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Pliny and the ferrets

Pliny the Elder describes the problem that the Balearic islands have with rabbits:

'The rabbit is an extremely prolific animal which produces famine in the Balearic islands by destroying the harvests. It is a well-known fact that the inhabitants of the Balearic islands begged the late Emperor Augustus to send them soldiers to prevent the too rapid increase of these animals. The ferret is greatly esteemed for its skill in catching them. It is thrown into the burrows, with their numerous outlets, and as it drives them out they are seized.'

Quoted Juliet Clutton-Brock Domesticated Animals, page 145

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