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Women Dump Rats in Rival's Home

Police searching for 'rat pack' of Philly suspects

(Newser) - This gives a whole new meaning to the term "rat pack": A woman in her 20s—along with her mother and a group of as many as nine other women—descended on the Philadelphia home of a romantic rival on Wednesday night, armed with baseball bats and a box... More »

Talk of Sweden: Rat So Giant It Terrified Cat

Rodent was 16 inches long, weighed two pounds

(Newser) - Scientists' prediction that giant rats could someday rule Earth hits a lot closer to home when you have a 16-inch-long rodent running around in your kitchen—and that's not including the tail. Sweden is abuzz over a mega-sized rat dubbed "Ratzilla" (unappetizing photos here ), which was discovered... More »

Petco Sued After Boy Dies From Rat-Bite Fever

Chain accused of negligence in death of boy, 10

(Newser) - A California family whose 10-year-old son died of rat-bite fever just two weeks after he brought home a male companion for his female pet rat is taking Petco to court for alleged negligence. Aidan Pankey died hours after being rushed to the hospital with severe stomach pains last summer, but... More »

Family: Rat Baked Into 96-Year-Old's Birthday Cake

It wasn't such a happy birthday for Joseph Vallenti

(Newser) - It's tough to think of a less appetizing way to celebrate one's 96th birthday. Joseph Vallenti's request for his big day was a slice of his favorite German apple cake, made by King Kullen supermarket. What Vallenti's family recalls the Commack, NY, man saying after taking... More »

How Giant Rats Could Someday Rule the Earth

Bank on it after the next mass extinction, says scientists

(Newser) - The future could belong to rats—perhaps enormous ones. So say scientists in Britain, based on a thought experiment. Geological historian Jan Zalasiewicz notes that some of his colleagues fear the planet could be headed for its next mass extinction in the next several centuries, thanks to humans' detrimental effects... More »

UK Fears Approach of Rat-Infested 'Ghost Ship'

Though Lyubov Orlova hasn't been heard from since March

(Newser) - The Russian "ghost ship" that was last heard from in March has all but vanished—but a flurry of reports now have it on a potential collision-course with Britain's coast, and packed with rats. Experts are warning that the Lyubov Orlova could be headed that way in the... More »

Columbus Can't Afford to Shoo Its Rats

With no money in health budget, city resorts to posting fliers

(Newser) - Problem: Columbus has lots of rats. Bigger problem: Columbus doesn't have money to deal with its rats. Very unsatisfying solution for residents: The Ohio capital city is posting fliers in hard-hit areas and trying to educate people about the ways of rats instead of, say, actually removing the rats,... More »

20K Rats, Snakes So Abused Rescuers Needed Counseling

Bosses charged with 106 counts of animal cruelty

(Newser) - Following what PETA is calling the biggest animal seizure in California history, rescuers were so disturbed by what they saw that they needed crisis counseling. A warehouse near Los Angeles was full of some 20,000 rats, snakes, and other reptiles who faced long-term mistreatment; many were dead and maggot-ridden,... More »

Paralyzed Rats Regain Ability to Pee

Breakthrough gives hope that it might restore bladder control in humans, too

(Newser) - Neuroscientists working with rats have pulled off a feat raising hopes that paralyzed people might someday be able to regain control of their bladders and ditch the catheter. The scientists grafted nerves from elsewhere in the rats' bodies to their severed spinal cords, and the rats eventually were able to... More »

Louisiana Is Shrinking, Thanks to Giant Swamp Rats

Beaver-like creatures behind vast erosion

(Newser) - When it comes to invasive species, Louisiana may have Florida and its giant snails beat: The state's beloved swampland is literally vanishing at the hands of gigantic swamp rats . Nutria—described by a documentarian tracking the creatures as "a cross between a beaver and a New York sewer... More »

Scandal in China: Rat Meat Sold as Lamb

Meat was allegedly covered in gelatin, red pigment, nitrates

(Newser) - Europeans freaking out about horse meat should take heart: It could be worse. Chinese authorities have taken down a crime ring accused of selling meat from a variety of animals—including rats, minks, and foxes—as lamb, in a scheme that raked in around $1.6 million, they announced yesterday.... More »

NYC Subway Fights Rats —With Sterilization

ContraPest makes female rats infertile, if they eat enough of it

(Newser) - The rats of New York's subways have outfoxed poisons and traps alike, but now the MTA is ready to try out a new tactic—sterilization. Subway officials outlined a plan yesterday to use a sterilization product called ContraPest, which make females infertile by targeting ovarian follicles, reports the New ... More »

Scientists Link Brains of Two Rats

Signals from one affect the other, say researchers

(Newser) - It is, in the words of Wired , a "rodent mind meld." A Duke neuroscientist planted electrodes in the brains of two rats and discovered that signals from one could control the actions of the other, reports the New York Times . In one experiment, the rats were trained to... More »

9/11 Hearings Begin Today Amid Rats, Mold

Judge won't allow further delays to Guantanamo trial

(Newser) - The Guantanamo trial of five 9/11 suspects has already been postponed thanks to a tropical storm, religious observances, an Internet outage, and more—but an invasion of rats and mold isn't going to push it back any further. Pretrial hearings are set to begin today for alleged mastermind Khalid... More »

Thanks, Isaac: Mississippi Gets 16K Dead 'Swamp Rats'

Storm leaves behind dead nutria on the beaches

(Newser) - Isaac may not have been the storm of the century, but beach cleanup workers in Mississippi have a nasty task all the same: About 16,000 dead and bloated nutria—a rat-like rodent with the nickname "swamp rat"—have washed up in the aftermath, reports the local Sun ... More »

New Rat Discovered— and It Doesn't Gnaw

Paucidentomys vermidax eats earthworms

(Newser) - A unique new species of rat that lives off earthworms and doesn't chew or gnaw has been discovered in Indonesia. The shrew-like animal with a long, pointed snout was found in the forests of southern Sulawesi Island last year, and makes its debut in this week's British journal... More »

One of World's Last Rat-Free Zones Finds ... Rats

Alberta scrambles to stamp out Medicine Hat rats

(Newser) - Alberta has fought hard for more than 50 years to keep itself one of the few rat-free zones in the populated world, but that status could now be in danger. A rat colony has been found in a landfill near the town of Medicine Hat and authorities fear there could... More »

'Literary' Island Faces Bombing of Rat Poison

Italy plans to exterminate rats on Montecristo

(Newser) - Any buried treasure on the island of Montecristo will soon be covered in rat poison. Facing a massive rat infestation, Italian authorities plan to drop 26 tons of poison on the 4-square-mile island that inspired Alexandre Dumas' famous novel The Count of Monte Cristo, the Telegraph reports. Black rats may... More »

3-Foot Rat Speared in Brooklyn

Worker at housing project kills rodent with a pitchfork

(Newser) - It's a rat that almost ate Brooklyn. But a Housing Authority worker speared the three-foot-long rodent (including tail)—with a pitchfork, reports the New York Daily News . Experts believe the creature is likely a Gambian pouched rat , which is sometimes kept as a pet—but perhaps more at home... More »

Australia Fighting Rats —With Rats

Native species summoned to take out non-native invaders

(Newser) - In the what-could-possibly-go-wrong department: Australia hopes to rid the Sydney Harbour area of black rats by introducing a different species of rat into the area, reports Reuters . The black rats are non-native invaders that probably arrived by ship 200 or so years ago, and they're a huge nuisance near... More »

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