Let me set the scene for you.

There you are, Joe America or Jane Patriot, minding your business on one of the last weekends of summer. Walking along through one of America’s Majestic National Parks,™ you see an adorable animal and think, “I will take this home and keep it as a pet.”

STOP. While it is totally appropriate to take things from National Parks (motto: “This all belongs to the American taxpayer, so help yourself, including to coal.”), You should think twice about taking any of the following animals away with you, because climate change has ruined them.


A mouse. (Photo by C G-K.)

We told you last week that mice in Yosemite are trying to kill you. That is true. After the massive drought in 2002 wiped out their habitat in New Mexico, deer mice moved north, causing an unprecedented outbreak of hantavirus. To date, three people who stayed in cabins at Yosemite National Park (motto: “Do not stay in our cabins.”) have died.

Scientific American has a FAQ about the virus, in case you didn’t learn enough about the illness from the X-Files movie. The virus is not contagious from human-to-human, happily, but it may be present in nearly every state. As SciAm notes:

It clearly can pop up in other regions of the U.S. There have been cases in the Great Smoky Mountains and in the Sierra Nevadas. The mouse favors higher elevations. And the deer mouse prefers cool, moist forests. …