UK: Expert issues warning over rising number of rats in cities
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According to reports, pest control firms are dealing with a record number of rat infestations due to the frequently changing weather. Warmer temperatures have led to a surge in breeding while flooding burrows have forced the rodents into homes up and down the country.
Milder weather allows more rodents to live and long hot summers create perfect conditions for young mice and rats to leave the nest and breed rapidly.
In autumn and winter, rain and a drop in temperature cause rats and mice to migrate indoors where there is more food and shelter.
With rain falling, rats are usually displaced from their burrows and enter indoors.
Signs of a rodent problem include an unusual, ammonia-like smell, small dark droppings, greasy marks on walls or skirting boards and gnaw marks.
Hearing scratching noises, especially at night, is also a sign of rats and mice, and their nocturnal nature means they can remain hidden for a long time before you begin to suspect they’ve invaded your home.
Over recent weeks, there has been a surge of rats spotted in the streets due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Last week, shoppers were left horrified and disgusted after a plague of rats scurried across a path near a local Iceland in Wolverhampton.
Jemma Orme, 43, who was shopping with her son, filmed the rats but said it did not show how many rats there were.
She said: “I’ve seen rats before in Bilston, but not that many!
“The video clip does not show all of them.”
Wolverhampton City Council said the rats were enticed by people throwing food on the floor to feed the birds.
During the coronavirus pandemic, the number of rats has soared in suburban areas due to the closure of pubs and restaurants.
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At the end of July, London was warned to brace itself for a rat invasion after a woman was attacked by more than 100 rodents in a park.
The shocking incident reportedly happened on July 19, when Susan Treftub was walking through Blondin Park in Ealing.
Ms Treftub claimed the animals swarmed towards her before lunging at her – although thankfully she escaped unscathed.
Last month, It was reported rats the “size of cats” had been tormenting a street in north Belfast due to an overgrown alleyway.
Back in February, the Belfast Telegraph reported the rat population in the city jumped 25 percent in just 12 months.
When asked about the unusual story, Paul Blackhurt, head of technical academy at Rentokil Pest Control said the health risks associated with rats should not be underestimated.
He told Express.co.uk: “It is worth noting that a rat is a wild animal and if threatened by being grabbed or trodden on it may react by biting in a way to defend itself.
“Rodents play a role in the transmission of many disease-causing pathogens to humans.
“One of the biggest threats is that rats carry Leptospires, which can cause Weil’s disease in humans if they are bitten or come into contact with rodent urine.”
The bacterial disease can cause two to four mild to severe flu-like symptoms, including headaches, chills, vomiting, diarrhoea and skin rashes.
The risk of contracting Weil’s disease is quite low, although exacerbated in wetter environments, Mr Blackhurt said.
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