Invasion of the rats! Liverpool pest controllers called out nearly 6,000 times in just NINE months
City rat catchers were called out nearly 6,000 times in the first nine months of the year.
This rodent invasion has driven many families to despair – and experts warn the problem could get worse as rats learn to avoid traps.
Liverpool council’s pest control squad got 5,963 calls about rats between January and September – more than the 5,806 received during the whole of 2013 and the 5,478 seen throughout 2012.
Mum Katie Ward, of Asbridge Street, Toxteth, spotted six rats outside her home earlier this week.
She told the Sunday ECHO: “It’s disgusting. I’ve got a six-month-old baby so I don’t want rats anywhere near the house.
“I saw about six of them scurrying around in the street this week. A lot of children live round here so the rats are quite worrying.
“They run around looking for rubbish to eat.”
Animal expert Professor Jane Hurst, from the University of Liverpool, believes the rodents could become harder to kill because they are now more cautious of traps.
She said: “They have developed a successful suspicion of approaching new objects, like traps and bait stations, when they have already worked out where there are safe pathways and places to eat.
“It is important to minimise their access to food and shelter and to remove animals as quickly as possible when they move into new sites, before they can establish themselves and breed.
“Vigilance and intolerance are essential, but we also need to develop more effective ways to detect invading animals and remove them much more quickly.”
Rat sightings become more common in the autumn as shrubs and bushes lose their leaves.
A council spokesman said: “The council and the water authority take reports and sightings of rats very seriously. The figures represent both reported sightings and requests for service.
“The city council always responds positively to carry out treatments where it is identified that vermin is active. The council and the water authority also carry out spot-baiting around sewers in an attempt to manage the situation.
“It is this time of year that we see an increase in reporting of vermin, as shrubs and bushes start to die back for the winter period.
“The authority has also been monitoring an increasing level of construction work in areas of the city, which may have led to increased sightings.”
Story from the Liverpool Echo