Sorry Remy, even though we all love you and think you are super cute, your publicity for rats has not worked.
During my first year at university, a rat liked to enter the kitchen through the air vent by the window. This was student housing and definitely quite a shock, but my flat being on the ground floor, it wasn’t too much of a surprise. The animal did seem more scared of us than we were of it. Most of all it made me jump to find a rat in my kitchen! Later on, in a different flat, we had some nocturnal visits from a very intelligent mouse, it stole the cheese from its trap but was never trapped itself.
At night, it is not uncommon to see some rats running around. If you have ever taken a Bateau Mouches in the evening, then you’ll probably have seen and heard quite a few rats around the bins. But when you come across them during the day, then that means that they are taking over.
To keep the rats from continuing just that, the city of Paris is now on a major anti-rat mission.
I recall how we liked to observe small rats nibbling at trash bags in the Park Monceau (and how fully-grown fat ones made me shiver). That year the ducks in the pond had only very little offspring, it wasn’t until later that I realised why. The pond and its surroundings were cleaned in the following winter, almost all plants were cut down, the beautiful weeping-willow has only grown back to its former majestic state this year. But the ducks started to regain their own territory. I do believe that the rats were at fault and feasted on the ducks’ eggs. During the year with rats being highly visible there were 4 or 5 ducklings of which some were lunch for the grey heron, and once there were no more rats the number of ducklings rose steeply to about 20!
Last summer, rats were running around the playground, while children were having fun above them or a mere meter from them. The food waste in the garbage bags was just too appealing and the cookie crumbs beneath the slides were a treat like no other! I don’t think anyone wants their kids playing next to rats (unless it’s their pet rat of course).
Then there are some places where I can see huge rat holes on the ground, with the occasional rat showing itself to a passerby.
It makes one shutter.
So, even though I really enjoyed the film Ratatouille and think that Remy is a cute rat (who wouldn’t want a rat with a talent for cooking?), I am not a fan of rats being absolutely everywhere.
Now, going on walks I come across big signs, asking to pay attention to littering, indicating that food leftovers to the proliferation of rats and that the municipality is currently intervening against rats. Occasionally, I see black boxes, which are placed in public parks or in the locales used for the garbage bins in houses. And wheelie bins have replaced plastic bags in parks, as they are less accessible for rats. I recently read in the Guardian, that there are special bread collection bins in Holland, as a measure to keep people from accidentally feeding rats, when they really wanted to feed birds.
So, Remy, I am sorry. I truly am! Even though I would adopt you without too much hesitation, had a pet mouse in the past, I am happy that the city of Paris is doing something against rats… Thank you!
And I just hope that there isn’t a colony living above my head in the attic (nocturnal noises in the past had me worried).
Is there a rat problem in your area? Is anything being done about it?
Remember, if someone comes with a flute to lure rats out of town, then you must pay them correctly , especially if you don’t want to lose what is most precious to you.
© Solveig Werner 2017. All rights reserved.