Friday, May 13, 2005

Oddball Critters

A bunch of strange furry animal stories I've had on my mind. This morning I read about a new rat, being sold for food in Laos. By "new" I mean scientists didn't know about them, although human carnivores apparently did.

'Oddball Rodent' Is Called New to Science (NY Times): "To find something so distinct in this day and age is just extraordinary," said Dr. Robert J. Timmins of the Wildlife Conservation Society, one of the discoverers. "For all we know, this could be the last remaining mammal family left to be discovered."

And then there are the giant gerbils of China:
giant cute gerbil pic Giant gerbils infest China (BBC News, 2003): The Great Gerbil found in many parts of Central Asia can be up to 400 millimetres (16 inches) long from head to tail...Officials say the gerbils have damaged more than 4m hectares (11m acres) of grassland - about the size of Switzerland. Authorities are trying to combat the gerbils, not only by using poison, but also by breeding eagles to devour them.

I think they should be exported as pets. I want one. They could take my cats, no problem. Giant gerbil-eating eagles sound like a real concern to me, though.

In other genetic breeding news, mice will soon be immortal. We will then need immortal cats to take care of THEM, which certainly works for me.

And finally, still in the transgenic pet category, in my bio class we discussed the glow-in-the-dark bunny, a rabbit genetically altered by jellyfish DNA. I'm a little disturbed to find out it's an "art" project, if this guy's web page is the right spot for this story. On the other hand, an art project has better chance of getting the moral issues into the minds of voters than a lab experiment does, which my biology teacher is always concerned about.

1 comment :

KeithHandy said...

Technically, if the mice are immortal, then the cats can't really "take care of them", can they? :)

That said, immortal pets of any kind would be nice, except they'd get lonely when their owners died.