As if everything wasn’t going well enough already, pest experts believe Sydney’s hungry rat population will move further into the suburbs after coronavirus lockdowns cut down on their favourite sources of nourishment.
Yes, restaurant closures appear to have harmed the town’s rats, too.
The Guardian reports pest control expert Geoff Milton has seen an astonishing 30% rise in calls from suburban clients compared to last year, suggesting that leftovers and rubbish, two by-products of Sydney’s usually busting restaurant scene, are in short supply.
Oh, the University of Sydney’s Professor Peter Banks also told the outlet that hungry rats will likely turn to cannibalism to see themselves through the crisis. Well, some of them will see it through, at least.
But it isn’t just coronavirus lockdowns which have encouraged our furry friends to venture further out (and to eat their younglings). It is thought that a particularly cool start to winter has encouraged rats to seek shelter and warmth, potentially in residential areas.
The phenomena was observed as early as April, with the Daily Telegraph citing a pest control operator who’d observed an increase in rat-related calls from Broadway, Darlinghurst, Haymarket and Surry Hills.
Those sightings were also linked to a reduction in rats’ traditional food sources (garbage) caused by the lockdowns.
None of this means there will be a tidal wave of rodents washing across your street, mind you, as it’s likely the total number of rats has fallen during the lockdown period. Less food equals fewer babies, a formula which holds pretty well across all mammal species.
Expect the rats to celebrate a return to normalcy as much as you will, then.Image: Thorsten Nilson / EyeEm / Getty Images