Sunday, September 11, 2005

Reverse Star

The story, just a rumor, really, but reliable, goes like this: their dog got sick, so they took him to the veterinarian. The doctor found that the poor canine had been bitten, probably by a roof rat, because these have recently been seen around the apartment complex in which the family lives.

Because the dog was so sick, and also because the infectious disease that was causing the dog to suffer can be spread perhaps too easily from animals to humans, they destroyed the pet. It had bubonic plague.

In light of the recent storms, those of you who think of yourselves as optimistic glass-half-full types may consider investing in companies that make things like these. Though there was a mandatory evacuation of the drowned city under Lake George, it was after all only an evacuation of (warning: links to a News Corporation site) people. Pets were left behind, unraptured. So were the rats. That cannot be good. It can be assumed that a large percentage of their population died during the hurricane and the floods that came afterwards, but their reproductive rate would appear to make that a moot point.

Rats have litters of 6 to 12 young, which are born 21 to 23 days after mating. Young rats are sexually mature in about 3 months. Breeding occurs mostly in spring and fall. The average female has 4 to 6 litters per year. Individuals usually live 12 to 18 months.

Do the math. On second thought, do not. It might just spoil your beautiful mind.

It must be assumed that any part of a building above the level of the waters could now have these new occupants. But we can surely sleep peacefully tonight knowing in our hearts that the Federal Emergency Management Agency, blessed with our tax dollars, has truckloads of pest control experts poised to eradicate this problem, before it even becomes one.

That is, after all, what FEMA is for, isn't it?

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