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back to article Carnivorous plague mice 'wiping out towns' in US Midwest

Top boffins in the States believe they have unmasked the mystery attacker responsible for repeatedly wiping out towns in the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains, slaughtering thousands of inhabitants. The massacres are apparently being carried out by a type of carnivorous mouse, described by scientists as "nasty little beasties". …

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Anonymous Coward

That's what we are

Fuel for viruses...

uh.

Top of the food chain, not...

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Happy

Um ...

By "we", I presume you mean you and your fellow prairie dogs. Do you have good bandwidth in your burrow-town?

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Happy

iWant!

From wiki-

"It also stalks its prey in the manner of a cat, sneaking up quietly, and defends its territory by "howling" like a small wolf"

Give'em an amplifier and new guard pet for small properties?

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Epizootics

Epizootics - my new favourite word for the day.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Epizootics

Me too, but it's in the OED nevertheless.

As is "schlep", my second new word today, defined as "haul or carry (something heavy or awkward)". "The mice then schlep the fleas around to different territories".

Heavy or awkward fleas, that's what we should worry about.

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Welcome

May I be....

...the first to welcome what will surely, eventually be our carnivorous, plague carrying, rodent Overlords....

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Go

Is the mouse saying...

You mate are dead when you let go

(Come on people, its got to be a caption competition time.)

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Go

Or maybe the person holding it is saying

Thomas! THOMAS! Can you catch this one?

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Probably..

.. the best strapline for an article .. ever?

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Awesome...

...truly awesome; has brightened my morning considerably.

Bravo El Reg. =)

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Joke

New Simon Cowell vehicle

"mystery dogsquirrel-slayer annihilation factor"

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More of this sort of thing!

Investigative journalism at its finest.

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required title

...but it's soooooo cute. What harm can it be?

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Flame

Re: required title

Cute? THAT? Are you DAFT? It looks like it wants to rip your arm off and beat you to death with it, if only it was big enough.

P.S. For some real prairie dog related fun, look up "varmit gun" on ewwtoob... these are ultra high powered rifles designed to take out prairie dogs at up to half a mile away, because it's really hard to sneak up to normal gun range. Some of these weapons have 5ft barrels.

It's fun watching a prairie dog vaporize into a puff of blood and fur!

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Happy

Re: What harm?

The mice do no harm at all. It's the fleas... it's ALWAYS the fleas...

<scratch/> <scratch/>

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Title!

You have a strange definition of "fun". While I agree the guns used are very cool, killing for sport has never sat very well with me. To each their own I guess, to a point.

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True, but if costs X for each horse or cow that snaps an ankle in a prairie dog hole ...

... and the cost of replacing those who have to be put down is Y, I can see how sympathy for the little buggers would erode quite quickly and a "varmit (or varmint?) gun" would seem a wise investment. It'd be best for all concerned if the prairie dogs (and their burrow holes) could stay on their side of the fence and leave the horses' and/or cattle's side alone but I haven't heard of this happening. Of course, in states with open range laws this "solution" might be a bit dicey as would be trying to "manage" such hazards on public lands leased to ranchers.

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Grenade

Right!

It's only sport if the opposing team has the same equipment!

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Anonymous Coward

Boffins again

It seems there's more of a problem with boffin infestation than there is with mice.

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WTF?

Well....!

..thats put my problems i've been having with Word today into perspective.

Thanks for that.

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Anonymous Coward

Towns.

"towns" which can underlie as much as 500 acres and hold as many as 5,000 residents."

At only 10 (small furry) residents per acre, that sounds very des res.

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More like rodent Suburbia

"At only 10 (small furry) residents per acre, that sounds very des res."

That's 10 prairie dogs with several observation mounds, exit tunnels, and several hundred feet of burrow per acre. They have their towns tunneled like the Brits do Gibraltar.

It's more like suburban sprawl, with areas of densely populated burrows and areas of sparse burrows between them.

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Coat

More work for boffins?

Given that there is clearly still a lively debate going on within the scientific community I vote that we fund a second report - a squakquel if you will.

...

(tumbleweed)

...

OK I'll get my coat.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: More work for boffins?

>if you will

I won't.

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Anonymous Coward

It should have been obvious...

...when they found fjords in the burrows.

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Boffinwatch

Boffin count = 4.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Boffinwatch

Please note we are talking Top Boffins here, not your common or garden boffins.

Maybe a separate counter for each type (top, bottom, strange, charmed etc.)

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Boffin flavours.

I can understand top and bottom boffins, even strange and charmed boffins. Where it falls apart is wrapping my mind around up or down boffins.

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Not really the Midwest

Nice though it is to use such a convenient shorthand term, the US Midwest is NOT the same as "the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains". It is the area to the North East of the Great Plains, centered around the Great Lakes, although there is some overlap in the region of North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska.

Check out the two Wikipedia articles http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_plains and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midwestern_United_States, and you'll soon get the idea. (There are nice outline maps that show clearly how the Great Plains are directly to the West of the Midwest).

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It's all relative

".. the West of the Midwest."

Is that the same as the Far West?

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Happy

Re: Far West?

Nope - Far West is Califorinia.

We got all the kooks out there as we kept telling them West was just a little bit further west...

Seems our neighbors to the West did the same thing.

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Boffin

Judging by the airship in the top left of the photo...

...that critter's f**king massive! Clearly it scurried out of a bomb test site in Nevada - mix rodents with radioactivity and this sort of thing is inevitable.

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Of mice and maps

As a sometime Midwesterner, I don't know anybody who counts the Rocky Mountains as part of the Midwest; nor really the plains south of Kansas.

The grasslands of SE Colorado are a fine place to pick up bubonic plague, though. It used to happen once or twice a year to some unfortunate camper.

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Anonymous Coward

computer model?

You mean like those computer models predicting lots of aeroplanes would fall out of the sky due to dust in the air? No? These are different? Honest? Carry on then.

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Happy

@tom

...ah don't worry, the Yanks are convinced everyone in Birmingham knows their friend in Liverpool, that Monty Pyyyyython is still on TV every night and that we often have tea with the Queen every Sunday.

So a little geographical cock up is just fine.

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Joke

That's why the US is great

We still have Monty Python on every night (after Dr. Who, of course) - Thank god for PBS & BBCA!

Now, if you don't mind, I'm off to sing the national anthem of our Neighbors to the Nort at a recital... "Oh, I'm a lumberjack and I'm OK..."

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and, don't forget...

...how we believe that _everybody_ in Liverpool was best buds with John Lennon.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

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Grenade

Bio weapons

are for puffs.

This is Mans pest control.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3252202206965996879#

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Ah, yes...

...the good old Rodenator. The spokesman is great -- he can hardly contain his glee when describing the product.

We have serious gopher problems here on the California central coast (*that* will confuse the Midwest vs. Rocky mountain/Great Plain identify crisis).

Anyway. We thought about importing some of the carnivorous mice but then worried about what we would do with them after they ate all of the gophers.

Although the Rodenator is rather expensive at $1,400, several of us are considering pooling together to share the ability for committing mass rodentcide. (Not to be confused with using rodenticides which are nasty chemicals and not near as much fun to use.)

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Happy

@P Henry

"the good old Rodenator. "

The device that brought the benefits of Fuel Air Explosives to the masses.

For those who think this level of annoyance is *only* enjoyed by US citizens.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fePU5CIHpas

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Pint

Did you know that Alberta, Canada is RAT FREE (animals only)

Check out: < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alberta >, < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_rat >.

The last one found in Alberta was after provincial inspectors captured a single varmint believed to have entered the province from neighbouring Saskatchewan on a recreational vehicle in 2009.

Rat control costs the provincial government about $500,000 a year but the effort is said to save tens of millions of dollars in potential crop damage, disease, food contamination and damaged buildings.

Unfortunately the Progressive Conservative stronghold of 'rats' remains.

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Coat

@JaitcH

Rat free, well...except for Calgary. There's still a small nest of the little blighters there that they've been having trouble eliminating. I think it was a few years back, a couple of lab rats got loose and started breeding. They keep thinking they've wiped them all out, but ever couple of months someone spots a new one and the province sends in the pest control once more.

Personally, I vote for abiogenesis of rodentia due to the concentration of politicos even more bat**** right wing (Alliance) than regular Cowtown PCs. This of course is based on the completely unscientific belief that corruption casts an aura, and that when too many such auras overlap the point of confluence causes the normal laws of of our reality to collapse. From this we get abiogenic generation of rodentia, gates into hell, Adobe Reader vulnerabilities and so forth.

Why yes, that is my coat…

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Coat

@Trevor_Pott

"Rat free, well...except for Calgary. There's still a small nest of the little blighters there that they've been having trouble eliminating. I think it was a few years back, a couple of lab rats got loose and started breeding..."

Theyyyy're Pinky And The Brain -- YES,

Pinky And The Brain...

Alright, alright, I'm gone.

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Anonymous Coward

Why are Register articles written so as to include arcane Brittish words and phrases?

What exactly is a boffin? And is it a requirement that all stories put out by the register include the use of boffin?

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Why are Register articles written so as to include arcane Brittish words and phrases?

Yes. Next question.

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Headmaster

>arcane Brit Words

It is, after all a Pom site...

Boffin is hardly arcane, except maybe to seppos.

It means, roughly, highly competent scientist or engineer whose work may not be readily understandable by the general public, maybe with a slight aura of unworldliness. Much more positive than say geek.

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Anonymous Coward

@JimC

What are seppos?

This Pom/Limey/Sassenach wishes to know.

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Megaphone

Probably not the first to reply but

Seppo = Septic = septic tank = Yank = Merkin :-)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Probably not the first to reply but

Thanks :-)

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