Giant Rats Won't Die and Keep Invading Florida
It's the kind of research Magill agrees should be done -- one he sees as valuable -- but one that isn't a solution to eradicate the animal when they're running uncontrolled through South Florida, where they're not from.
"These rats are not uncommon at all in Africa," he says. "It's easy to acquire them, start breeding colonies under a controlled situation, and if they can be trained to help human beings, let's go for it. But in the meantime, we cannot wait to get these animals doing damage to the economy out of the wild."
It's a problem particularly for South Florida, Magill says. Colder places like New York where similar rats have been found tend not to be a good place for the African animal because the heat (AKA the Heat, amirite?!) is needed.
"People have no concept about how many exotic animals and insects and plants we're fighting every single day," he says. "We're talking in the billions of dollars to try to control these impacts on wildlife, so it's a huge challenge. Something like the rat makes the news, why? Because it's a big, ugly, huge rat and people pay attention to that. Oh my God! Oh my God! People just need to put meaning on what a nonnative species can do, whether it's a tiny little insect or a giant python."
Imagine a four-pound, 30-inch-long insect.
Ron Magill has a segment answering animal questions every Tuesday at 5 p.m. on the Dan Le Batard Show with Stugoz on ESPN Radio (also on 104.3 FM and 790 AM).