Ratastic News Week “Discovery” Edition

David Bennett David Bennett

Ratastic Newsflash for week of January 6th, 2019 “Discovery” Edition      

Mice may not be stirring, but rats sure are! This news blog is all about discovery—whether that discovery be something in your soup that shouldn’t be there or discovering there are some places rat meat is worth quite a lot, or the discovery of the expansion of rat lungworm in Hawai’i.    Rats are actively involved in discoveries of all sorts, whether scientific or horrific.

Answer to last weeks: Rodents are not just mice and rats. Groundhogs also belong to the rodent family. What is the name of the most famous groundhog in the world?    A– Puxatawny Phil!

This Week’s Question: What’s higher on the pain (psi) scale—a human bite, or a rat bite?

Please sir, I don’t want any more,” or, the “Twist”ed Tale of the Hungry Person Who Ate Nothing and was Full

In Vancouver, British Columbia, GlobalNews.ca reports a video shows what no one ever wants to see

—an alleged rat allegedly in a customer’s soup.  The restaurant is attached to a “chowdery” that makes soup. A photo and video of the rat in the soup was posted to social media. 

The owner, meanwhile, was horrified.  “Phillips said he has no idea how a rodent could have ended up inside a bread bowl in the restaurant where he says staff are fully trained in food safety procedures.

Now, Phillips says he’s being barraged with hate mail.

“We’re getting berated on Yelp, I’ve been getting messages on Google all morning as well. With people who haven’t dined here, they’re just going strictly off the video,” he said.

“I’m a bit shaken and traumatized by this because I’ve worked so hard for the last two years to make this thing go.”

Vancouver Coastal Health says it is sending an inspector to the restaurant.” Daily Hive reported further that Phillips has no idea how a rodent could have gotten into the sealed containers the food is kept in, and he said that the staff is fully trained on safe food handling and sanitary procedures.  However, Daily Hive also found Vancouver Coastal Health Authority also noted that there were signs of rodents during an inspection in February 2018. The health department has cleared the restaurant and so it will remain open for business. 

Speaking of soup, the people of this region in India believes in recycling—they’re turning their rat problem into profits and food!

While in the Western world no one would consider eating a rat and if they turn up in food, the unfortunate restaurant is probably destined to be shut down, in other parts of the world, rat is a delicious and popular food.  In the remote region of Indian known as the Assam, rats aren’t merely a delicacy—they’re more popular than chicken and pork at the Sunday market in Kumarikata.  They are boiled and skinned, and the meat cooked with a spicy gravy. ChannelNews Asia reports:  Shoppers buy hundreds of freshly caught and skinned rats that local farmers say are hunted to avoid damage to their fields in the state which borders Bhutan. The ready-roasted kind also goes down well. Rat has become a valuable source of income for the poor “Adivasi” tribal people who struggle to make ends meet working in Assam’s famed tea gardens. In the winter months when tea picking slumbers, the Adivasis go to rice paddies to trap rats for the market.  The rats eat rice they need to subsist, so the solution seems to be to eat the rats to prevent them eating the rice. Not only are they profiting off of their rat problem, they are profiting from the proceeds.  One kilogram of meat is US 2.2 pounds and it goes for US 2.80, or 1.40 per pound.  The vendors work at night to trap rats in bamboo cages and they trap about 10 to 20 kg (almost 50 pounds) of rats a night.   No word if anyone has gotten sick from eating rat.

Meanwhile in Hawai’I, the ratborne illness rat lungworm is projected to spread

Researchers at the University of Hawai’I at Manoa have discovered that rat lungworm has a large distribution in the state and most likely will expand into higher elevations as the climate warms.   We have previously written about rat lungworm as a parasite that is spread by rats in their feces, and carried by snails and slugs, freshwater shrimp, land crabs and frogs.  The parasite has been proliferating at an alarming rate due to modern food consumption trends and global transportation of food products.

The University of Hawai’I News elaborates on the importance of this study: “Using molecular techniques to screen almost 1,300 snails and slugs representing 37 species from almost 200 sites across the Hawaiian Islands, the team determined rat lungworm was present in numerous species of snails and slugs on five of the six largest islands (it may be present on all islands but just not detected). Further, rat lungworm tended to occur in warmer and rainier locations generally, but not exclusively, windward. Knowledge of where rat lungworm is or could be across the Hawaiian Islands is important from the perspective of prevention of human and animal infection.”   Because the parasite can be found in dirt, and snails and slugs crawl over garden vegetables, residents are encouraged to wash their produce before eating it and inspecting and washing greens carefully leaf by leaf to ensure no snails are on it.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, rat lungworm in the US is more widespread than we may think.

In addition to washing your food, eradicating rats is a must.  In conjunction with a sound rat prevention plan that includes exclusion, fixing any holes in your house, fixing doors and windows and screens, keeping your yard clean and garbage in sealed cans, and compost far away from the house using  reusable, environmentally friendly, humane industrialized traps  will go a long way to helping reduce the development of this parasite if everyone works together as a community and uses traps in their rat eradication program,  and will save you money over short product life consumer grade traps. 

We encourage any Pest Control Companies or Nuisance Wild life Control Operators to take our 1-minute rodent trap survey, doing so qualifies you for drawing of Hero GoPro 7 Black Camera on January 15th, 2019.   

Tags: Center for Disease Control, Eco Friendly, Environmental impact, Fenn Trap, Integrated Pest Management, Mk 4 Fenn Trap, MK6 Fenn Trap, National Pest Management Association, National Wildlife Control Operators Association, NPMA, NWCOA, Pest Control, PestWorld2019, Plastic Pollution, Pollution, Public Health, Rat infestation, Rat Lungworm, Rat Lungworm Disease, Rat Traps, Rats, Rodent Traps, Wildlife removal

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