Ratastic News week, November 11th, 2019 “Good Smelling Sexy Commuter Rats” Edition

We were trying to create a Halloween edition, but  all we could find were fun stories rather than scary ones (well, other than the rat this week who scared commuters on a SEPTA commuter train),  and we also found that New York City is trying again in its creative quest to control rats in the city, in a way we all can appreciate, because we all want to smell good!  So here we go with another edition of the Ratastic Newsflash!

 

Last week’s quiz question:  What is the smallest rodent in the world?

Answer: The Baluchistan Pygmy Jerboa is the world’s smallest species of rodent with a weight less than an ounce at around .1320 oz, a body length 1.7 inches and tail length of up to 3 inches.

 

This week’s quiz question: What are the oldest rodent fossils discovered so far?

 

To Move, or Not to Move? Philadephia Resident Has Had Enough As Neighborhood is Overtaken By Rats

A Philadelphia resident is deciding whether or not to move as his neighborhood battles an ongoing rat infestation in his Ridley Township area.   CBS Philadelphia describes the ongoing issue, describing lots of people screaming and digging through trash (that’s the rats).   “Bannon’s next-door neighbor found two rats in her trash can as they ate right through it. “So I screamed, she screamed, my wife screamed, ‘What’s going on?’ But the other one was in a trash can so we have helped her get that one out.

She captured them in a snap trap,” Bannon said. The rats have been seen scurrying in backyards and darting under cars looking for anything to sink their teeth into.”   Of course, the city is advising people to put trash in secure trash cans and removing sources of food and water.  Code Enforcement put out lots of traps, but the problem has become so big an exterminator has been called in.  Residents are being encouraged to fill out a form so that the exterminator can work on their homes.

Exclusion would have significant positive impact, review article  about Rodent proofing for the autumn season. "It's Coming on Fall! Time for Rodent Proofing Your Home and Business."    

 

 

Rat On Philadelphia Commuter Train Causes Panic and Chaos!

Philadelphia, like most major cities, has been battling an ongoing rat issue for the last couple of years.   Where there are people, there are rats, the wisdom goes, and like New York City, rats have been quite the characters, appearing in various parts of the city.  This week, a rat decided to take the commuter train, and it is difficult to decide who was more frightened by the experience—the people on the train, or the rat!   The rat hopped on the Market-Frankford line at Tioga, and predictably, chaos ensued.  People

hopped on seats. There was screaming galore!   The rat in turn, maniacally scrambled around the SEPTA train no doubt trying to get away from the chaotic atmosphere. The Philly Voice reports that a guy even tried to “shoo” the rat (that never works, really, does it?)    A video was taken of the rat’s adventure, which ended when the train operator stopped the train announcing a “rodent problem,” and that is precisely when the rat made its second move to escape to no avail.  “This isn't the first rodent to reach fame from the Market-Frankford Line. In January, we were introduced to Pretzel Rat, a rodent that found two (!) pretzels on the train tracks at 13th

Street Station. Pretzel Rat was very chill and happy due to his food find — unlike this commuter rat who can't seem to escape the train no matter what it does.”     Futility is a very human experience, and something we can all relate to.   Even Shakespeare wrote about futility—explaining life to be “sound and fury, signifying nothing.”     It’s not clear if the rat finally made it off the train, but we’d like to think so.    Something in us cheers for the underdog—or the underrat---and it gives us hope that we too, can buck the odds.   Good luck, Philly Commuter Rat!

 

New York City Tries Creative Cologne Solution to Solve its Rat Problem

New York City is anything but uncreative when it comes to battling its rat problem.   They’re using education to help residents eradicate rats with their Rat Academy, they’ve replaced trash cans with rat-proof ones, and they’ve even tried controversial traps that drown rats in booze.  That got the attention of animal rights groups, people who have pet rats, and the rest of us—some of whom thought the whole thing was just funny.  Now, they’re trying rat cologne.  Yes, you heard that right!  The New York Post reports that researchers at Fordham University have been

working on a rat cologne solution that is meant to use rat pheromones to discourage rats from coming to certain areas of the city.  “Researchers at Fordham University studying a colony of rats at a Brooklyn recycling center found rodents flock to areas rich in female-rat pheromones but ignore areas where the scent of male rats predominate. The rodents visited the female-scented area an average of five times per day, compared to less than one daily visit to areas exuding male pheromones, according to excerpts from the study published in the Journal of Urban Ecology.”   Then a secondary problem emerged—the pheromones attracted cats, but the cats kind of fell down on the job of killing rats—only killing two rats in a five month period.   So the solution looks good—spray male rat pheromones, no more rats coming in, and attract lots of cats who don’t kill the rats.   Kind of a situation where you have six in one hand and half a dozen in the other!   Do you want cats or rats?    It certainly sounds promising, the idea we could spray for rats like we do for mosquitoes.   Further research is needed, and we’ll see how it all pans out!  

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