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Monday 14 May 2007 9.32am
Last week I was walking down Stoney Street at about 10pm and as I walked past a pile of bin bags on the pavement near The Wheatsheaf I heard a rustle. Next around 10(!!!!) rats ran out and into the railway arches. I have since taken to walking in the middle of the road!
Monday 14 May 2007 9.36am
Jackie, did your Mum tell you the report said the Shopping Centre food shops were the target of the invasion? If that's true check the cheese in Tesco's before buying it (if they ever get any in again).
Monday 14 May 2007 9.37am
Southwark's pest control people acknowledge that there's a severe rat problem around Elephant & Castle. We've had them in our house, and just yesterday I saw a whopper running along the road. But try to get the council to DO anything about it, and then you'll really have some fun.
Monday 14 May 2007 9.41am
I recall reading something about the increasing numbers of rats in the UK recently. As far as I can remember, the fact our winters aren't as cold as they used to be is one of the problems - the cold used to kill off lots of the rats over the winter, so in the Spring when they started breeding again, the numbers weren't really increasing.
Monday 14 May 2007 10.33am
Rat populations fluctuate slightly but can't increase significantly and never 'swarm'. In any one colony, only the alpha male and female reproduce. Killing rats never makes a difference because they replace the lost ones to maintain the colony population. The only way to reduce a population is to remove their food source. It's only because humans are incredibly dirty and unhygienic animals that rats can survive in cities.
It's bizarre that people are more worried about rats than pigeons, which are full of diseases that are harmful to humans. Some wild rats carry Weil's disease but for a human to contract it the rat's urine has to get into an open wound.
Monday 14 May 2007 11.52am
Beetroot - it's not true that Pigeons carry disease. The birds carry high dosses of bacteria like salmonela in their guts, but this is no different to any other bird, like Chickens etc. In theory, you could catch a disease off a pigeon, if you got its blood into an open wound of yours. However, this is not likely.

Pigeons rarely, if ever, carry fleas on them, which rats can. However, ever rats are actually very clean animals, but a bite could cause problems but again, a rat will not bit a human unless you really cornered it and were very unlucky.
Monday 14 May 2007 11.53am
According to recent research/monitoring the rat population in London has increased by about 30% in the last eighteen months, mainly because fewer have been killed by the winter weather. I saw one on Brick Lane that was so fat - presumably from eating naan bread and suchlike - that it couldn't walk in a straight line.
Monday 14 May 2007 12.09pm
Contrary to the posting above, proximity to pigeons and especially pigeon excrement can lead to psittacosis (though only rarely), histoplasmosis and cryptococcosis. They can even transmit chlamydia to humans in exceptional circumstances.
Monday 14 May 2007 12.21pm
Saw one walking along Southwark street the other morning as i was going to work.

There were loads of them in Surrey Quays car park a while ago but i think they have been working hard to get rid of them
Monday 14 May 2007 12.59pm
years ago there was a suggestion that pigeons were fed on corn laced with the contraceptives so the population would gradually decrease..wonder if that would work with rats?
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