The New York Times has reported on the death of one man and the severe illness of several others from a leptospirosis outbreak. This rare disease is contracted by contact with the urine from infected rats. Given the massive rat infestations happening in New York this type of fatality is not unexpected.
I am sharing the link to emphasize how important it is to wear gloves and a respirator when cleaning up rat poop and urine in your home.
Philly.com has run a feel good story about folks taking cats out of shelters and using them to fight rats as a “natural” solution. These stories are always a mixed bag. Turing cats loose always results in lots of animals being killed including plenty of songbirds.
KHOU.com has run a story about a lawsuit against Toyota that states the plastic covering on the engine wires actually attracts rats. Apparently the plastic covering is an eco-friendly soy based material and, if you believe the lawsuit, rats think it is delicious. Rats have long been known to chew engine wires so it’s not clear what is different in this case.
If you are dealing with rats in your engine bay there is a rat repellent specifically designed for engine application.
The Great Lakes Echo ran a story that was mostly a fluff piece about the current mild winter being of benefit to the rat population. Looks like folks up along the Great Lakes will be is for some serious ratting action once the spring thaw hits.
Finally, a professor at Kansas University has discovered an entirely new species of rat. Scientists have known about this rat for years based upon bones and teeth they have found but nobody had ever actually found a live specimen. Apparently the only place you can find them is on Manus Island off the coast of Australia. So, if you have ever wanted to go to Australia here is the perfect excuse.