Invasive Rodent in Florida Keys

FAIRFAX, Va. (June 9, 2014) – Since 2007, officials have been trying to eradicate the invasive Gambian giant rat on Grassy Key. The rats were most likely originally released on the island by a resident.

Like all invasive species, these rats have the potential to alter the ecosystem of Grassy Key as they don't have natural predators to limit their population. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is attempting to control the population by setting traps in the area throughout the summer.

This species of rat can grow to 35 inches long and weigh up to nine pounds. The Florida state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is hoping Grassy Key residents will help by reporting sightings on their property.