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Plague Finds its Way to Fleas in One US State

Arizona county is warning residents to leash their dogs and de-flea all pets

(Newser) - The bacterium that wiped out millions in Europe in the Black Death pandemic of the 1300s lives on, and officials say it's resurfaced in fleas in Arizona. Navajo County public health officials warn on Facebook that Yersinia pestis, better known as the plague, can be transmitted to humans and... More »

Naked Mole Rats Can Do What No Other Vertebrate Can

Oxygen deprivation? Bring it

(Newser) - Scientists already know enough about naked mole rats to put them in the "strange" category. The hairless ground-dwelling wonders are notable for being cold-blooded mammals that are practically immune to cancer and far outlive other rodents, reports Science Daily . Now scientists say they've observed the creatures surviving without... More »

Eat an Orange-Toothed River Rat? They Are in Moscow

Nutria has made its way to the plate

(Newser) - There's an emerging culinary trend in Moscow, but it's not for the faint of heart: meaty dishes such as burgers and dumplings made with rodent meat. Nutria, commonly referred to as "river rats"—which the Moscow Times reports are originally from South America but have been... More »

EPA Tells Cities to Stop Killing Rats With Dry Ice

'This is not necessarily one of those logical things'

(Newser) - Killing urban rats with dry ice is a cheap, effective, and non-toxic method of pest control, authorities say—but the Environmental Protection Agency wants it to stop. The EPA has informed authorities in cities including New York, Chicago, and Boston that the method is illegal under federal law because... More »

This Is Likely the First Mammal Lost to Climate Change

Mosaic-tailed rat has vanished from Bramble Cay off Australia

(Newser) - Way to go, humanity. For the first time in history, human-induced climate change has been found "solely or primarily" responsible for the extinction of a mammal species, according to a new study . The Bramble Cay melomys , or mosaic-tailed rat, was found by Europeans on a tiny coral cay off... More »

Huge 'Bonnie and Clyde' Rodents Loose in Toronto

The capybara pair escaped from High Park Zoo on May 24

(Newser) - A #CapybaraWatch hashtag is making the rounds online in the hopes that the public can help track down two giant capybaras that flew the coop of a Toronto zoo more than two weeks ago, National Geographic reports. The aptly nicknamed Bonnie and Clyde made a run for it on May... More »

World's Most Rodent-Packed Island Has Just 2 Options

Blanket island in poison, or deal with the 60K mice

(Newser) - Those suffering from musophobia would be wise to steer clear of the South Farallon Islands. The archipelago, which sits just 27 miles off San Francisco, is the most rodent-dense island in the world, with an average of 500 Eurasian house mice occupying each of its 120 acres (that's 60,... More »

This Rodent Could Save Your Life

Naked mole rats appear to be cancer-proof: researchers

(Newser) - The naked mole rat is one lucky rodent: It not only lives more than 30 years, it's also seemingly immune to cancer, according to a new study published in Nature . While 95% of lab mice die of cancer, per Bloomberg , scientists were unable to trigger cancer in naked mole... More »

Yosemite to 1.7K Visitors: You Might Have Hantavirus

Warning goes out after second death

(Newser) - Following a second death from hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, Yosemite National Park officials are warning 1,700 summer visitors that they, too, could have contracted the rodent-borne disease. Those in danger came to the park between June and August and stayed in the "Signature Tent Cabins" in the park's... 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 »

California Water Worker Snaps Pics of Giant Rodent

Turns out to be a capybara, the world's biggest rodent

(Newser) - Turns out that a giant 100-pound rodent recently spotted in California is ... well, a giant 100-pound rodent. Called a capybara, it was photographed by a water treatment plant worker who posted the pics—which quickly went viral, the Los Angeles Times reports. "He seemed pretty content," said one... More »

Rodents: The New Airport Bomb Sniffers

In Israel, mice being trained to detect explosives, drugs

(Newser) - Which would you rather be exposed to: those pesky new “naked” airport scanners , or … rodents? In Israel, mice are being trained to sniff out bombs and drugs, in a system researchers say will be more accurate than pat-downs, x-rays, or sniffer dogs. The mice would be hidden in... More »

Rats Laugh When Tickled

And guess what? They like it!

(Newser) - A YouTube gem from 2007 is making the rounds again, teaching us something kind of neat and kind of gross: Rats laugh when tickled. When a Bowling Green University professor decided to try tickling the rodents, and then listening to their resulting high-frequency noises on a “bat detector,”... More »

Rat-Eating Plant Named for Brit Naturalist Attenborough

(Newser) - A rare, giant Philippine pitcher plant that likely dines on rats and mice has been named after British naturalist Sir David Attenborough, the Times of London reports. The Nepenthes attenboroughii, which could number only a few hundred specimens, was discovered in 2007. Attenborough says he’s delighted to lend his... More »

China Uses 'the Pill' to Stop Gerbil Overpopulation

Officials hide contraceptive meds in gerbil feed

(Newser) - Chinese officials have resorted to contraceptive pills to control the exploding gerbil population threatening a fragile desert ecosystem, the BBC reports. The government is placing feed pellets mixed with the medication by the gerbils’ burrows, which damage the roots of what plants survive there. Authorities have tried measures to boost... More »

German Politician: Let the Poor Catch Rats

Advocates for poor squeal about Dickensian plan

(Newser) - One German politician has a solution to help Berlin's poor: let them catch the rats that are plaguing the city. "People who collect bottles could get one euro [$1.40] for every dead rat," he cheerfully explained. But the Dickensian plan, which may be officially introduced today, wasn't... More »

Cambodia's Food Crisis Fix? Eat Rats

And they think more of the world should too

(Newser) - Food prices have rocketed so high in Cambodia that even the humblest of foods has seen its price quadruple this year. That humblest of foods is rat meat, and it’s going up precisely because so many Cambodians can’t afford any other meat, the Guardian reports. Rats have been... More »

Dead Rats Stink Up Orlando Airport

Persistent rodent problem leaves officials and passengers feeling ill

(Newser) - Dead rats are stinking up a portion of Orlando International Airport, and the smell has workers crying foul. Construction crews renovating gates earlier this month scared the rodents into the airport, the Orlando Sentinel reports; exterminators followed, and after rats died in walls and ceilings the stench sent workers and... More »

NYC Fines for Rat-Hunting Cats

Inspectors charge $300 and up for feline guardians

(Newser) - New York food shops and delis have a way to deal with rats, but health inspectors aren’t purring: Many NYC stores have a cat around to keep out rodents, the New York Times reports. Unfortunately, health inspectors frown on cats and rats with equal fervor. “Any animal around... More »

$25K Sundae Comes With Mice, Roaches

NYC closes upscale dessert shop for health violations

(Newser) - An upscale dessert shop on New York's Upper East Side that serves $25,000 ice cream sundaes has been shut down for egregious health-code violations, including a dysfunctional sewage system, mounds of mouse droppings, and a thriving cockroach population, CBS reports. The shop, Serendipity 3, introduced the extravagant sundae, which... More »

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