A new breed of “super rats” immune to poison and too smart to get caught in traps has invaded Sydney.
Dirtier than cockroaches and more voracious than mice, rats are set to become the city’s most-hated pest this winter. Because rats have been baited ever since they arrived in Australia with the First Fleet in 1788, they have now become impervious to most commercially available poisons.
And it gets worse — they are also canny enough to steal food from traditional snap traps without getting caught.
Australian Museum naturalist Martin Robinson said, “A lot of suburban rats have been baited for as long as Sydney has been settled, so many populations have become immune to those baits. One of the interesting things is that when they become immune to the bait, they can actually become addicted to it.”
So, how to defeat a legion of super smart rodents buzzing on an overdose of rodenticides? Bacon and fuse wire.
Robinson said bacon rind and other strong-smelling food sources like anchovies were perfect to lure a rat to a trap, while tying the bait down with fuse wire ensured the rodents did not get away without springing the catch.
Two species of rat inhabit Sydney homes — the ground-dwelling sewer rat and the roof rat, which as the name suggests is a much better climber and tends to nest in roof cavities.
Read more: The Daily Telegraph
Rat problems in the UK ?, visit www.ratdetective.com
Keep it Clear campaign saw sewer blockages fall by more than 80% in Peterborough, and is now being rolled out to other towns
Anglian Water’s Keep it Clear campaign worked with community leaders to help change people’s behaviour. Photograph: Anglian Water
Our sewer system is under strain as many of us use sinks and toilets to get rid of all manner of unflushable items. Cooking oil ends up in our drains along with items such as cotton buds and baby wipes, leading to unpleasant greasy blockages that can cause sewers to overflow. The blockages are costing Anglian Water alone £7m a year.
The costs are not just financial but also environmental. When blocked sewers overflow into a river, it reduces the oxygen in the water and can affect wildlife. It also increases carbon emissions because of the additional energy required to treat the waste.
So great is the problem that Anglian Water Services has been looking at creative ways to engaging the public and businesses working in the food industry.
Through its Keep it Clear campaign, it carried out in-depth research as to why people acted the way they did, giving the company a wealth of information about how to tailor awareness campaigns to different audiences. The campaign also worked with community leaders to spread the word, and free sink strainers to stop food waste going the drain were also handed out.
The result was a real success. Following a seven-week trial in Peterborough blockages fell by more than 80%. The model is now being rolled out to other “hotspot” towns and cities in the region.
With Thanks Nicolette Fox who is part of the wordworks network