Thinking Citizen Blog — Rats: From Somerville to Chicago to Alberta

Thinking Citizen Blog — Wednesday is Climate Change, the Environment, and Sustainability Day

Today’s Topic: Rats: From Somerville to Chicago to Alberta

In Chinese and Indian cultures rats have positive associations. For example, in China, to be born in the Year of the Rat, is to be endowed with creativity, intelligence, honesty, and generosity. In India, rats are associated with Ganesha, one of the most popular gods in the Hindu pantheon. But in European cultures, well, not so much. How do you feel about rats? Any close encounters? Today, three notes — the first on Somerville’s rat electrocution campaign, the second on the latest ranking of US cities by rat infestation, and the third on Alberta’s successful rat eradication program. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.

SOMERVILLE AND BROOKLINE LEADING THE BOSTON AREA CAMPAIGN AGAINST RATS

1. Last month, the City of Somerville declared its “Smart Box rat-trapping program” a success and Brookline “announced that it will institute the same program.”

2. “When a rat enters the trap, the sensors detect the rodent’s movement or body heat. The box then zaps the rodent with an electrical current, which kills it.”

3. “The rodent is put in a plastic bag in a closed container. The trap then resets itself and is ready to trap and kill again. No poison or bait is used.”

NB “Over the last six months..the 50 SMART boxes have killed 1,050 rats and provided the city with crucial data about the rats’ behavior and environmental preferences.”

THE TOP FIFTEEN RATTIEST CITIES IN THE UNITED STATES

1. Top Five: Chicago, New York, LA, DC, San Francisco

2. Next five: Philadelphia, Baltimore, Cleveland, Detroit, Denver

3. Next five: Seattle, Minneapolis, Boston, Atlanta, Indianapolis

ALBERTA, CANADA — THE WORLD’S MOST SUCCESSFUL RAT CONTROL PROGRAM

1.“Immediately upon their arrival at the eastern border with Saskatchewan, the Alberta government implemented an extremely aggressive rat control program to stop them from advancing further. A systematic detection and eradication system was used throughout a control zone about 600 kilometres (400 mi) long and 30 kilometres (20 mi) wide along the eastern border to eliminate rat infestations before the rats could spread further into the province.” (last link below)

2. “Shotguns, bulldozers, high explosives, poison gas, and incendiaries were used to destroy rats. Numerous farm buildings were destroyed in the process. Initially, tons of arsenic trioxide were spread around thousands of farm yards to poison rats, but soon after the program commenced the rodenticide and medical drug warfrin was introduced, which is much safer for people and more effective at killing rats than arsenic.”

3. “Forceful government control measures, strong public support and enthusiastic citizen participation continue to keep rat infestations to a minimum. The effectiveness has been aided by a similar but newer program in Saskatchewan which prevents rats from even reaching the Alberta border. Alberta still employs an armed rat patrol to control rats along Alberta’s borders. About ten single rats are found and killed per year, and occasionally a large localized infestation has to be dug out with heavy machinery, but the number of permanent rat infestations is zero.”

Somerville declares (partial) victory over rats as Brookline readies for battle

https://www.somervillema.gov/departments/programs/rodent-control-and-public-education

Somerville Places Dozens of Traps to Electrocute Rats After Surge in Sightings

https://www.cdc.gov/rodents/index.html

https://www.cdc.gov/rodents/diseases/index.html

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2022/10/25/rattiest-city-america-orkin-chicago-new-york-los-angeles/10591097002/

How these cities became rat-free zones

History of rat control in Alberta

Rat — Wikipedia

QUOTE OF THE MONTH:

“You’ve got to continue to grow, or you’re just like last night’s corn bread — stale and dry.” - Loretta Lynn

A LINK TO THE LAST FOUR YEARS OF POSTS ORGANIZED BY THEME:

PDF with headlines — Google Drive

ATTACHMENT BELOWS -

#1 A graphic guide to justice (9 metaphors on one page).

#2 “39 Songs, Prayers, and Poems: the Keys to the Hearts of Seven Billion People” — Adams House Senior Common Room Presentation, 11/17/20

PDF with headlines — Google Drive

YOUR TURN

Please share the coolest thing you learned in the last week related to climate change or the environment. Or the coolest, most important thing you learned in your life related to climate change that the rest of us may have missed. Your favorite chart or table perhaps…

This is your chance to make some one’s day. Or to cement in your own mind something that you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than otherwise about something dear to your heart.

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Passionate about education, thinking citizenship, art, and passing bits on of wisdom of a long lifetime.

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John Muresianu

Passionate about education, thinking citizenship, art, and passing bits on of wisdom of a long lifetime.