On the front lines of humanity’s high-tech, global war on rats

On the front lines of humanity’s high-tech, global war on rats:

Josh Dzieza writing for the verge:

As with all great pests, we like to joke that rats will outlast us. After all, they survived nuclear tests on the Marshall Islands. If anything, they’re even better positioned to thrive in today’s slower, environmental apocalyptic scenarios. In a world where ecosystems are being upended, cities are growing, infrastructure is aging, and waste is increasing, the rat has all the traits necessary for success. In the Darwinian sense, the rat is just as fit for the world we’ve built as we are.

Today’s rat campaigns are attempts to rein in the rare species that excels under our new rules. With enough effort, money, and technology, we may be able to control their numbers. But the thing about rats is that we always win the battles, but they tend to win the war. Undoing the work of a couple stowaway rats takes millions of dollars and months of helicopter bombardment, but it would be for naught if one pregnant rat hops off a visiting yacht. In cities, just keeping them to manageable numbers takes the work of public officials, exterminators, trash collectors, and scientists, as well as the attention of every citizen.

This article stood out after the incident in Bukit Batok where a large number of rats were spotted near the MRT station and the exterminators quickly went to work destroying the colony. It made headlines of local news for a while – clean Singapore beset with rats! – but was quickly forgotten after. I know I’ve seen rats at other food centres around the island so it’s probably just a matter of time before we have another ‘outbreak’.

But after reading the article it made me wonder how it is that so many countries in south east Asia don’t have a larger rat problem considering our warm weather, terrible garbage control and largely unplanned infrastructure. Then it hit me… Stray cats.

Every city in south east Asia has rats, that goes without saying. But we also have a scourge of other animals that hunt and kill rats. So I guess that’s another organic approach without the use of poison.


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