Rampaging prairie dogs invade tiny Nebraskan town–is South Dakota next to fall?

Now, you might think I made up that headline, or stole it from The Onion.

No.

This isn’t a cheeky story written as clickbait by an overworked intern with $149,291 in student loans to pay off and zero job prospects BECAUSE OF THE FRIGGING APOCALYPSE, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

We’re talking about a real story, printed in all sorts of Papers of News, because the almighty Associated Press wrote it. Here’s the link: ‘They’re out of control’: Prairie dogs threatening western Nebraska towns, officials say

It’s crazy short, so here’s the text:

Officials in Nebraska’s Panhandle are asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture for help and are exploring other options to control what they say is an encroaching prairie dog problem in the region.

The Cheyenne County Board commissioners said Monday during a meeting that the animals are threatening to overrun the towns of Lodgepole, Sidney and Potter if more is not done to control their numbers, the Scottsbluff Star-Herald reported.

Commissioner Philip Sanders said the animals caused nearly $3,000 in damage last year to 2,600 acres in the county. The animals, he said, are already inside Lodgepole, a village of about 300 people.

“I’m willing to take any help that we can get at this point, because I feel like we’ve let Lodgepole down,” Sanders said. “We’re going to let other communities down. We can’t do this any longer. … I don’t want to eradicate (prairie dogs). God put them here for a reason. I get it, but they’re out of control.”

There is only one USDA wildlife specialist to help control animal populations — including coyotes, porcupines and raccoons. The county wants the USDA to hire additional staff, but the agency says there’s no money for it. Now, the county is looking at private-sector help and even volunteers from the community to help control the prairie dog population.

Prairie dogs are native to Nebraska and live in colonies that create vast underground tunnels. They are considered important to the region’s ecological balance, but many people view them as pests that destroy valuable grassland and pose a danger to cattle that can step in prairie dog holes and break legs.

Oh, this is beautiful. It’s the setup for a horror movie: (1) a tiny town of 300 people that’s ten miles west of nowhere; (2) rampaging animals that have tunneled inside and could be anywhere; and (3) a single government agent standing between them and total mayhem.

And it’s not like that one wildlife specialist can suit up, grab every weapon left in the sheriff’s gun cabinet, and crawl through the tunnel to the villain’s lair for the climax of Act 3, because these tunnels are itty bitty. Maaaybe you could win the day if you march Papa Smurf in there, though I suspect the prairie dogs would eat him up in about two bites, and no director would be willing to go double mumbo jumbo by combining Evil Prairie Dogs with Papa Smurf Shows Up in a Live Action Movie.

No. You need to time travel back to 1984 and find this man, the hero we need and deserve, the man who knows how to deal with the prairie dog menace.

More weird news stories for your amusement:

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Top 10 creepy sea creatures — and why creatures are a staple of our weird news diet

The Exploding Whale and the explosion of weird news

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Real animal that should NOT exist: the blue dragon mollusk

 

 

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