Coronavirus: why the pandemic is changing the behavior of rats (and is more likely to see it)

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Experts believe that rats are

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AFP

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Experts believe that the rats are “master of adaptation”.

The restaurants have been closed and that the humans remain in their homes produces several effects, among them the change of the eating habits and behavior of the rats.

Just in February, the famous French Quarter of New Orleans received thousands of visitors who walked through its streets overwhelmed by the music coming from the jazz clubs, bars and restaurants.

However, just weeks later, almost all the places of entertainment of the historic tourist site of the state of Louisiana, in the united States, had to close its doors by the coronavirus.

And the rats, literally, came out of their hiding places…

This sudden appearance of rodents in the streets of New Orleans and the rest of the planet is not surprising to the well-known rodentólogo american Robert Corrigan.

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The iconic restaurants and clubs of New Orleans closed their doors by the pandemic.

“When you have a colony of rats that has been depending on tourists who spread waste and restaurants that throw out a lot of junk at night, you can be in Washington DC, New York or any other place, and that disappears, then the rodents don’t know what to do “, explains the expert.

For its part, Claudia Riegel, the part of the board of pest control in New Orleans, summarizes the recent phenomenon this way: “Those rats are hungry”.

The effect of the isolation

At least one-third of the human beings altered their habitual behaviors due to the threat of the disease covid-19.

In several countries, the quarantines that are carried out mean that the garbage that depended on the rats is no longer available at all, and this forces the rodents to adapt also.

Robert Corrigan, who has an office in Lower Manhattan, in the heart of New York, indicates that you have received messages from friends all over the city that have seen rats in new places and in odd hours to these animals, which leave their hiding places almost always at night.

Although there are also places where there have been no changes since the colonies of rodents still can be fed from the domestic garbage, that there is still a lot, and do not need the generated by restaurants and resorts.

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Having less garbage the rats are hungry.

From United Kingdom, the National Association of Technicians of Pest warned in early April that “the closure of schools, pubs, restaurants, hotels, tourist attractions and other public places to enforce the social distancing will have unintended consequences“.

If there is food available, the pests could multiply in empty buildings or going out to look for food, emboldened by the need, noted by the british institution.

“Master of adaptation”

Rats hungry “may wander quite a bit, and end up in a neighborhood that is completely different than not had rats before,” says Corrigan to the BBC.

The expert points out that these rodents are “mammals formidable”, very good to detect food sources and that their powerful teeth can be made that barriers such as doors, plastics or networks do not serve as much.

“They are everywhere, and would not be completely global if they were not very skillful in order to master the adaptation“, indicates.

Although you see more rats does not mean that the cities will be invaded.

In fact, Corrigan says that now is the perfect time to introduce the new techniques of control.

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See more rats at times and places which before did not appear.

Meanwhile, in New Orleans, it was announced that they are adopting additional measures to control the massive population of rats in the city.

The assumption is that the rodents with the “empty stomach” will be more likely to take food put in traps.

The rodentólogo also warns that without food, the rats “turn against themselves”.

The cannibalism is very dominant in colonies stressed, adds the expert.

Why rats are unwanted guests?

A group of rats wandering and hungry can cause havoc, from damage to homes up to the spread of disease.

May end up inside the house, a room with children or in a nursing home or hospital“alert Corrigan.

The rats are officially related to 55 different pathogens, although there have been no reports of rats carrying covid-19.

Also can gnaw through wood and electrical wiring, which poses a danger to the home fires.

How to keep rats out of homes

One way to keep rats is to seal cracks and holes near the foundation. Also pipes or any other space where rodents can enter.

Indoors, make sure that you have few places where they can hide and keep the areas tidy.

It is important to keep the food in rodent-proof containers.

And if you find them inside your home, Corrigan recommends that you call a professional.

“If you see rats suddenly in his property as a result of this pandemic coronavirus, get rid of them is not a job you can do by yourself”.

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