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Author Topic: Do Sqrats Exist?
Askia K. Hale
The Red and the Green Stamps


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As the good Urban Legends go, I am not making this up.

With the New York City rat population officially tallied at 70 million, there's a persistent rumor being spread by my Harlem relatives that the rats are surreptitiously crossbreeding with local squirrels in Central Park to produce a new species of tree-climbing, sewer-dwelling superrodents called "sqrats".

I thought it was unlikely until a more zoologically-minded relative of mine reminded me that tigers and lions can crossbreed (producing "ligers" or "tigons") -- and supposedly sterile mules have also been known to give birth to their own offspring. Why not squirrels and rats?

So: can squirrels and rats mate and have viable offsrping?

Has anyone here seen a sqrat?


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Lex
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Hmmmmm, I believe the "Sqrat" is a distant relative of the Snipe. They're extremely rare, but it is possible to find them. There is some information on them here , or here , seriously.

L "it must be real if it's trademarked!" ex

[This message has been edited by Lex (edited 07-18-2000).]


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Missy
Miso Horny


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I don't know about the Sqrat, but my mom was conned when she was kid into going snipe hunting!! LOL!! She was in the woods for hours!! She was sooo ticked when she realized she had to walk home by herself!! BOY!! Was she surprised to later find out that there was actually a bird called a snipe.
http://encarta.msn.com/index/conciseindex/4A/04AA1000.htm?z=1&pg=2&br=1


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Richard W
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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So somebody has to ask, what's a snipe when it's not a bird? Snipe hunting used to be a perfectly reasonable thing to do over here...
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Kate
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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quote:
Originally posted by Richard W:
what's a snipe when it's not a bird?

So glad you asked!

Kate "do snipers shoot snipe?" S.


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pinqy
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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In the US, we don't have snipe. Therefore we send novice hunters and greenhorns out to find them.

no, there are no "sqrats," but I do hear that there's a current jackalope problem in West Texas.

pinqy


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edfoo
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Aha! Evidence of said Jackalope:
http://www.mich.com/~rrreibel/jackcon.htm

"Save the Pine Weasle!

Ed Foo


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birdman
We Three Blings


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Why not call them rratels? And why would they be superrodents? If you combined the brains of a squirrel and a rat, you'd still be miles away from a tadpole. I also noticed that www.sqrats.com is already being squatted by register.com.

-birdman


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Kathy B
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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Ok, class, today’s lecture is on scientific nomenclature and the potential for cross-breeding among species.

No, squirrels & rats can't mate; they are just not closely related enough. Scientific names of plants & animals are an easy way to make a guess if two species might be able to successfully mate, since scientific names are based on how closely things are related. A scientific name is a two parter: Canis familiaris. The first word is the "genus" (plural is "genera") the second is the "species" (plural is --um-- "species"). It is very unusual that two animals that are not in the same genus can mate. Lions are Panthera leo; tigers are Panthera tigris, so it looks like maybe they could mate successfully--and they can, producing "ligers". Similarly, horses are Equus caballus and donkeys, Equus asinus.

Closely-related genera are gathered together in groups called families. Scientific family names all end in "-dae" so cats, for instance, are in the family Felidae. It’s sometimes possible for species in the same family to be able to mate—or for reproduction to occur successfully with artificial insemination. For example. I found one reference of a successful crossbreeding of an African and an Asian elephant, which are in different genera, but the same family, The calf did not survive. Crosses between members of different families aren’t gonna happen in the wild.

All this is a preface to rats and squirrels. Both are in the order Rodentia (orders consist of groups of related families), but that’s as close as it gets. Rats are in the genus Rattus, family Muridae; NY tree squirrels are in the genus Sciurius, family Sciuridae. Squirrels aren’t going to mate with rats any more than they are going to mate with elephants. Heck, even if they could biologically, squirrels are most active during the day & rats most active during the night—when are they going to get together?

If you cross a lionand tiger
You will get what’s called a "liger."
But I doubt your cat and parrot
Can produce for you a carrot.


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Lackwit
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by Askia K. Hale:

I thought it was unlikely until a more zoologically-minded relative of mine reminded me that tigers and lions can crossbreed (producing "ligers" or "tigons") -- and supposedly sterile mules have also been known to give birth to their own offspring. Why not squirrels and rats?

Aside from what Kathy B pointed out, it should be noted that these crosses were conducted among animals in captivity, and in normal conditions in the wild, animals usually don't interbreed with different species. And by the way, only in rare cases can a mule produce offspring, and then only in a mating cross between the parent generation and filial generation.


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jareth
The Red and the Green Stamps


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I was always under the impression that if two animals could mate and produce fertile offspring, that they were then technically considered part of the same species. In effect, that this ability is the definition of species distinctions.

------------------
"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect had intended for us to forego their use."
--Galileo


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Bonnie
The Red and the Green Stamps


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You can't beat CNN's Jeanne Moos when it comes to investigating sqrats. Look for the video link to her story,

http://www.cnn.com/2000/US/02/29/fringe/sqrats/index.html


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Missy
Miso Horny


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I got a better one, a friend of ours told us that he heard of a dog/cat hybred!! LOL! While he was over here, I called him on it and told him to go into our office get on the net and find it. Needless to say he came up with Nada! Anyone else here of this?
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Paddy
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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quote:
Originally posted by Missy:
I got a better one, a friend of ours told us that he heard of a dog/cat hybred!!


Yeah, it's got a show on Nicklodeon. Problem is that it's got a head on both ends of its body. I wonder how it poops?

paddy "stuck in the middle with you" malone


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Mina
The Red and the Green Stamps


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You know, this reminds me of a creature talked about a few years ago that I never paid much attention to...the Chupa Cabra, or Goat Sucker. Apparently this thing was killing sheep and goats in Mexico. I'm sure it isn't true, but I never heard any formal ruling on it. Does anyone know whatever happened to this story?
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Chava
The Red and the Green Stamps


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http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/mchupacabra.html

Chava


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Missy
Miso Horny


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Wasn't this legend also on an episode of the X-Files? I can't remember the exact show, but I do remember the name.
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birdman
We Three Blings


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quote:
Originally posted by Missy:
Wasn't this legend also on an episode of the X-Files? I can't remember the exact show, but I do remember the name.

Yes it was.

bird "just call me Mr. Useless Information" man


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barticle
The Red and the Green Stamps


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Chupacabra is alive & well:
http://www.sightings.com/general2/chupacao.htm

No doubt a genetically modified giant squirrel-rat.

\\\\\\\\\barticle (Come to GET you!!!!!)


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