Environment: The Super-Rats Are Coming

Wherever and whenever man moves, he takes with him an enemy—the rat. Sly, hardy and resilient, it rode with Marco Polo and voyaged with Magellan, Cabot and countless captains of tramp steamers. And like any ocean-bored traveler, the first thing a rat did was to get off the moment the ship docked.

To fight the rodents, the ancients used cats. Modern societies have tried potent poisons like strychnine and zinc phosphide. Trouble is, they not only kill rats but friendly animals and unwary human beings as well. In 1947, a better weapon appeared: an...

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