Human Journey

Hurricane Leaves Thousands of Dead Rats on Mississippi Beaches

Photo by Linda Mullins


Houses and buildings weren’t the only things hit hard by last month’s hurricane.  One of the Gulf Coast’s most notorious invasive species got slammed by Isaac. Almost 20,000 nutria, or copyu, were drowned and washed up on the Mississippi coast following the storm. These 20-pound rodents have wrecked ecological havoc along the coast for decades.

Crews were hard at work last week, removing the carcasses.  In Harrison County, workers removed approximately 16 tons of dead rodents.  According to one official, a number of spectators have come to the beach to see the rats, but most of them didn’t stay long — the decomposing animals can be smelled up to 3 miles away.

“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.

For all the latest science news, check out our twice-weekly news rundown, EarthCurrent.

Systems specialist at NG Library.

About the Blog

Researchers, conservationists, and others share stories, insights and ideas about Our Changing Planet, Wildlife & Wild Spaces, and The Human Journey. More than 50,000 comments have been added to 10,000 posts. Explore the list alongside to dive deeper into some of the most popular categories of the National Geographic Society’s conversation platform Voices.

Opinions are those of the blogger and/or the blogger’s organization, and not necessarily those of the National Geographic Society. Posters of blogs and comments are required to observe National Geographic’s community rules and other terms of service.

Voices director: David Braun (

Social Media