Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Rats of Monte Cristo: Famous Island to Be Bombed with Rat Poison

Instead of hidden treasure, adventure seekers headed toward a famously mysterious Italian island will probably find a phalanx of dead rats!

The tiny island of Monte Cristo, the inspiration for the famous, swash-buckling Alexandre Dumas novel The Count of Monte Cristo, has become infested with hundreds of thousands of rats over the centuries. The rascally rodents initially arrived to the island as stowaways on pirate ships and later on cruise ships taking adventurers to sight-see on the craggy, desolate island.

Italian authorities plan to drop more than 26 tons of poison on the 4-square-mile island in hopes of getting rid of the pests. The island receives thousands of visitors and tourists each year, many captivated by the classic Dumas novel, which has been made into countless movie and television versions over the years. Dumas set his 1844 novel on the island because of the persistent myths and legends that it contains buried treasure.

Conservationists and environmentalists, however, fear the poison may end up in the sea between Tuscany and Corsica, killing other animals and marine life.

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