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Outdoors: Rattlers once thrived in SB – South Bend Tribune

Our rattlesnake column a few weeks ago has triggered some interesting conversations.

If you missed that story, it noted how the 2,000-plus acre Ed Lowe Foundation property east of Cassopolis harbors one of the Midwests largest populations of Massasauga rattlesnakes.

More than 800 have been documented on the property over the past seven years. The Massasauga is the only poisonous snake in Michigan and northern Indiana. However, populations have dwindled rapidly due to habitat loss and the snake may be placed on the national endangered species list.

After that story ran, reader Ken Price of Granger dropped us a note pointing out that rattlesnakes were once prominent around South Bend.

In fact, a large population living on the citys southwest side some 60 years ago created quite a stir, leading to a public demonstration demanding the city eradicate the snakes.

Price recalls a huge rattler colony in a large field adjacent to a trailer park once located on the south side of the old Lincoln Way near the Michiana airport. The field ran all the way to the edge of Mayflower Road.

There was quite a bit of talk about it on the news back then, recalled Price. Whenever my family drove by there on our way to Michigan City I used to look out there and think about all of those snakes.

Another area said to have them was in Rum Village and where Walker Field Softball Park now sits. Oddly enough, another softball complex in the Belleville area was another area known to have numerous rattlesnakes.

It turned out that Prices memory is pretty good. The South Bend History Facebook Page provides proof.

In July, 1956, a Tribune newspaper clipping reported that 15 snakes had been killed in a field along Meadow Lane and that South Bend Health Officials ordered an exterminator to spread 75-arsenic treated eggs along the edge of the field with hopes the snakes would eat them and die.

However, that led to a neighborhood protest over concerns that the kids playing nearby would ingest the eggs and die. They wanted the snakes gone but not with poison.

In early September of that same year, the newspaper ran a picture of a hospital nurse assisting 4-year-old Ricky Miller with a snake bite he apparently incurred while playing in his yard in the Belleville area. The clipping noted he was one of several people who had been bitten by snakes in that area.

On Sept. 16, the newspaper ran a clipping of Mayor Edward Voorde addressing Belleville women protesting in South Bend. One of the women carried a sign stating One Child Bitten must there be a death before action is taken?

Another sign said, ColPaert Love Our Kids get Rid of the Rattlesnakes. Promises-Promises!

Colpaert Realty Corp. owned the field.

There were no other clippings to indicate how the problem was resolved but its safe to assume the property was later developed, destroying the snake habitat.

Nor was there any evidence the snakes were rattlers, although one story referred to them as Prairie Rattlesnakes a smaller and more common snake in this area than the Timber rattlesnake.

In all likelihood, that was a Massasauga, according to Nate Engbrecht, Indiana DNR Herpetologist and Bremen native.

Its highly unlikely they were timber rattlers that far north, he said. Indianas only known population resides in Brown, Morgan and Monroe counties of southern Indiana.

Nor were they Prairie Rattlers that thrive in western states.

Given the description and their location, they probably were Massasaugas, Engbrecht added.

Price noted that the southwest side of South Bend once was the headwaters of the Kankakee River system and was very marshy at the time. That is precisely the kind of habitat that the Massasauga requires.

A beginners archery course will be held at the Niles Bend of the River Conservation Club beginning this month.

The course is open to anyone 8 or older and no equipment or experience is needed.

Registration will be Sept. 6 from 6:30-8 p.m. at the clubhouse. The course runs for eight weeks, beginning Sept. 11. Cost is $40 per person.

For information or to register call Gary Haines, 269-695-3610, and leave a message.

Hunters who hunt outside of Michigan are reminded that regulations related to the importation of harvested cervids (deer, elk or moose) have changed substantially.

Hunters who harvest an animal in any other state or province can only bring back hides, deboned meat, quarters (legs that do not have any part of the spinal column or head attached), finished taxidermy products, cleaned teeth, antlers, and antlers attached to a skullcap cleaned of brain and muscle tissue.

The changes were made to keep potential cases of CWD from unintentionally being brought into Michigan.

CWD is a contagious neurological disease affecting members of the Cervidae family, including deer, elk and moose. There is no recovery.

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Outdoors: Rattlers once thrived in SB – South Bend Tribune

Rat reports across Wichita are ‘highly unusual,’ biologist says – Wichita Eagle

Virginia Dagenais has lived in a well-kept home near 13th and Ridge since 1959.

In those 58 years, she has turned her backyard into an oasis of flower gardens, with elephant ears, hostas and begonias, to name a few. All in neat plots. Her emerald green grass is cut short, as even as a putting green. Her little firewood pile is orderly.

But for the first time, rats are roaming her oasis.

The 80-year-old woman is not alone in her rat problem. Its citywide.

It includes some of the most coveted, cozy neighborhoods.

Wichita residents reporting a rat problem to The Eagle and on social media from the east: around 143rd and East Kellogg, Douglas and Rock, Central and Rock, Central and Woodlawn.

And on the west side: around 13th and Ridge and Tyler and Kellogg.

People are saying they are seeing rats normally nocturnal in their yards even during the daytime.

In most cases, this is their first experience with the pests at their homes.

One resident has trapped 42, another 21, another 20, in three different east Wichita neighborhoods, according to accounts provided to The Eagle or posted on social media.

One person commenting on social media after The Eagle first reported the rat problem Tuesday suggested that people are making it up.

Why, she asked, arent people sharing, and The Eagle publishing, photos of the dead rats?

Residents who have killed rats in traps said they never thought to photograph the pests before they disposed of them. Some didnt want to dwell on the sight of a dead, mangled rat. Or they were embarrassed to record their problem with a photograph.

Dagenais said she has trapped 18 of them each around a foot long in the past two and a half months, luring them with pepperoni and peanut butter.

She killed the first rat she spotted, on her patio, at close range with a BB gun.

She would have caught more if she had tried harder, she said.

You always think of rats in New York but not Wichita, she observed.

A city official noted that the areas where the rats are showing up have generally tidy homes and yards, generally free of excessive debris or sanitation problems that can harbor rodents.

The rodents appear to be the Norway rat variety, common around the world and despised because of the health hazards they can present and the damage they can do gnawing on food and property.

One of the potential dangers is the rats can carry communicable diseases. They can chew into a home. They can squeeze through a hole the size of a half dollar, according to a rodent control fact sheet released by the county Thursday.

None of the residents said rats had infiltrated their homes, only their yards.

But the rats are scavenging too close to their homes, and some said they worry that the pests could try to move inside as cold weather arrives.

What is causing rats to show up in new places and in numbers not seen before?

Donald Kaufman is a Kansas State University biology professor whose expertise is native prairie rodents not the Norway rat that came from Europe and dwells among humans in urban areas.

But Kaufman said he felt confident in saying that the phenomenon occurring in some Wichita yards is highly unusual because Norway rats produce large litters and need a very large food supply and enough structure to develop a significant population.

So where are they getting their food?

Theyve got to be coming from somewhere. Thats a lot of big rodents going in there, Kaufman said.

If he was going to find the best place to catch 100 Norway rats, Kaufman said, his first thought would be a grain elevator or a feed lot.

The nearest grain elevator is several miles from the Wichita yards where the rats are worrying residents.

Elmer Finck, a Fort Hays State University biology professor, said he wonders whether what people are catching are cotton rats instead of Norway rats. Cotton rats arent quite as large as Norway rats. Cotton rats have mottled blackish-brown fur, and their tails have noticeably much more fur than Norway rats.

Finck said he would like to see photos of the rats being caught to help confirm his thoughts.

Cotton-rat populations fluctuate, and with timely rains and mild winters in recent years, their population has become outrageously high in Kansas, Finck said. Rains have given them more grass and weed seed to munch on. Mild winters let them survive and breed longer.

Speaking of the phenomenon in Wichita yards, he said, To me what you are describing sounds like an outbreak of cotton rats.”

He also noted: You could have the same thing happen with Norway rats, but they arent as much of a grass eater.

A number of Wichita residents said they have seen rats during the day eating seed left out for birds. One reader shared: I moved the bird seed off the ground and have not seen any more.

One woman, who lives near Tyler and Kellogg, started noticing rats at her home about three weeks ago. It upset her when she saw two of them around her flower garden out front, one running along her house foundation. She couldnt see its tail, but its body was about 6 inches long.

Are the rats burrowing in her thick flower garden?

Ive been afraid to look, she said Thursday.

She suspected that the rats could be coming from a neighbors yard because the neighbor had already shared that he had rats around his house and because the neighbors yard was full of debris piles and covered in tall grass potential shelter and cover for rodents.

She asked not to be identified because she doesnt want to aggravate her neighbor.

She reported the debris and rat concern to a city office and was first told that she should get an exterminator. She also reported her concerns to the Metropolitan Area Building and Construction Department (MABCD). That office informed her that it had sent someone to ask her neighbor to clean up the debris, she said.

The woman has a dog, so shes afraid of using poison or traps that could kill or harm her pet or other beneficial animals. So shes thinking of using a live trap.

Although shes spotted only two rats, she fears there could be more.

Deb Legge, an official with MABCD, said Tuesday afternoon that two inspectors were sent to check commercial areas around the neighborhood near Central and Woodlawn the neighborhood where one resident caught 42 rats.

But the inspectors found nothing at the businesses that would invite a rat infestation, she said.

Although MABCD doesnt deal specifically with rat complaints, people can call the agency at 316-660-9220, and select from the menu of options, to report conditions that can contribute to rats such as bulky waste, tires, junk vehicles, sanitation issues and tall grass and weeds.

Residents are responsible for keeping their property reasonably clean and uncluttered, Legge said.

Dagenais, the 80-year-old woman who lives near 13th and Ridge, has maybe the most picturesque yard on a street of tidy west-side homes.

Shes not catching rats at quite the same rate as before. Still, she said, Im fighting a losing battle here. She caught one in a trap as recently as Monday.

She wonders if they could be migrating from a field across the street from her neighborhood.

She asked neighbors if they had seen rats. One had seen two in a shed.

They tend to run along a section of her wooden privacy fence that borders her vegetable garden.

So far, shes seen none in her shed. But she worries about one scampering into her garage.

Besides the traps, shes used poison, tucked away where only a rat could get to it, she said. She hasnt found any poisoned rats.

Does Dagenais now feel afraid in her beautiful backyard?

I was raised on a ranch; Im one of eight children. Im not afraid of one.

She paused, then added, I wouldnt want to get bit by one.

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Rat reports across Wichita are ‘highly unusual,’ biologist says – Wichita Eagle

‘Rat Boom’ Besieges NJ Town – NBC 10 Philadelphia

Residents in a New Jersey suburb have seen an alarming increase in rats and are calling for the town to exterminate them.

Locals in Waldwick have been setting up traps in attempt to mitigate the recent rat infestation but they have been largely unsuccessful.

(The rats are) totally unexpected and I’m pretty disgusted because we pay taxes here, Waldwick resident Gary Nicolosi said.

Lucy Wanklin had seen the direct effect of the rodents on her beloved tomato garden.

So far in the last, maybe two to three weeks, weve caught on this piece of property 43 rats, Wanklin said.

The reason why the rats may be so difficult to catch is because the source remains a mystery.

Borough officials say theyre unsure of where the rats are coming from, but they believe nature will take care of the problem on its own.

In the meantime, they have been passing out fliers to residents, instructing them to eliminate their food source.

Humans tend to do things that bring in animals they dont want. Maybe we have to use exterminators for a few but we are not overrun with rats, Carol Tyler, a Waldwick Animal Control officer said.

Dramatic Images: Floods Hit as Harvey Drenches Texas

Despite the boroughs beliefs, locals speculate the rats are coming from the Russo Development construction project down the block.

While the developers contest that the rats originate from their site, they have hired pest control as a precautionary.

Whether its coming from our site or not, the last thing we want is for people to have a rat infestation in our town. So were definitely working on that, Ron Simoncini of Russo Development said.

Now, residents are calling for Waldwick to take similar precautionary measures of its own.

Take some of that tax money and get exterminators in here, Wanklin said.

Unfortunately, against her wishes, the town currently has no plans to call in an exterminator.

Unbelievable Animals: Balder Bald Eagle in Recovery

Published at 5:36 AM EDT on Aug 30, 2017 | Updated at 8:11 AM EDT on Aug 30, 2017

Read more from the original source:
‘Rat Boom’ Besieges NJ Town – NBC 10 Philadelphia

Waldwick Residents In Search Of Solution For Sudden Surge In Rat Sightings – CBS New York

WALDWICK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) After finding them all over their property some Bergen County residents say rats are taking over the neighborhood.

Its frightening to think that a child could get bit by a rat, Lucy Wanklin told CBS2s Marc Liverman.

There were forty-three dead rats found in less than a month. Waldwick resident Lucy Wanklin said shes been dealing with the problem at her home on Wanamaker Ave.

We started off slowly; two, three, four, then all of a sudden ten then fifteen, and now were up to forty-three, she said.

Shes not alone. Laurie Summer lives a block away.

Never had anything like this happen, she said.

Summer says she found two rats running all over her yard.

One was a full size rat, and one was smaller, she said. Im from New York, we saw them in the subways. You dont expect to see them in your backyard in a suburban area.

Summer said she saw the rats in her backyard running toward her home. Thats when she called an exterminator. They setup rodent baits the same day, but even that didnt stop the rats right away.

I found a dead one in my driveway where I park, dying actually, she said.

So where are they all coming from?

Some residents blame a new apartment complex still under construction, but animal control services associated with the borough said otherwise.

The rats have always lived here. What has changed is some environmental things such as road paving, people doing home upgrades, people feeding birds that brings rats onto the property , people growing gardens bringing rats onto the property, that is why theyre so visual at this time, Carol Tyler, Animal Control explained.

A borough administrator said theyve heard three complaints about the rats since June. They said the health department is surveying the area, and they plan on teaching residents how to abate them.

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Waldwick Residents In Search Of Solution For Sudden Surge In Rat Sightings – CBS New York

Rodents take over home while family flees wildfires – CBC.ca

Asingle mother living nearClinton, B.C., thought her summer was bad enough when she fled her ranch with her two young sons and nearly 50 animals in order to avoid encroaching wildfires.

Chelsea Trillrelocated with her family and animalsto Abbotsfordin early July, where they spent about 45 days with family friends.

Trill explained toRadio Westhost Sarah Penton that when she recently opened the door to her house,she originally thoughtsquatters had moved in while her family was away.

Pack rats destroyed bedding while a Clinton-area family evacuated their home due to wildfires. (Chelsea Trill/Facebook)

However, she soonrealized all of the doors were still locked and there were visible signs of rodents.

“I thought someone had broken in and trashed the place when we were gone,” explained Trill.

She says toys were moved, food and bedding chewed, and there were rodent droppings and urine everywhere.

“It was just unprotected for the 45 days we were gone, and they just went wild.”

Trill says she dealt with pack rats, a type of rat that is native to Canada, at the beginning of the gardening season. The rodents would eat her small plants if she left them outside overnight.

However, her dogs and cats had chased the pack rats off, so she and her boys were relatively unbothered by the rodents.

While a Clinton-area family fled wildfires, their home was overrun by pack rats. ( Chelsea Trill/Facebook)

Unfortunately, when the dogs and cats left with the family, the home was left unprotected and the pack rats moved in.

The family threw out baby items, clothing, bedding and food that wasn’t canned before disinfecting all household surfaces.

The Red Crossprovidedthe family with a large amount of cleaning supplies.

Trill says that since they live minimally she guesses the net losses are around $500.

She plans to make changes and dothings differently if they are ever forced to evacuate again.

With files from Radio West.

Original post:
Rodents take over home while family flees wildfires – CBC.ca

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Bed bugs, drug paraphernalia greet 6th graders at Estes Park YMCA – The Denver Channel

ESTES PARK, Colo. The YMCA of the Rockies Estes Park Center touts on its website it offers a wholesome, spiritual environment where families,friends and groups will be inspired by nature. But Douglas County school officials and parents say their students’ recent stay at the Estes Park lodge was far from a wholesome experience.

Highlands Ranch parents are upset after they say their children were exposed to bed bugs and drug paraphernalia during a school-sponsored trip to the Estes Park center earlier this week. The infestation prompted school officials to cut the trip short.

Saddle Ranch Elementary 6th graders participating in the outdoor education program arrived at the YMCA of the Rockies Estes Park Center Tuesday morning. The students and accompanying school staff were scheduled to stay in quarters called the Rainbow Lodge at the center, according to Dave DeLuca, the director of the Estes Park YMCA.

When students arrived at the lodge, they encountered rooms in disarray and an exterminator who showed them signs of a significant bed bug presence, DeLuca wrote in a letter he sent to parents. The exterminator was on scene because previous guests of Rainbow Lodge had complained to YMCA staff that they were affected by the bugs, DeLuca said.

According to DeLuca, when school staff, armed with digital photos of the infestation, approached the front desk about different accommodations, they were told that couldnt be done, and that Rainbow Lodge would be ready for the students shortly. But after continued discussion, YMCA staff ultimately agreed to relocate the students to a different lodge.

However, when Estes Park staff and school personnel inspected the new rooms offered to the students, they found dead bed bugs and several hypodermic syringes, a small spoon and a prescription drug wrapper under a mattress at the lodge, DeLuca wrote.

Larimer County Sherriff deputies were called after the discovery of drug paraphernalia. However, DeLuca admitted YMCA staff were initiallyhesitant to call authorities.

“YMCA staff was immediately called to come to the building, where they took possession of the materials. It was observed by school personnel that our staff did not seem confident in the proper handling of such items,” wrote DeLuca.

The incidents were more than enough for school personnel, and they cut the trip short, leaving the next day. The school was given a full refund and parents were informed of the situation at the lodge through DeLucas letter.

DeLuca apologized to parents and said he would be meeting center staff to review practices and procedures to ensure the issues the students encountered would not happen again.

Read more:
Bed bugs, drug paraphernalia greet 6th graders at Estes Park YMCA – The Denver Channel

No signs of rat infestation in Westerly | The Westerly Sun – The Westerly Sun

WESTERLY Westerly is just across the Pawcatuck River Bridge, but it appears the town is having fewer problems with rats than Pawcatuck.

Westerly has had a small number of rat complaints to investigate since April, said James Broccoli, minimum housing officer for Westerly, Wednesday. There has not been a major outcry for rat problems in Westerly.

Its about six or seven complaints, he said. I think people are worried about it because of articles in The Sun. He said he has cited two properties, but one was for a mice infestation. He said some unfounded calls also came in but he found no signs of rats in those instances.

In comparison, as of August 23, Pawcatuck has received about 25 to 30 complaints and issued five orders, some related to rats, some related to trash, according to Ryan McCammon, Supervisor of Environmental Health for Ledge Light Health District, which is Stoningtons health department.

The numbers are surprising since both towns are adjacent to the Pawcatuck River, which rat expert Robert Corrigan identified as a habitat for rats in a recent Sun article. Corrigan, of Briarcliff Manor, New York, runs RmC Pest Management in Richmond, Indiana, was a principal lecturer at the Rodent Control Academy, and has authored a book about rodent control for pest management professionals,

It isnt clear why Westerly has had fewer rat complaints, but residents and business owners have been cooperative if rats or signs of rats were found on a property, said Broccoli, who started in his position in April.

Where I do see it, everyones been on board, he said. The people from the town have been great about getting treatment and exterminators and doing what they need to do as property owners.

Do the basics first

Working with neighbors on preventive measures is the best way to stop the problem, he said.

What is important for everyone to remember are the basics to prevent [the rats] from coming to your house and neighborhood, he wrote in an email. Work with everyone in your house/apartment and together with your neighbors to prevent rodents. Do not provide rodents with the food and shelter they seek.

Broccoli said it was important to block rats food supplies with practical methods, like using a trash can with a lid.

Cut off the food supply

Feeding animals and birds outside, including dogs and cats, provides a food source for rats, Broccoli said.

Bird feeders and squirrel feeders are also a problem, he said. Again, youre putting a food source out there for rodents to come and eat.

Because they provide a food source, chicken coops are a problem, he said.

Call an exterminator

Broccoli said he encourages people to hire an exterminator rather than try to solve the problem themselves.

I recommend people get an exterminator I tell them to pick who they want, theres a good amount of them on the internet, pick a local company, he said.

He said that owners of rental properties were required also to hire an exterminator by law.

Be neighborly

To prevent rat infestations, everyone must participate and remind one another what needs to be done, he said.

People from a community aspect, neighbors should be neighborly, he said. You could say, hey why dont you clean that up over there, or dont stack that material over there, or dont leave your dog food out.

He also said that upholstered furniture, cushions and mattresses should not be left outside because they provide nesting areas for rats.

The more people know about the problem, the more theyll take preventive measures, he said.

chewitt@thewesterlysun.com

Better safe than sorry

Westerly Minimum Housing Officer James Broccolis list of precautions that residents and property owners are responsible for, adapted from Westerlys Ordinances and the Rhode Island Property Maintenance Codes.

Exterior property/premises must be maintained in a clean, safe and sanitary condition.

Premises/exterior property must be maintained free of weeds or tall grass in excess of 6 inches.

All exterior property and premises, and the interior of every structure, shall be free from any accumulation of rubbish or garbage.

Every occupant of a structure shall dispose of all rubbish in a clean and sanitary manner by placing such rubbish in approved containers with lids.

Every window intended to be used for ventilation, and every other opening located at or near ground level which might provide an entry for rodents, must be supplied with adequate screens or other devices that will effectively prevent their entrance.

All doors, including swinging, sliding and folding types, must be constructed so that the space between the lower edge of the door and the threshold and the space between sections of folding and sliding doors when closed does not exceed three-eighths inch (3/8).

Basement floors and/or the floors and areas in contact with the soil, and located at a maximum depth of four feet (4) or less from the grade line, must be paved with concrete or other rat impervious material. Skirting, lattice, or other non-rat-proofed enclosures displaying evidence of rat harborage under a porch or any portions of a building must be rat-proofed at all locations where evidence of burrowing or gnawing was found.

Structures/exterior property must be kept free from rodent harborage and infestation. Where rodents are found, they shall be promptly exterminated by approved processes not be injurious to human health. After extermination, proper precautions shall be taken to eliminate rodent harborage and prevent reinfestation. Mattresses, cushions, old chairs, couches, along with any other materials that may be used for harborage must be removed.

No inoperative or unlicensed motor vehicle shall be parked, kept or stored on any premises, and no vehicle shall at any time be in a state of major disassembly, disrepair, or in the process of being stripped or dismantled. Old cars make an excellent habitat for all types of rodents.

See the original post here:
No signs of rat infestation in Westerly | The Westerly Sun – The Westerly Sun

In contrast to Stonington, Westerly hasn’t had too many problems with rats – The Westerly Sun

WESTERLY Westerly is just across the Pawcatuck River Bridge, but it appears the town is having fewer problems with rats than Pawcatuck.

Westerly has had a small number of rat complaints to investigate since April, said James Broccoli, minimum housing officer for Westerly, Wednesday. There has not been a major outcry for rat problems in Westerly.

Its about six or seven complaints, he said. I think people are worried about it because of articles in The Sun. He said he has cited two properties, but one was for a mice infestation. He said some unfounded calls also came in but he found no signs of rats in those instances.

In comparison, as of August 23, Pawcatuck has received about 25 to 30 complaints and issued five orders, some related to rats, some related to trash, according to Ryan McCammon, Supervisor of Environmental Health for Ledge Light Health District, which is Stoningtons health department.

The numbers are surprising since both towns are adjacent to the Pawcatuck River, which rat expert Robert Corrigan identified as a habitat for rats in a recent Sun article. Corrigan, of Briarcliff Manor, New York, runs RmC Pest Management in Richmond, Indiana, was a principal lecturer at the Rodent Control Academy, and has authored a book about rodent control for pest management professionals,

It isnt clear why Westerly has had fewer rat complaints, but residents and business owners have been cooperative if rats or signs of rats were found on a property, said Broccoli, who started in his position in April.

Where I do see it, everyones been on board, he said. The people from the town have been great about getting treatment and exterminators and doing what they need to do as property owners.

Do the basics first

Working with neighbors on preventive measures is the best way to stop the problem, he said.

What is important for everyone to remember are the basics to prevent [the rats] from coming to your house and neighborhood, he wrote in an email. Work with everyone in your house/apartment and together with your neighbors to prevent rodents. Do not provide rodents with the food and shelter they seek.

Broccoli said it was important to block rats food supplies with practical methods, like using a trash can with a lid.

Cut off the food supply

Feeding animals and birds outside, including dogs and cats, provides a food source for rats, Broccoli said.

Bird feeders and squirrel feeders are also a problem, he said. Again, youre putting a food source out there for rodents to come and eat.

Because they provide a food source, chicken coops are a problem, he said.

Call an exterminator

Broccoli said he encourages people to hire an exterminator rather than try to solve the problem themselves.

I recommend people get an exterminator I tell them to pick who they want, theres a good amount of them on the internet, pick a local company, he said.

He said that owners of rental properties were required also to hire an exterminator by law.

Be neighborly

To prevent rat infestations, everyone must participate and remind one another what needs to be done, he said.

People from a community aspect, neighbors should be neighborly, he said. You could say, hey why dont you clean that up over there, or dont stack that material over there, or dont leave your dog food out.

He also said that upholstered furniture, cushions and mattresses should not be left outside because they provide nesting areas for rats.

The more people know about the problem, the more theyll take preventive measures, he said.

chewitt@thewesterlysun.com

Better safe than sorry

Westerly Minimum Housing Officer James Broccolis list of precautions that residents and property owners are responsible for, adapted from Westerlys Ordinances and the Rhode Island Property Maintenance Codes.

Exterior property/premises must be maintained in a clean, safe and sanitary condition.

Premises/exterior property must be maintained free of weeds or tall grass in excess of 6 inches.

All exterior property and premises, and the interior of every structure, shall be free from any accumulation of rubbish or garbage.

Every occupant of a structure shall dispose of all rubbish in a clean and sanitary manner by placing such rubbish in approved containers with lids.

Every window intended to be used for ventilation, and every other opening located at or near ground level which might provide an entry for rodents, must be supplied with adequate screens or other devices that will effectively prevent their entrance.

All doors, including swinging, sliding and folding types, must be constructed so that the space between the lower edge of the door and the threshold and the space between sections of folding and sliding doors when closed does not exceed three-eighths inch (3/8).

Basement floors and/or the floors and areas in contact with the soil, and located at a maximum depth of four feet (4) or less from the grade line, must be paved with concrete or other rat impervious material. Skirting, lattice, or other non-rat-proofed enclosures displaying evidence of rat harborage under a porch or any portions of a building must be rat-proofed at all locations where evidence of burrowing or gnawing was found.

Structures/exterior property must be kept free from rodent harborage and infestation. Where rodents are found, they shall be promptly exterminated by approved processes not be injurious to human health. After extermination, proper precautions shall be taken to eliminate rodent harborage and prevent reinfestation. Mattresses, cushions, old chairs, couches, along with any other materials that may be used for harborage must be removed.

No inoperative or unlicensed motor vehicle shall be parked, kept or stored on any premises, and no vehicle shall at any time be in a state of major disassembly, disrepair, or in the process of being stripped or dismantled. Old cars make an excellent habitat for all types of rodents.

Read more here:
In contrast to Stonington, Westerly hasn’t had too many problems with rats – The Westerly Sun


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