The 20 residents of Canna once had 10,000 rats on their 5-mile-long island. Exterminators killed the last rat in 2006, but a new plague has descended upon Canna - the plague of bunnies. Night of the Lepus, anyone?
In 2005, an extermination team from New Zealand waged poisonous war against Canna's burgeoning brown rat population. The brown rats - which threatened sea bird colonies and the rare Canna mouse - were eradicated entirely in 2006, and the island has been dubbed rat-free since 2008. The cost of the extermination? £600,000. But nature finds a way - since then, the island's rabbits have been, uh, breeding like rabbits.
Canna's cottontail population has exploded to the thousands. Residents' gardens are rife with the fuzzy intruders, and Stone Age ruins are in danger of collapsing due to the rabbits' burrowing. According to lifelong Canna resident Winnie Mackinnon,
We don't want the rats back - but the rabbits have become a major problem. They are threatening our archaeology which goes back 8000 years here. An Iron Age mound is a particularly target for them. It is a scheduled monument but it is being burrowed into by the rabbits and being eroded.
Stone Age huts and dykes from the Clearances are having their foundations destroyed. They are in people's gardens - and being so far away from the mainland we rely a lot on growing our own vegetables.
The only thing that are happy are the sea eagles. They have been having a real feast but obviously nowhere near keeping up with the rabbit population.
Of course, the people of Canna have done their part to lower the bunny population (the island's only restaurant serves up rabbit dishes), but if schlock-horror cinema has taught us anything, it's just a matter of time before the rabbits feast on them.
Or as Buffy's Anya so rightly put it: