Oh, rats — there go the snails

Introduced rodents crash a once-thriving population in Hawaii

By Susan Milius, 13:53 PM August 31, 2009

Rats keep getting into paradise. And when they discover a taste for escargot, it’s an infernal problem for native populations.

At a study site high in the mountains on the Hawaiian island of Molokai, tree snails of the species Partulina redfieldi thrived for 12 years and then declined catastrophically, says zoologist Michael G. Hadfield of the University of Hawaii at Manoa. The culprits were introduced rats that started scouring trees for snails, Hadfield and Jennifer Saufler, now at Univer...

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