Know your Enemy… an interview with a Norway (Sewer) Rat

LANDGUARD (LG): So, finally we get to meet you – one of this country’s, actually the worlds, most feared and disliked pests. You guys not only spread disease, contaminate foodstuffs and cause fires and floods, you also ruin reputations and drive people crazy with your nocturnal activities…
Sewer Rat (SR): None taken! Actually, we’re quite proud of our ability to exploit your human habitats, sloppy housekeeping and rubbish working practices!
LG: So I hear! Now, let’s get the elephant out of the room – how’ve you found lockdown?
SR: Well the first part was quite difficult to be honest. A lack of food waste around food outlets and going down the drain meant we were a bit short of food…
LG: So that’s why you’ve been turning up in people’s gardens then, right?
SR: Exactly! Luckily the council closed the tips and people started accumulating garden waste around their homes… de-lic-ous!
LG: Well we’re not surprised you’re doing ok, after all you’re known for being one of the planet’s great survivalists. How do you do it?

Pest Control

SR: It’s basically because we are commensal rodents, creatures that have evolved to live in close proximity to you humans. You all think you’re masters of your environment, but guess what? We’re masters of it too and can survive all around your homes, businesses and even in the drains under your feet, often without you even realising. We will survive on virtually any food available.

LG: Wow, you’re really selling yourself!
SR: I haven’t even started – we are the most perfectly designed creature ever to exploit your human habitats, aren’t we? Did I mention our sensitive hearing, for example. How about our acute sense of smell? We’re also particularly intelligent and remember routes not only by sight and smell but using our sense of touch – kinaesthesia. We gnaw with incredible power and can even get through light steel. Our eyesight is ok too, whatever people say!
LG: You must have a bit of an Achilles heel?
SR: Hmmm, we do need access to water daily to survive. But we can always chomp through a water pipe if we’re desperate, so it’s not usually a big issue!
LG: Yikes! That explains the water leaks then! OK, help us out a bit then, we know your ‘perfect’, but what can we do to discourage a rat infestation?
SR: Check ‘round your house and block holes and cover vents to stop us getting in. Get on top of your waste management including compost. We love compost! Stop feeding the birds if you have to and get the drains surveyed. But don’t try too hard… we love living with you guys!
LG: Jeez… interview terminated!