Mystery Rodent: Did a San Diego man spot a very rare rat? - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Mystery Rodent: Did a San Diego man spot a very rare rat?

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) – An animal known as the San Quintin Kangaroo rat and native to Baja California is back from the brink of extinction.

The last time anyone saw a San Quintin Kangaroo rat was more than 30 years ago.

In 1994, Mexican authorities declared the small mammal possibly extinct.

Recent reports from biologists say the rat is back.

Having seen the reports, Edward Griggs thought he saw one while camping in Anza Borrego.

The rats are a key species in arid areas across Western North America.

Their numbers began to dwindle with the introduction of intensive agriculture in the 1970’s, causing their habitat and food to disappear.

The Natural History Museum (The NAT) compared Griggs’ picture with museum specimens and photographs, but it turned out not to be a San Quintin Kangaroo rat.

Nevertheless, The NAT was excited that people are observing nature and learning more about the areas in which they live.

Observing has always been a key part of science. It can help scientists understand distribution patterns of plants and animals – sometimes leading to surprises.

An app called I-Naturalist can be used to upload photos into a database that is used by scientists. The app also gives users suggestions of what they may be viewing.

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