African giant pouch rats, also known as the Gambian giant pouch rats, were reportedly on the loose in the Florida Keys. Authorities have made efforts to eradicate them since 2009. However, the cat-sized rats still have increased its population. Concerns of these pests spreading into the mainland and destroying crops in Florida have worried Miami officials.
Scort Hardin, exotic species coordinator for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said that they thought they had eliminated these rats as of 2009. But in early 2011, he got an e-mail saying a resident had seen one of the rats. Hardin said they were skeptical but still went to the area to talk to the people and saw indeed the rats that they missed. He also said they have caught them all within half-mile of each other but it was clear that they have reproduced.
A local cat breeder reportedly brought the cat-sized rats into Florida Keys. The rats, however, managed to escape into the wild.
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