The kind of “wildlife” that does need to be trapped and eliminated

Huge Gambian rats trapped in Florida Keys. The kind of animals that do need to be eliminated-

Given the huge controversy over trapping our native wildlife, there are many animals that need to be trapped, shot, fished out, etc.,  and it largely is not native wildlife.  Here is one example from one of the most stressed ecosystems in American — southern Florida and adjacent areas such as the Florida Keys. More huge Gambian rats found in the Keys.  By Ryan McCarthy. Miami Herald.

Florida is full of non-native animals, e.g., monkeys, huge snakes like Burmese Pythons, Giant African land snails,  Asian Swamp Eels, Asian Tiger Shrimp, Lionfish,  New Zealand Mudsnail, Northern Snakehead,  Round Goby, Quagga Mussels, Zebra Mussels. There are probably a hundred more.

There are many worse and more generalized problems. Perhaps the greatest is feral domestic cats which kill millions of birds, rare rodents, but do some good with mice and rats. They also spread toxiplasmosis, which infects millions of Americans and almost every species of mammals with only cats themselves not being harmed by the parasite.

Despite professed concern about dogs being killed by wolves, there are in fact perhaps a million feral dogs, living in misery, they do not attract the attention of reporters. The most recent Rolling Stone tells the sorry story of the 50,000 or so feral dogs of Detroit. Due to the magnitude of the feral cat and dog problem and the lack of resources, most will die very badly, and it is mercy when they are put down.

I was very pleased to see a recent You Tube video about rifle hunts of feral cattle and pigs in Hawaii.

Some native wildlife like raccoons also have to be trapped when they threaten rare animals in wildlife refuges.  There are people who go too far in their opposition to trapping,  and  at the same time it is ironic and frustrating that so many rare native animals like wolves, wolverine, lynx, and bobcats are trapped legally.

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Update: more on Gambian rats, including a photo. Gambian Pouch Rats Population Rises Again In Florida Keys. Huffington Post.


  1. Mike Avatar

    Bad, bad timing Ralph.

    1. Ralph Maughan Avatar
      Ralph Maughan


      Why is it bad timing?

    2. Rancher Bob Avatar
      Rancher Bob

      It’s perfect timing, Ralph establishes that trapping is a valid tool for animal control and since I hear no comments like all trapping is bad some of you must agree. That being said now each person has to find their comfort level with trapping. That comfort level is mostly based on how and where you were raised. Personally I’ve been around trapping my whole life, I see no point in trapping endangered species like wolverines. Yet I believe in harvest of renewable resources and some animals are very renewable.
      Also I believe that trapping school should be a part of a trapping licence, it would reduce a very large number of problems associated with trapping. Then I am a product of my environment and proud of that fact, just as you are a product of your environment.

  2. Jackie Avatar

    Seriously, get out of Boise and see the destruction the wolves cause. Tell the family outside of Jackson, WY that had 3 of their pets viciously killed by wolves that they don’t need trapped and hunted. Tell the elk, deer, moose and livestock that are literally eaten alive and having their young ripped from their bellies while still alive that something shouldn’t be done. Its professors like this that I hope and pray my kids will never have when they are in college!

    1. Jeff N. Avatar
      Jeff N.

      Based on your ignorant comment, something tells me your family gene pool will keep your kids far from any college.

    2. Paul Avatar

      Tell the three little pigs who had their house huffed and puffed and blown down!

    3. Ralph Maughan Avatar
      Ralph Maughan


      I don’t live in Boise. You don’t seem to know anything about me except that I am a retired professor.

      You hit on a subject that really truly irritates and angers me because you obviously know nothing about it and yet you try to tell me to get out of “Boise and see the destruction wolves cause” — the dogs “near Jackson.” For your information, they were not near Jackson. Your information is just newspaper knowledge.

      I don’t think you know a damn thing about the area. Blackrock, WY (near where the dogs really were) is not next to Jackson, WY.

      It sits at the base of the the second largest block of wilderness country in the lower 48 states — the SE Yellowstone, Teton/Washakie wilderness block. There is a campground right next to the ranger station. It has a big sign “this area frequented by grizzly bears.” That should tell you something.

      This block of continuous wilderness country has every large predator (except polar bears) in the United States. I have spent hundreds of days in it. I know it well. I wrote two guide books to it.

      The first wolves to come to Jackson Hole came in 2000 and denned near where these dogs were killed 12 years later. That was the Teton wolf pack and it grow to over 20 wolves before it went into decline.

      From what I have learned about these dogs was that they were killed five miles from any town, They also were hounds, which follow their noses to lions, bears, and wolves. They were more or less free roaming. The only surprise here is that a cougar, wolf, bear, or pack of coyotes didn’t kill them sooner.

      Now for the evil wolves, I’m almost certain you haven’t seen wolves ripping baby calves out of moose, deer or elk. You are just repeating what you have heard and getting all self-righteous about it.

      Have you ever seen a house cat eat a mouse alive or a dog do the same thing? Is this a sign of some ultimate evil? You don’t seem to understand that the nature of nature is that one thing eats another.

      As for being a professor, I worked hard to get my education. I don’t say much about it though, but if you lack education it is no sign of any superiority on your part, and it doesn’t give you some common man or women wisdom. Wake up to reality.

      1. Daniel Berg Avatar
        Daniel Berg

        Ralph, you should post a photo of a Gambian rat on this thread. You could almost saddle one of those things……

    4. Salle Avatar

      Seriously, why don’t you turn that Gameboy off, go take a step outside, see what’s shakin’ in the real world?

      If you had a clue about anything, you wouldn’t have such a jaded view of life on this planet.

    5. Dave Avatar

      Jackie, you seem surprised to learn that wolves are predators and that they kill their prey with their teeth. They attack live animals and kill them. They don’t eat alfalfa. Now you know.

    6. Savebears Avatar


      You are way out of line on this one!

    7. Ann Avatar

      Seriously, and honestly one would think everybody would already know this, but wildlife doesn’t have access to a grocery store and they have to kill with their teeth. And they risk their very lives to get their meals, with the risk of their prey inflicting fatal injury on them at any time. If you want to talk about horror, let us talk about what the species of man perpetrates upon wildlife….much of it from a hideously safe distance, and with absolutely nothing at risk. But sometimes, and all too often, man perpetrates his horrors right up close and personal. And, interestingly, that never bothers those of your mindset at all.

    8. JEFF E Avatar
      JEFF E

      Can you name how many predators DO NOT eat or start to eat their prey while it is still breathing?
      Think hard before you bust out another emotionally intoxicated rant and further remove all doubt.

  3. cindy Avatar

    Jackie – time for you to move on to a different blog. Those of us that spend time here have a respect for Ralph and your personal attacks are unwarranted. And, many of us support having wolves on our landscape. I won’t take this any further.

    1. Salle Avatar

      Yikes. I hope they don’t get far from where they are now.

      Something worthwhile and worthy of WS… they should focus on invasive species instead of what they do to native wildlife in this neck of the woods.

  4. Nancy Avatar

    Never hear of this latest “pet” craze. If you google Gambian rats, there are a few sites out there offering them for sale even though they’ve become a huge problem when the “cuteness” wears off and they are turned loose to fend for themselves, where the climate is similar to their native habitat (like so many other exotic species, finding their way to our shores via cuteness, gotta have those pets 🙂 who end up being very destructive to native wildlife and their habitat.

  5. mikarooni Avatar

    So, would a Gambian Rat possibly be related to a Butch Otter?

    1. Nancy Avatar

      🙂 🙂 🙂

  6. Alan Gregory Avatar

    One of the first things I saw upon reaching my new duty assignment at Robins Air Force Base, Ga., in early 1980 was an infestation — on the base — of the notorious invasive species we know as kudzu. Florida is a hotbed for invasives, that include boas.

  7. crisw Avatar

    One thing the Gambian rats are useful for- they are being trained to detect land mines in Africa. They are a lot cheaper than dogs!

    1. Nancy Avatar

      Very good read crisw! Thanks for posting it.

      Who’d of thought these pint size rodents were capable of being labeled “cleaners” in such a positive way in mankind’s VERY negative approach to solving differences within our own species.

      War! Huh Good God y’all
      What is it good for?
      Stand up and shout it.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan