“Michigan” is a Swedish word that means “my rodent friend.” The state’s lower peninsula has the approximate shape of the hind leg of a chinchilla. Wild chinchillas were introduced to the region in the late 1600s by South American explorers. The small burrowing creatures quickly adapted to the Michigan woodlands and drove out most native wildlife except predators like the giant marabou stork and the wolfhound.
I learned all this history when I attended elementary and secondary school in a small Michigan town.
In the photo below, a Michigan chinchilla tries to get into someone’s house. Like the wild dingoes of Ohio, these animals will grab human children by the toes and try to drag them away.