Rat Hunt
Rat Hunt

There is an actual war between rats in Sydney

SYDNEY'S population of smaller black rats has been muscled out of the inner city and suburbs by a plague of giant 40cm brown rats who are fast winning the fight for dominance over areas rich in food scraps. 

Experts say the massive 40cm brown rats have won a turf war against Sydney's smaller black rats which have traditionally dominated the inner city, as Daily Telegraph pictures show.

Rats! Vermin feast at the back of the Metro Theatre on George St. Picture: Toby Zerna
Rats! Vermin feast at the back of the Metro Theatre on George St. Picture: Toby Zerna

University of Sydney behavioural ecology expert Professor Peter Banks said the rat rivals have been competing for dominance in areas rich in food scraps.

"The bigger brown rats aggressively chase them away and fight them," he said.

Another factor behind the rise of the rodents is Sydney's construction boom which has disrupted habitats and forced thousands more onto the streets.

Feasting on ‘gourmet’ scraps thrown in the city’s streets, allies and dumpsters. Picture: Bill Hearne
Feasting on ‘gourmet’ scraps thrown in the city’s streets, allies and dumpsters. Picture: Bill Hearne

A City of Sydney spokeswoman said the number of complaints about rats has been rising over the past four years. In the last year there were 334 complaints.

Data from issues management app Snap, Send Solve found the city is the worst area for infestation, followed by Petersham and Bankstown.

How Sydney's rats stack up.
How Sydney's rats stack up.

Rats can be responsible for spreading 35 different diseases including rat-bite fever, which can be fatal in 20 per cent of cases if left untreated.

So far eight dogs have died this year after contracting leptospirosis, a disease spread by rat urine.

Dumpsters in the city’s back alleys are a favourite rendezvous. Picture: Toby Zerna
Dumpsters in the city’s back alleys are a favourite rendezvous. Picture: Toby Zerna

 

Anything goes really … this rat is sporting some war wounds. Picture: Toby Zerna
Anything goes really … this rat is sporting some war wounds. Picture: Toby Zerna

In the early 1900s, rats were blamed for bringing bubonic plague to Sydney.

A public panic ensued and 3000 rat catchers were employed to rid the city of the pests.

They killed more than 100,000. Modern day rat hunters are almost as busy.

Large brown rats come out at night in Sydney’s inner city and suburbs. Picture: Bill Hearne
Large brown rats come out at night in Sydney’s inner city and suburbs. Picture: Bill Hearne

Robert Andrew of Masters Pest Control Sydney said: "In winter we don't get cockroaches or spiders, we just get calls for rats on a daily basis."

"More than 110 of those workers are based in public areas, removing food waste, identifying and backfilling rat holes and reporting rats for targeted baiting," a City spokeswoman said.

But Gerard Dallow from Micropest Pest Control Sydney said the council could do more to reduce rat numbers.

A large dead rat in Belmore Park near Central Station and Hay Street in the city.
A large dead rat in Belmore Park near Central Station and Hay Street in the city.


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