Giant rats are running wild in the Florida Keys!
The voracious rats first appeared in 1999 after they escaped from a local exotic pets breeder – and they’ve been multiplying like crazy and getting bigger and bigger – and bigger.
These adult rats can reach nineteen pounds.
These giant Gambian pouch rats are everywhere on Florida’s Grassy Key despite concerted efforts by conservation officials to eradicate them.
Officials worry that the voracious rats, which grow to nineteen pounds, might wipe out some crops and upset the delicate ecological balance if they manage to reach the Florida mainland.
And citizens are running scared. “They are ferocious. I’d rather face a lion,” said Jeb Markham of Key West.
South Florida has become a virtual dumping ground for exotic animals from across the globe – and the gigantic rats love eating them all.
The area is teeming with exotic animals like Burmese pythons, boa constrictors, Nile monitor lizards, vervet monkeys and more–all wreaking havoc on local animal species.
“We thought we had them whipped as of 2009,” Scott Hardin, exotic-species coordinator for the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said. But now… there’s no hope. They are taking over the Keys.
“In the early part of 2011, a resident e-mailed me and said he saw one of the rats. We were skeptical but went back and talked to people and [saw] there were giant rats that we missed,” he added.
After four female rats were found in 2011, officials launched another effort to kill them in November and December, primarily through the use of poison-laced cantaloupe and peanut butter.
According to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the rats primarily eat fruit and grains but have been know to also eat insects, crabs and snails, and now… humans.
The rodent’s distinctive features include a long, mostly hairless tail that typically measures between 24 and 36 inches. And their teeth are razor sharp.