Is The Rat Problem In London Getting Worse?
Is the rat problem in London getting worse? According to some people the answer is yes. But what do the experts have to say?
The rat problem in London: facts, figures and what you need to know
In a recent report by the London Assembly, it was discovered that the London rat population is growing rapidly. In this report it was mentioned that pest control companies received more than 150,000 calls related to rats in gardens and homes. This was in the last five years alone, and works out to more than 100 calls a day. What’s more, this figure is increasing year on year.
Sightings of rats are also increasing, with multiple videos of swarming rats being posted to the internet. The worst places for rats in the city include Tower Hamlets, Brent, Camden, Lambeth, Ealing, and Redbridge. The local authorities in these regions received tens of thousands of complaints per year. In Tower Hamlets alone, there were more than 30,000 calls related to rats. The runner up, Brent, received 20,000. Obviously, the rat problem in London seems to be getting worse and worse. But why this this happening?
Is COVID playing a role?
One of the biggest reasons why the rat problem in London is getting worse is because of the coronavirus pandemic. Previously this issue was mostly a hidden problem. These pests go out of their way to avoid humans. They come out only at night when no one is around and move about in the shadows, foraging for food.
The pandemic has changed all of this. Due to things like lockdowns and the lack of people out on the streets, rats are struggling to find food. This means they are venturing out from their hiding places. It also means they are travelling into new areas to find food. A good example of this are rats which are streaming into the suburbs. Basically, the reason why the rat problem in London is getting worse, is because rats are now more visible.
Another reason is simple because the city is growing. Over the last few decades, the population of London has risen dramatically. This trend is only accelerating, and by 2030 the city is estimated to have more than 10 million inhabitants. This is a problem because more people equals more pests. It also means that city services are stretched. There are fewer resources for pest control and this allows rats to multiply.
The growth of the city also provides rats with more places to live. A good example of this is the increase in sewer systems and drains. Growth also means more rubbish, and this attracts rats.
Rats are evolving and changing over time
Finally, the rat problem in London is getting worse because rats are evolving. Like most animals, these pests change their behaviour when confronted with stimuli. People have been trying to get rid of rats for hundreds of years. Over time this has altered the physical, emotional, and psychological behaviour of these pests.
For example, many rats now have zero fear of humans and have become quite aggressive. We have in a sense domesticated them. Also, decades of being exposed to poison have given some rats an immunity to even the strongest chemicals. These pests can also navigate even the most sophisticated traps. All of this means that rats are becoming more and more difficult to exterminate and dangerous to have in the home. In turn this means the rat problem in London is getting worse.