TUPELO, Miss. — 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, Reuters reports.
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.
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Update Sept. 11: Bob Kunst, president of Fischer Environmental Services, Mandeville, La., wrote to PCT to share his account.
Accoridng to local news outlets, many other creatures have washed up on shore. The north shore of the greater New Orleans metro area was hit with 1,200 dead nutria (large rodents, up to 40 pounds, with orange teeth), hundreds of dead rats, three dead alligators, hundreds of dead snakes and many live ones -- some of which are poisonous.