Show rats the door

Unfortunately we don't live in a fairy-tale world where we can summon a Pied Piper to rid us of the hordes of rats that plague villages and cities throughout South Africa.

Unfortunately we don't live in a fairy-tale world where we can summon a Pied Piper to rid us of the hordes of rats that plague villages and cities throughout South Africa.

Since humans first settled down and started cultivating grain 10000 or so years ago they have uneasily shared their living space with rats. And the history of all cultures is replete with tales of the doom inflicted on us by these furry fiends.

Rats carry lethal diseases, destroy our food and property and even attack young children.

So we should all be unsettled by the increasing tempo of reports over the past few years about whole townships being overrun by "rats as big as cats".

The ravening hordes have prompted municipalities around Gauteng to take action. Yesterday we reported that Ekurhuleni has now hopped on the bandwagon.

But these measures are doomed to fail until we the citizens complement official actions with our own war on these pests.

Rats thrive alongside us wherever we provide them food and shelter. They relish our scraps and live it up anywhere they can nest, breeding like - well - rats.

As our ancestors found over the aeons, if we follow the traditional rules of household hygiene we can use our intelligence to get rid of these unwanted boarders.

Too often we just reach for poisons, which are just as dangerous to humans as they are to the pests.

Just remember to clean up and seal any place where they might find shelter, and to cover all food and waste.

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