Rats! Restaurants that closed or scaled back during the coronavirus pandemic have riled up hungry rodents, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned.
Lockdown measures to curb COVID-19 have created a food shortage for the vermin, and people should be prepared to confront the desperate critters.
“Environmental health and rodent control programs may see an increase in service requests related to rodents and reports of unusual or aggressive rodent behavior,” the CDC wrote in a bulletin last week.
The agency urged residents and business owners to seal up points of entry and keep trash cans firmly closed.
And as if we didn’t already have enough to worry about, the CDC cautioned against rodent-borne diseases.
“Follow established guidelines when cleaning up after rodent infestations to prevent exposure to rodent-borne diseases,” the advisory said. “Fleas are common on rodents. In areas of heavy rodent infestations, workers should consider using a repellent registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.”
Reports of possible rat army wars and rat cannibalism have emerged, as the pests have been essentially cut off from their street buffets during shelter-in-place orders.
“They’re mammals just like you and I, and so when you’re really, really hungry, you’re not going to act the same — you’re going to act very bad, usually,” urban rodentologist Bobby Corrigan told NBC News last month. “So these rats are fighting with one another, now the adults are killing the young in the nest and cannibalizing the pups.”