Monday, May 19, 2008

Killer Mice!

Gough Island mouse with remains of an albatross chick.
Image by Ross Wanless.

Be afraid. Be VERY afraid...of evolution.

Per today's UK Guardian:
Whalers who visited remote Gough Island in the South Atlantic 150 years ago described a prelapsarian world where millions of birds lived without predators and where a man could barely walk because he would trip over their nests. Today the British-owned island, described as the most important seabird colony in the world, still hosts 22 breeding bird species and is a world heritage site.

But Gough is the stage for one of nature's greatest horror shows. One of those whaling boats...carried a few house mice stowaways who jumped ship on Gough. Now there are 700,000 or more of them on the island, which is the size of Guernsey.

...the humble house mouse which landed on Gough has somehow evolved to two or even three times the size of ordinary British house mice, and...has adapted itself to become a carnivore, eating albatross, petrel and shearwater chicks alive in their nests. They are now believed to be the largest mice found anywhere in the world.

...the supersized mice attack at night either on their own or in groups, gnawing through the nests and into the baby birds' bodies.

Note to do-gooders:
Import mouse traps--NOT cats, foxes or hawks.

1 comment:

Katie Alender said...

Clearly, the only solution is to bomb the entire island!

I have a co-worker who wouldn't sleep for months if I forwarded her this link. Possibly years.