Rats invade the Rocket City

Published: Jan. 10, 2014 at 5:59 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 7, 2014 at 5:59 PM CST
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MADISON COUNTY, AL (WAFF) - More rats than normal are making their way into the Rocket City. The Vector Control Division of the Madison County Health Department is getting more complaints than normal about the pesky pests.

"We're also seeing more activity in the field," said Public Health Environmentalist Cheryl Clay. Clay blames all the rain in 2013 for creating an environment where rats thrived.

Two different species of rats, the Norway rat and the roof rat, are most commonly found in Huntsville.

Clay said the rats live close to humans while seeking shelter and food.

She said the best way to combat the rat problem is to eliminate sources of food, water and shelter.

"If you make your home less attractive to them, you won't have a problem with them," said Clay.

The following are a few examples of ways to make your home less attractive to rats:

  • Do not leave pet food out overnight
  • Do not scatter excess food for birds and other animals on the ground around your home
  • Regularly remove pet feces from your yard because this can be a food source for rodents
  • Store animal food and garbage in containers with tight-fitting lids
  • Keep your property free from tall grass and weeds where rodents might shelter
  • Keep your property free of junk piles, discarded pieces of furniture, etc.
  • Screen, plug up, or cover all openings to your home that are larger than 1/4 inch.  Use sheet metal and steel wool to fill and cover holes.

The Vector Control Division also puts out bait boxes approved by the EPA in easements and ditches to try to control the rate population.

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