Night of the Radioactive Lepus

Authorities in Richland Washington are hot on the tail of a potentially deadly infestation of that could cause a serious health risk if the matter is not isolated and controlled.  Armed with small game rifles, the staff is on the search for none other than radioactive rabbits and mice.  The creatures became contaminated with radioactive materials and the city is on the lookout for creatures that seem like a plot device from 1979’s Night of the Lepus, but the truth is even stranger than fiction in this hare raising story.

After discovering radioactive rabbit droppings in the area, the worst fears of local scientists had been realized.  The creatures had somehow taken the radioactive material from building 237 at Hanford.  The building had been originally used to process radioactive materials and if they found themselves into the animal population some type of leak may have been present.  As a result, the creatures are now thought to be on the loose.

While the discovery of contaminated mouse and rabbit droppings are not unheard of around decommissioned sites that once created radioactive waste, they are handled with the utmost care to prevent a small scale problem affecting one or two rabbits from entering a larger population.

But take heart, before the idea of radioactive rabbits breeding like – well, rabbits – causes you to lose any sleep.  The radiation present in the animals, while itself fairly dangerous to it and others around it, is not necessarily contagious.  You cannot “catch” poisoning from radiation and thereby spread it to others.  The effects from the disaster would more likely have an impact on animals entering the site, drinking water, and eating food discovered there.  As a result, any creatures present will likely succumb to the radiation shortly after entering the area.  Any offspring would likely suffer from an increase in genetic mutations, possibly being rendered sterile themselves, but would not then increase the net amount of radioactive material present.  What could be a potential danger is the spread of these animals to drinking water upstream from humans.  If the radioactive material present in the creatures were sufficient, these creatures could spread a mild amount of contamination that was still potentially hazardous for several miles if they were to die in a stream for example.

As a result, health officials are taking the matter very seriously.  The site has been isolated with a chain link fence around the perimeter and guards are looking for intruders not only of the human kind, but the four legged kind as well.  Of course if rabbits and mice are requiring so much action to contain, we can only hope no birds manage to enter the affected area.  Additional precautions are being made to ensure nothing at the location will attract future visitors.  Contaminated areas are being covered by metal plates, and others are to be covered by gravel to ensure this story doesn’t take a turn for the more dangerous.  Meanwhile the elusive radioactive mice are looking on, yet to be captured.