Hurricane Isaac sweeps tons of dead rats onto Mississippi beaches

Officials say it will take several days to clear the beach of thousands of dead rats.

Tens of thousands of rats killed by Hurricane Isaac have washed up onto the beaches of Mississippi and created a foul-smelling mess that officials say will take days to clean up.

When the hurricane lifted the tides, the water washed across the marshy areas in Louisiana where the semi-aquatic rats live and forced them to ride the waves into Mississippi until they succumbed to exhaustion and drowned, said David Yarborough, a supervisor for Hancock County on the Gulf Coast.

The tides then deposited their bodies on the Mississippi shoreline, he said.

As of Tuesday, about 16,000 of the rodents have been collected in Hancock County, where a hired contractor’s clean-up efforts are expected to continue for another week, officials said.

In nearby Harrison County, officials decided to carry out the work themselves. Using shovels and pitchforks, workers have removed 16 tons of the dead rats from beaches since Saturday and taken them to a local landfill.

“We have an event called ‘Cruisin’ The Coast’ the second week of October with 30,000 to 40,000 people on the beach, and we didn’t want to wait” to clean up, said Kim Savant, president of that county’s Board of Supervisors.

Although they’re smelly and disgusting, the dead rats pose no health risk to humans, said Brigid Elchos of the Mississippi Board of Animal Health.

Mississippi also dealt with dead rats after Hurricanes Katrina and Gustav, but officials said the current situation seems especially bad.

The beaches are closed to the public, but Yarborough said people have come anyway to see the littered beaches. The visitors usually don’t stay long, possibly because the odor is intense on the shore and discernible from up to three miles away, he said.

In addition to the rats, workers also found dead hogs, deer, coyotes, snakes and rabbits on the beaches.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Philadelphia principal has President Obama's ear

The West Philadelphia head is gathering ideas to present to the White House.

Local

Neighbors testify at Overbrook roommate slaying trial

Neighbors and roommates were called to testify Wednesday in the trial of Renaldo Robichaw, 56, charged with murder for the death of roommate Albert Smith, 48.

Local

Attorney at heart of alleged insurance fraud took…

A Center City personal injury lawyer took his own life last week, days before D.A. Seth Williams released an indictment putting the lawyer at the heart of an alleged insurance…

National

Hamas, Abbas's PLO announce reconciliation agreement

The Gaza-based Islamist group Hamas and President Mahmoud Abbas's Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) agreed on Wednesday to a unity pact.

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, April 23: 'Suburgatory,' 'Modern…

'Suburgatory' The men of "Suburgatory" go camping and Tessa mentors a social outcast in a Miss Chatswin contest, which brings her, once again, into conflict…

Movies

Latin culture highlighted at Filadelphia film fest

Get ready to have a “Bad Hair” day at the upcoming Filadelphia Latin American Film Festival. We mean that in the best possible way. The…

The Word

The best lines from Oprah's ex-stepmother's Daily Mail…

Oprah’s ex-stepmother, Barbara Winfrey, is out for revenge.

Books

A debut novel about fate, love and moving…

Pia Padukone talks about her debut novel, "Where Earth Meets Water."

NFL

NFL releases Eagles 2014 schedule

The Eagles have four primetime games, face the Cowboys on Thanksgiving and host the Seahawks in a dynamic, challenging and impressive schedule. Here's a look…

NHL

All signs suggest Steve Mason will start in…

Flyers head coach Craig Berube elected to put Steve Mason in net for the final minutes of Game 3.

NHL

Gary Bettman praises Philly prior to NHL draft

Gary Bettman will bring the NHL draft to Philadelphia this summer.

NHL

Flyers can’t solve Rangers shot blockers

The Rangers blocked a remarkable 28 Flyers' shots Tuesday night.

Style

Pippa Middleton's Etsy pick: Golden Thread Jewelry

Get a look at the jewelry Pippa Middleton loves and find out how you can buy it too.

Parenting

What every parent needs to know to get…

Mom and author of "Small Talk," Tracey Blake, shares her five practical tips to help you develop your children's language skills.

Sex

Subway crush: Meet your soulmate on your commute

Read about a couple who has been 40 years after meeting on the train.

Tech

Happy birthday, Game Boy! The handheld console turns…

Nintendo's Game Boy turns 25 this week. To commemorate, we look at some of its better games, like "Tetris" and "The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening."