This kind of monkey is cuteThere are reportedly 20 cases of monkeypox, a smallpox like virus though less deadly and infectious, found in the Midwest. The Times reports that "several patients in the American outbreak work for veterinarians or pet stores that sold prairie dogs and Gambian rats." Pet prairie dogs, okay, Gothamist knows what those are, though we're iffy on the idea of having them as pets. But Gambian rats? The article says these rats "grow to the size of small cats, eat pet food as well as fruits, vegetables and cooked meats." Rats the size of small cats. Gothamist thinks Gambian rats are a bad idea or they are in severe need of some rebranding - the "rat" in the name isn't doing anything for them.

The CDC says that prairie dogs are spreading monkeypox, so avoid "prairie dogs and Gambian rats that have missing patches of fur, rashes or discharges from their eyes or nose, all signs of the illness."

Gothamist on Monkeypox and West Nile, Gambian Rats, and how prairie dogs might be cute.