Printer Friendly

RAT ATTACK; Scotland facing vermin plague within two years.

Byline: By John Ferguson

SCOTLAND could become infested with rats and mice within two years, experts warned yesterday.

Rodents are breeding out of control, according to an alarming new report.

It found the number of brown rats north of the border soared by 13 per cent this year and there were 15 per cent more summer rats.

Across the UK, brown rat numbers increased by just two per cent and summer rats by seven per cent.

And experts warn that the rats are now bigger and more dangerous than ever.

Litter, outdated sewers and warmer winters have all contributed to create perfect breeding conditions for the disease-ridden vermin.

In addition to the growing rat problem, the house mice population is also growing.

While their numbers have remained steady UK-wide, the study found a 21 per cent increase in Scotland.

Barrie Sheard, chairman of the National Pest Technicians Association, who carried out the study,warned that urgent action is needed.

He said: 'Rats and mice are becoming a real problem and if nothing is done we will be facing infestation within two or three years.

'The figures for Scotland were particularly worrying and well above the UK average.

'I was quite shocked when I realised how bad things had become.

'In general, the fact we are seeing warmer winters is a problem. Rats and mice are now breeding all year round, not just in summer.

'This means not only are we seeing more rats, there are also much bigger rats.'

The survey figures were based on the number of times local authorities were called out to deal with rats.

Mr Sheard added: 'If the problem is to be solved, local authorities, water companies and the public must do more.

'We need better sewers and less litter on our streets. It is also essential to carry out regular baiting of sewers.

'If serious action is not taken now, I believe we could be in real trouble by 2007.'

The increase in numbers is a concern because of the rate at which rats can multiply.

Female brown rats are ready to breed at only 11weeks old and can give birth to more than40 offspring a year. They carry many diseases, including salmonella and Weil's disease.

A Scottish Water spokeswoman said: 'Pipes, drains and sewers are inspected for maintenance purposes.

'If there is any evidence of rat infestation, we enlist the help of the council's environmental health officers. Specialist companies are appointed to carry out the baiting.'

However, Scottish councils were reluctant to admit they had a problem with vermin.

A Glasgow City Council spokeswoman said: 'Glasgow doesn't follow the national trend with regards to this problem. Rat numbers are not increasing as far as I know.

'Any city with a river-front, sewers and a population that drops litter will have rats.

'We do clear rats from areas if we are contacted and told there is a problem.'

An Aberdeen City Council spokesman said: 'Obviously we can't count all the rats living in the city but we don't think numbers are increasing significantly.

'Every year, we receive around 149 complaints about rats.

'This figure has been more or less the same since 1995.'

Edinburgh City Council also denied that rodent numbers were increasing.

FEARSOME FURRY PESTS THAT BREED TERROR

# ORIGINALLY from Asia ,the brown rat arrived in Britain around 250 years ago. It is one of the animal world's most prolific pests.

#THEY average 40 cm in length.

# FEMALE brown rats can give birth to 40 babies a year.

#A FEMALE is ready to breed when she is 11 weeks old and weighs four ounces. #THE rat needs a massive amount of food to survive and eats the equivalent of a third of its body weight every day.

#THE brown rat carries many diseases, including salmonella. Every year, thousands of people in developing countries die of diseases caught through contact with rats.

#BLACK rats, a brown rat relative, are thought to have been responsible for transmitting the bubonic plague in 14th century Europe.

#RATS are most commonly found near farms, in rubbish dumps and in sewers - they are excellent swimmers.

RODENTS ON THE RISE

Scotland Brown rat 13% Summer rat 15% House mice 21% Northern Brown rat 7% Summer rat 9% House mice 1% Yorkshire Brown rat 7% Summer rat 25% House mice 11% East Mid Brown rat -1% Summer rat 5% House mice -13% North West Brown rat 11% Summer rat 9% House mice 6% Midlands Brown rat 2% Summer rat 5% House mice 7% London Brown rat 7% Summer rat 5% House mice 3%

Southeast

Brown rat -1% Summer rat 15% House mice -5% Home Counties Brown rat 0% Summer rat 5% House mice -1% Eastern Brown rat -16% Summer rat -6% House mice -17% Southern Brown rat -4% Summer rat 10% House mice -2% South West Brown rat 6% Summer rat -1% House mice -3% Wales Brown rat 2% Summer rat 1% House mice 1%Northern IrelandBrown rat 12% Summer rat 16% House mice 3%National Average Brown rat 2% Summer rat 7% House mice 0%

CAPTION(S):

DIRTY TACTICS: Rats are breeding more
COPYRIGHT 2005 Scottish Daily Record & Sunday
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2005 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 1, 2005
Words:853
Previous Article:Record View: Will he beat it?
Next Article:Record View: Keep her out.


Related Articles
SCHOOL PLAGUE OF RATS; EXCLUSIVE Parents fear for kids.
SEND FOR THE PIED PIPER OF HAMILTON; Rats as big as cats in kiddies' playground.
DON'T PANIC ..BUT IT'S A BOOM TIME FOR TOWN RATS; Dirty rodents on the rise across Scotland.
TENEMENT RATS; Residents want moved from their rodent-infested homes.
DIRTY AREAS OF CITY 'INFESTED' WITH RATS; Dumping blamed for vermin rise.
JUST RUBBISH; EXCLUSIVE Fly & rat plague fears as weekly collections axed.
Uninvited guests coming to a farm near you.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters