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Eldorado

Appalachia's wild rat is mysteriously disappearing

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Eldorado

On a foggy morning, high in the Allegheny Mountains of western Maryland, ecologist Dan Feller cradles a furry rat in his hands, poised to set it free. “Get your camera ready,” he says. “Though. it will probably come back and stare at us,” he adds with a shrug.

The brownish-gray animal quickly leaps upon a rock and disappears. Then, just as Feller predicted, it pops back up on an outcrop a few feet away, watching us calmly. This behavior is remarkable, considering Feller had humanely trapped the animal and tattooed its ear only minutes ago. 

The Allegheny woodrat, native to the Appalachian Mountains and parts of the Midwest, is not your average rodent. The species is innately curious and docile around people, a unique trait not found in most other mammals of the eastern U.S.

Full story at National Geographic

 

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