Killer Cat-Sized Rats Invade Florida

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wrote:

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http://www.wpix.com/news/wpix-oppossum-causes-evacuation-on-d-train,0,2828861.story
Any possum living in NYC near the subway is going to end up looking pretty black, too. I'm thinking Doug saw a possum. But I probably should go to the NYC Health Dep't site . . .
OK, maybe it WAS a rat. There's no shortage of hits for "largest rat ever found in NYC."
http://i.mediatakeout.com/photo/1314362412big_rat.jpg
http://cdn.mediatakeout.com/50702/shocker-giant-rat-found-inside-brooklyn-housing-project-you-ain-t-gonna-believe-the-size-of-it.html
-- Bobby G.
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On Fri, 30 Mar 2012 00:27:03 -0400, "Robert Green"

Robert, you're right. I'll never know either what it was but as I recall, it was large, well at least the size of a medium dog and it was kinda blackish in color. The color tho was probably because it was near a very oily body of water then. I remember thinking why it would try to eat along side a very oily body of water. The water then was so badly polluted.
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<stuff snipped>

pretty
the
ever
ousing-project-you-ain-t-gonna-believe-the-size-of-it.html
After scanning through a number of sites that claimed to have pictures of the city's largest rat, I think it's very likely you did see a giant rat. I really had no idea how bigs rats in NYC actually got until I went looking.
However, that area's close enough to the airport that any number of non-native animals could have escaped and made their way to where you saw them. I know around the Miami airport there are thousands of animals that have escaped from air cargo that aren't native to Florida that cause a lot of trouble for the native species and local animal control.
When I lived in the restaurant district in DC, I once heard something scuttling under the bed. I grabbed a flashlight and looked under to see a cockroach as large as mouse, just waddling across the floor. I couldn't believe that it was so big I could actually hear it moving around. It was like that scene from Aliens where the Marine lifts up a suspended ceiling panel for a look and sees giant bug-like aliens. I moved out shortly after.
-- Bobby G.
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On Sat, 31 Mar 2012 05:33:12 -0400, "Robert Green"

You reminded me of when I was walking thru a tunnel at CCNY (NYC) and I saw a dead cockroach. I never saw one so large. I remember it had to be at least 3 to 4 inches long... big. I have never seen one since anything close to that size but I don't live in NYC nowadays. I guess around certain areas where these rodents or insects are well hidden and feed well, they can grow extra large. This seems obvious from your story and mine.
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On Sun, 1 Apr 2012 09:13:07 -0400, "Robert Green"

Didn't think anyone would know about CCNY <g> but nice to hear that. I didn't walk the CCNY tunnels often and other than that dead roach, never saw any rats tho it would seem like a good place for them especially at nite. I could only imagine based on what we saw, what the other creatures look like that we did NOT see <g>.
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wrote:

Waterbugs (American Cockroach) can get pretty big, but 3-4 inches would be too big for them. They do seem larger though, since they're just so digusting. Ech. We get one or two (they seem to travel in pairs!) every few months. They come up from the shower drain I think. Luckily, one of my cats specializes in removing the wings from waterbugs. Then she carries it around in her mouth making a very interesting vocalization, sort of like Errrh Errh Errh. I hear that noise and I can be pretty sure that Marlo has a bug. Eventually it ends up dead somewhere.
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That's apparently a brand new species, according to DNA testing:
http://scienceblogs.com/grrlscientist/2010/01/big_apple_cockroaches_new_spec.php

There's a reason cats and dogs have come with humans wherever they went in the world. (-:
-- Bobby G.
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On Sat, 31 Mar 2012 05:33:12 -0400, "Robert Green"

Most likely a Nutria.

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wrote:

Oh, but Flushing does have possums - quite a few in fact. At least a few times a year I see one. I have my backyard fenced-in so my cats can't get out, and during the summer a few years back one of them marched into the house with a baby possum in his mouth. I thought it was dead but I picked it up with a paper towel and it moved, so I let it go in my neighbor's groundcover.
I don't know why people would want them gone though; I checked up on them after I first saw one in the yard. They eat all kinds of grubs and bugs that you don't want in your yard, and their body temperature is too low to share disease with other animals and humans so no rabies and such. If they had fur on that tail they'd be cute.
I was very worried about that first possum since I was concerned that it would attack my cats, but I spoke to a trapper who said that they get along just fine with cats and that the possum would move on in a day or two anyway so just leave it alone. And it was good advice, I've seen possums in my yard while the cats were back there and they just ignore each other. And that fence may stop my cats from getting out but the possum can hang upside down just fine so they can get out.
We also have raccoons though, and that's an entirely different matter. Cute, smart, and destructive. I've heard that a lot of damage done by raccoons is blamed on possums because you see the possum but not the raccoon.
I have a cat house in the front of my house for the use of a few outdoor cats (we've had them all fixed), and a raccoon wandered into one last week! I was just leaving for work (it was just getting light) and it walked right in. It left when it got dark and hasn't come back. I had banged on the side of the house (styrofoam) and generally made it uncomfortable so it wouldn't come back and so far it hasn't. Small one, probably just learning the area.
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<stuff snipped>

Until they open their mouths. Just like people, in a way! (-:

I left the sunroof to my car open a crack one day. It got thoroughly "tossed" by possums who open then glovebox, ransacked it, pulled up the floor mats and sprayed some sort of raccoon funk smell that lasted about 7 years. Everytime it was hot and humid, the raccoon stink would start up again. There was a whole raccoon family living in the nearby storm drain. I was out running early one morning and watch as mom and the kits spilled out of the sewer in a single file line and began their rounds of the neighborhood garbage cans.

Someone in the Computer Home Automation group had built an electronic cat door that used a video camera and a PC to examine the silhouette of the animal trying to get into the "airlock" type double-doored entry. He posted the photos on his website of animals other than cats that had tried to enter. You could see the very unique nose of a raccoon trying to get in through the cat door. There were also birds, the snout of a vary large dog and some other oddities in the photo. I believe he abandoned that method and went to a magnetic collar because while it blocked raccoons and other animals, it allowed *any* cat into the house.
-- Bobby G.
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On Wed, 28 Mar 2012 14:20:53 -0400, Frank

This is a common problem. They look a lot like rats. Personally, I'd rather encounter and opossum than a rat.
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Ooops. My bad. Because of the subject line of this thread I thought it may be a discussion about the Black Panthers, Al Sharpton and other radical racists stirring up trouble in Florida before all of the facts are gathered. And they call us racist!
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On Wed, 28 Mar 2012 15:07:57 -0500, Gordon Shumway

I don't know much about the case, but I'd be willing to bet that if the kid was white he wouldn't have struck the neighborhood watch guy as being suspicious. Just a guess.
We do have a lot of racism in this country. If folks over-react sometimes, I understand why.
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<stuff snipped>

Me too. I've got a friend who's black and is a respected community physician. He's been stopped more than once just because he drives a very expensive Mercedes and some cops think he stole it. That's the kind of experience a lot of black people have, and that's why something like this case makes them mad. The influx of "spokesmen" is an attempt to insure that the whole matter isn't swept under the rug, which is unfortunately what some officials tend to do without ongoing protests. A variation on "the whole world is watching" phrase of a previous protest generation.
It's not really much different than when the lawyers I used to work for would "pack" a courtroom with the family and friends of a defendant to "let the judge know" that a lot of people have an interest in the outcome. While some people howl racism, it's a part of life like when BP hired PR firms to try to put as positive a spin on the oil leak as possible. From what I can gather from articles like the one cited, at least some people believe that they're already being targeted by trained policemen. Adding largely untrained "neighborhood watchmen" armed with lethal weapons to the mix will only make things worse. I've got to admit, if some buffoon came up to me to ask me what I was doing in his neighborhood I'd say "Nunya Bizness, it's a free country" and I would then become very, very wary about his intentions. Do you think Zimmerman would have been released that night if had he killed a rich, white kid? (-:
As you noted, a white kid probably wouldn't even have been considered suspicious. These sorts of events really worry black middle class parents who fear their kids are going to be targeted by both vigilantes and the police. NYC statistics show that black and Hispanics are stopped far more frequently than white kids under similar circumstances and there are a number of suits pending on the issue. Here's one guy's experience:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/18/opinion/sunday/young-black-and-frisked-by-the-nypd.html
<<One evening in August of 2006, I was celebrating my 18th birthday with my cousin and a friend. We were staying at my sister's house on 96th Street and Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan and decided to walk to a nearby place and get some burgers. It was closed so we sat on benches in the median strip that runs down the middle of Broadway. We were talking, watching the night go by, enjoying the evening when suddenly, and out of nowhere, squad cars surrounded us. A policeman yelled from the window, "Get on the ground!" I was stunned. And I was scared. Then I was on the ground - with a gun pointed at me. I couldn't see what was happening but I could feel a policeman's hand reach into my pocket and remove my wallet. Apparently he looked through and found the ID I kept there. "Happy Birthday," he said sarcastically. The officers questioned my cousin and friend, asked what they were doing in town, and then said goodnight and left us on the sidewalk. >>
I think it's an experience people really can't understand until it happens to them, like so many other things in life. As a reporter, I was once assigned to cover a huge protest at the nation's largest college for the deaf. I know what it's like to be in a situation where you're not "one of the crowd" and can't understand what people around you are saying (I don't sign). People view you very suspiciously for not being like them. Very, very spooky.
The irony here is that Zimmerman has most likely destroyed his own life or peaceful enjoyment thereof, for all practical purposes. He's been forced into hiding and there's no guarantee that he won't eventually stand trial for the shooting. Now he's a target of black vigilantes, too, the ultimate irony. Neither Zimmerman nor the New Black Panthers were right. There's a reason that as the nation matured, vigilantism became less and less tolerated. It leads to trouble like this.
Unlike so many others, I'm willing to wait to see what a formal investigation reveals. That's going to take some time. As a police reporter, I watched a number of cops go through serious psychological issues after they shot someone in the line of duty. That's why psych counseling after a LoD shooting is almost mandatory, now, for police in large departments. I believe Zimmerman may suffer psychologically, as well, since he's never going to be allowed to forget what happened.
The cops I've worked with tend to take a dim view of armed vigilantes for a number of reasons. In large metro areas, plain clothes and undercover cops often wear a "color of the day" piece of clothing to help keep their fellow officers from mistakenly shooting them (happens all the time). Anyone who thinks *those* guys want armed civilians working their precincts without knowing who the undercover cops may be isn't being realistic.
As for Florida, soon, we'll find out lots of details. Backgrounds of each, eyewitness reports, forensic reports, toxicology reports, etc. will be vetted by the proper authorities and not leaked. Once documents start leaking, you can assume that someone's got an interest in a particular outcome and that there's strong personal opinion at play. This is a case that touches several hot buttons.
On a semi-humorous note, why haven't any of our resident birthers charged that Zimmerman was a Democratic operative working directly for Obama who shot this kid to give the president a black issue to look tough on to sew up the black vote in November? I am sure someone's ginning up a forged copy of Zimmerman's cell phone bill, showing calls to an unlisted number in Washington, DC. We could call them the Zimmers. (-: The only question is how to work in a vampire or singing contest angle. . . Twilight Vigilante? American Vigilante Idol?
"I am my own police" Philip Raven (Alan Ladd) in "This Gun For Hire" 1942
-- Bobby G.
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