Oh Rats!


image courtesy of flickr by Julie Meynard

While I acknowledge many people see rats as great pets (my son had a pet rat when he was young – Rodney was very smart) rats and other rodents can be a problem in urban areas. Restaurant and residential dumpsters along with city parks and open spaces, provide ample dining and nesting opportunities for urban wildlife – rats, bunnies, raccoons and even the occasional coyote.

Urban wildlife should come as no surprise in any city. Their fear of humans has lessened over the years as development has encroached on their habitat. Cities and local health departments do their best to manage the health and sanitation issues and damage rodents can cause, but “it takes a village” to manage the problem. Along with restaurants and hotels, urban condominium communities need procedures for keeping garbage areas clean and emptied regularly and budget for a pest control plan. HOAs may need to implement restrictions for bird feeders (rats love bird seed and can climb an exterior wall to reach a feeder on an upper level deck) or feeding pets outdoors. Eliminating the the food source will go a long way in reducing the rodent problem. Outside your home, common sense/courtesy should prevail – in a park or other public area put litter in a trash container. That biodegradable apple core you toss on the ground because it will “go back to nature” will attract rodents of all sizes in a nano-second .

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