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‘Ratlehong’ plagued by rats

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Independent Newspapers

File picture: Willem Law

Johannesburg - An infestation of Norway rats on Gauteng's East Rand has become so bad that some Katlehong residents have nicknamed the area Ratlehong, the Sunday Times reports.

“They are as big as my size nine shoe... my two big dogs deal with them,” businessman Mlungisi Galawe told the newspaper.

“Other people throw them in the streets after killing them, which means one gets to see many dead rats daily.”

Ekurhuleni municipality spokesman Lebogang Ramashala said bigger rats were found in suburbs such as Edenvale, Rhodesfield, Birchleigh, and Birch Acres.

The newspaper reported the municipality was spending millions a year to fight the scourge.

University of Witwatersrand animal, plant and environment department Prof Graham Alexander said humans were to blame.

“We have depleted populations of other species that would have preyed on rats and better controlled their numbers.”

The Norway rat is the largest member of the mouse family.

University of Pretoria Prof Chris Chimimba said the Norway rat could easily weigh 500g.

“In Diepsloot, for example, the largest rat caught weighed 542,83g, while the largest rat that was caught in Alexandra weighed 462g,” he told the Sunday Times. - Sapa


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