Humans aren’t the only ones craving for the days they could dine out at their cities’ restaurants. Some rats that miss feasting on the scraps are becoming increasingly brazen to find new food sources, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Thursday.
Amid stay-home restrictions set across the country to battle the spread of the novel coronavirus, many restaurants and cafes are closed or limited to takeout and delivery. With the reduced sales, the restaurants’ trash bins are no longer overflowing with scrumptious leftovers hordes of rodents subsisted on. Critters have become more aggressive, prompting the CDC to issue guidance on how to deter them.
Since the start of the pandemic, there have been increased reports of rat cannibalism and infanticide in New York, as well as more rat complaints in residential areas — including in Chicago — as humans produce more food waste at home. Roving rat armies, including one caught on camera scavenging New Orleans’ empty streets, are concerning to the CDC, which says rodents can carry disease.
The CDC advises home and business owners to cover garbage cans, put bird and pet food out of reach and seal small holes rodents could access in buildings. According to the agency, if people follow established cleaning guidelines, they can avoid exposure to rodent-borne diseases.