City. Gambian rats, a giant rat indigenous to Africa, remains near the top of the Center for Disease Control's suspect list for the cause of the outbreak of the Monkeypox virus in 2003, that sickened dozens of adults and children in the U.S. Midwest, after prairie dogs, who came into contact with humans, had likely been infected with the virus by the rodent. (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac)

As the rising sun danced across Florida's coastal waters, government workers in shorts and T-shirts knelt in a grassy island field and plucked wriggling rats from traps laid the night before. These weren't just any rats. They were 3-pound, 35-inch-long African behemoths. They squirmed as the workers, wearing protective gloves, removed green radio collars that had been tracking the rodents' movements. All 18 of the animals were carted away for research.

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