The Netherlands has a rat problem, but no one is completely sure how bad it is. A combination of inefficient reporting and ineffective municipality policy means that in some major cities, there are more rats than people.
No collective counting system exists for the number of rats in the Netherlands, but what everyone agrees on is that there are far too many of them. I would personally argue that one rat is too many rats, but we’re talking far larger numbers of them here, unfortunately.
No one has been able to rat the rats out
There is no uniform system for dealing with rats in the Netherlands: the government has passed the responsibility to individual municipalities, who attempt to solve the problem, or don’t, in whatever way they choose. RIVM has attempted to create a Rat Monitor, a hotline for professional pest controllers, through which the total number of Dutch rats can be monitored. However, thus far, there haven’t been enough reports made to create an accurate picture of the rat problem.
Efforts to source this information from the public have also failed, but for a different reason. People are terrible witnesses, it seems, especially when it comes to rats. Someone who very rarely sees a rat is much more likely to report it than someone who sees rats all the time.
40 percent of municipalities have seen an increase in rat nuisance complaints
By combining municipality records and other knowledge centres on rat nuisance, NOS revealed that there were 10,000 reports of rat nuisance last year, and already 7,000 this year. NOS also found that out of the 190 municipalities they asked, 40 percent felt that the number of complaints about rat nuisance had increased.
Fewer rats are being poisoned, so get yourself a cat
Because the rules on rat poison have become stricter, the rat population is expected to continue increasing over the next couple of years. So, don’t leave your babies unattended, and get a cat. Even if cats aren’t particularly discerning about what they kill, having a furry predator in your corner could well be worth it if the rat population continues to grow.
Have you had any experiences with rats recently? Let us know in the comments below.
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