Growing by the day
Rats and mice have always sought a close relationship with human beings in part because we produce food in bulk and we are somewhat messy. But not only do we leave food lying around for them, we build nice warm and secure shelters for them to live in.
This is unintentional on our part, simply a consequence of our lifestyle that rodents take full advantage of. They have featured significantly in our history in part because of their nuisance value, but more because they carry disease and parasites like fleas that can transmit another level of disease like bubonic plague and other pestilences that can result in the death of a significant portions of the human population.
One of the features about rodents is that their teeth continue to grow which compels them to continually chew on almost anything in order to help check the growth of those teeth. In the wilderness they would issue on would, seed cases and animal bones, but when they are residing in someone's home, they would chew the structure and fabric of the house as well as the electrical cables.
Now some people keep rats, mice and other rodents as pets which is fine because they are controlled to a certain extent. But wild animals living within one's house do not obey any rules and quite often the first sign of their presence other droppings which typically appear in areas of food preparation.
In New Zealand over the past few years, the winters have been mild, food in the forests abundant and now in the cities we have a new situation.
In cities like Christchurch where many thousands of homes were destroyed and earthquakes, the land remains an occupied by people, but there is also an abundance of food in the form of fruits and vegetables that have survived. But also across this region there has been a huge reduction in the population of cats which in effect gives rodents unfettered access to these long abandoned gardens.
In another move initiated by the politician Gareth Morgan, homeowners have been asked not to replace cats after they pass away and now in many cities, the cat population is reducing.
With the favourable conditions in our forest wilderness, rodent populations are increasing and moving to the cities where they are invading people's homes and making a nuisance of themselves. The risk of their spreading disease is low but the greater risk is the damage they can do to properties.
As a Christchurch resident, I am witnessing more rats in various places around the city and even in my own neighbourhood. The typical methods normally used for controlling rats and mice are becoming less effective, after all they are intelligent and value their lives. I have spoken to the City Council however they don't seem to have any awareness of this growing problem.
Another trap idea for rats