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Hey! Grower! Leave Those Rats Alone 


I've read repeatedly about the use of rodenticides on marijuana grows (most recently Ryan Burns' "Weirder and Weirder," Aug. 22) and the effects to the forest food web by the poisoning of prey species that ultimately impact top predators (e.g. spotted owls and Pacific fishers). In addition to chemical applications, other methods are used by growers to rid grows of native wood rats and other mammals that can clip, chew on or otherwise affect growing plants. Snap traps, both rat and mouse traps, are widely used at grows and has a similar effect of driving down local prey populations. This lack of available prey is a tremendous problem for top predators, who must increase their range, sometimes overlapping with neighboring competitors, to locate prey. Imagine if suddenly all the grocery stores and restaurants in Humboldt County disappeared (non-farmer, raise-your-own-food people excluded). Would you want to go one-on-one with our neighbors in Del Norte or Mendocino counties in order to find food? (No offense to folks in either county.)

If you see someone checking out of the hardware store with more than 200 Victor® rat traps, it is unlikely they are headed to Old Town to rid the waterfront of the rat population. Giving this person a ration of stink-eye is warranted.

The sum total of all of these actions related to growing marijuana is further environmental degradation. If you are going to grow weed, then please do so responsibly and without impacting native wildlife.

MJ Mazurek, Tamuning, Guam (formerly Arcata)

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