For every one person in Prague, there are four or five rats. The removal of these rats costs the city millions every year.
Every year brings another endless battle between pest control and the rats of the city. Experts have estimated that for every one person in Prague, there are four or five of these unwanted four-legged inhabitants.
The most infested places are around Rokytka and Botič
One institution that has to deal with these pests, in particular, is Prague Water Supply and Sewerage (PVK). “This year we have prepared 13.5 thousand pounds of bait,” said PVK spokesman Tomáš Mrázek.
“The most infested places are around Rokytka and Botič. Generally, however, these rats can be found wherever there is a mess created by people” states Mrázek.
PVK’s pest control use poisoned bait, such as breadcrumbs, scraps, corn, chocolate, and fat, that contains an active ingredient which kills the rats. “The number of rats exterminated cannot be accurately determined through this method though,” Mrázek said.
However, new methods of pest control allow you to calculate more precisely the indent being made on the rat population. One notable method is the Danish system of so-called ‘intelligent traps’ that not only lures rats in but also immediately kills them, which is more humane than the prolonged death that comes with poisoning. In addition to this, the trap immediately informs the owner of the device electronically.
“The overpopulation of rodents endangers both humans and other animals, and if we have to exterminate rats, we should choose to do so in a quick and painless way” states Vedran Tvrtkovic, who introduced this new rat fighting system to the Czech Republic. “Disposal is immediate, so it is not necessary to wait five to nine days after the initial poisoning which allows the careless and distressed mammal to commit further damage” he continues.
According to Tvrtkovic, this ‘intelligent trap’ system will be used by institutions that must meet very strict hygienic standards, such as hospitals and food companies. However, PVK feels that the traditional methods are still sufficient.
Food in the sewers
According to PVK Hygienists, around five million CZK was spent on pest control last year, which is 1.5 million CZK more than the year before.
As unwanted as they may be, the rats are unfortunately here to stay. How many rats, however, depends not only on pest control but also on the citizens of Prague and their behaviour. “If people continue to throw food into the sewers, they will continue to feed the rats in the sewerage system. If people litter, this will also attract rats to the streets” added Mrázek.
Author: Holly Webb