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Rats Are Turning Aggressive And Cannibalistic, CDC Warns, In Scavenging For Food

By Colby Smith

Rats Are Turning Aggressive And Cannibalistic, CDC Warns, In Scavenging For Food

Black Mirror meets Ratatouille.

First there was the pandemic, then there was the record flooding, and now 2020 is throwing cannibal rats at us? And to think that we’re not even halfway through the year yet…

Last week the Center for Disease Control and Prevention announced that depleted sources of food from restaurant and bar waste have caused erratic behaviors in rats. Chiefly, that the famished rodents have become more aggressive and have even taken to eating their kin. Shudders. 

Back in March, the state issued the stay-at-home order, which saw the closure of dine-in areas of restaurants across the city. This came at the expense of our least favorite rodents. As many restaurant owners probably know, their garbage is a favorite food source for rats — seeing the waste as something of an all-you-can-eat buffet.

“Jurisdictions have closed or limited service at restaurants and other commercial establishments to help limit the spread of COVID-19. Rodents rely on the food and waste generated by these establishments. Community-wide closures have led to a decrease in food available to rodents, especially in dense commercial areas,” the CDC wrote in their report. 

Because rats no longer have accessible access to these bountiful food supplies, famine has lead to a desperation which in turn has caused heightened aggression:

“Some jurisdictions have reported an increase in rodent activity as rodents search for new sources of food. Environmental health and rodent control programs may see an increase in service requests related to rodents and reports of unusual or aggressive rodent behavior.”

Survival mode has lead these aggressive behaviors in rodents to make a chilling turn as many have resorted to cannibalism

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“These rats are fighting with one another; now the adults are killing the young in the next and cannibalizing the pups,” rodentologist and specialist in urban vermin, told NBC News.

“When you’re really, really hungry, you’re not going to act the same — you’re going to act very bad, usually.”

This aggression in the vermin has been observed in cities such as New York and New Orleans. The latter saw their French Quarter overcome with the rodents.

To prevent infestations the CDC recommends that you eliminate conditions that would attract rats such as:

“Sealing up access into homes and businesses, removing debris and heavy vegetation, keeping garbage in tightly covered bins, and removing pet and bird food from their yards.”

[Featured image: @Thomas Hawk via Flickr Creative Commons]