Warning over ‘aggressive’ rats as pandemic starves creatures of food

black rat

Urban rats who normally dine out every night on waste from restaurants may display "unusual or aggressive" behaviour, experts have warned.

Rats which normally subsist on waste from rubbish bins have been observed eating their young, according to America's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In some areas, rats have been filmed swarming through normally busy streets in search of food, Science Alert reported.

The CDC warned, "Community-wide closures have led to a decrease in food available to rodents, especially in dense commercial areas.

"Some jurisdictions have reported an increase in rodent activity as rodents search for new sources of food.

"Environmental health and rodent control programs may see an increase in service requests related to rodents and reports of unusual or aggressive rodent behavior."

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Rats emerge during the pandemic
A rat sits in the road outside 10 Downing Street, the official residence of Britain's Prime Minister, in central London on May 12, 2020. - The British government on Monday published what it said was a "cautious roadmap" to ease the seven-week coronavirus lockdown in England, notably recommending people wear facemasks in some public settings. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Lisa Wiedemann, left, service manager with Rose Pest Solutions, places five dead rats into a plastic bag for disposal as Joe Kennington, center, certified technician and Scott Kaufman, account manager, look on after they check various traps behind a building in Chicago on April 17, 2020. (Photo by Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune/TNS/Sipa USA)
Lisa Wiedemann, service manager with Rose Pest Solutions, holds four dead juvenile rats and a dead adult rat as she checks various traps behind a building in Chicago on April 17, 2020. Rats in Chicago are on the move now that their usual food source may be drying up because of the stay-at-home order. (Photo by Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune/TNS/Sipa USA)
A rat sniffs for food at Klong Toei wet market in Bangkok on April 10, 2020 as Thailand's confinement measures to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus made their source of food more scarce. - As humans retreat indoors at night to fight a virus, Bangkok's streets are handed over to increasingly brazen rats who are venturing out across the Thai capital in huge numbers. (Photo by Mladen ANTONOV / AFP) (Photo by MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP via Getty Images)
A rat is seen as Chow Kit wet market was disinfected during the Movement Control Order, limiting the activities of people in Malaysia as a preventive measure against the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, in Kuala Lumpur on March 25, 2020. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP) (Photo by MOHD RASFAN/AFP via Getty Images)
A rodent looks out from a device with poisonous bait on Bourbon Street in New Orleans, Monday, March 23, 2020. Complicating New Orleans' fight against the new coronavirus spread, rats and mice are abandoning their hiding places in walls and rafters of shuttered businesses and venturing outside. On Bourbon Street, workers in protective clothing placed poisonous bait in storm drains and set out traps. "Unfortunately, what's happening is, many of these rodents are looking for an alternative food source," Claudia Riegel, the city's pest control director, said Monday. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
A rat sniffs for food in front of a sitting man and his dog at Klong Toei wet market in Bangkok on April 10, 2020 as Thailand's confinement measures to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus made their source of food more scarce. - As humans retreat indoors at night to fight a virus, Bangkok's streets are handed over to increasingly brazen rats who are venturing out across the Thai capital in huge numbers. (Photo by Mladen ANTONOV / AFP) (Photo by MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP via Getty Images)
A rat sniffs for food at Klong Toei wet market in Bangkok on April 10, 2020 as Thailand's confinement measures to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus made their source of food more scarce. - As humans retreat indoors at night to fight a virus, Bangkok's streets are handed over to increasingly brazen rats who are venturing out across the Thai capital in huge numbers. (Photo by Mladen ANTONOV / AFP) (Photo by MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP via Getty Images)
A rat sniffs for food at Klong Toei wet market in Bangkok on April 10, 2020 as Thailand's confinement measures to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus made their source of food more scarce. - As humans retreat indoors at night to fight a virus, Bangkok's streets are handed over to increasingly brazen rats who are venturing out across the Thai capital in huge numbers. (Photo by Mladen ANTONOV / AFP) (Photo by MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP via Getty Images)
A rat sniffs for food at Klong Toei wet market in Bangkok on April 10, 2020 as Thailand's confinement measures to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus made their source of food more scarce. - As humans retreat indoors at night to fight a virus, Bangkok's streets are handed over to increasingly brazen rats who are venturing out across the Thai capital in huge numbers. (Photo by Mladen ANTONOV / AFP) (Photo by MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP via Getty Images)
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The agency advised home-owners to take measures to stop rats being attracted to homes, the Guardian reported.

The CDC advised, "sealing up access into homes and businesses, removing debris and heavy vegetation, keeping garbage in tightly covered bins, and removing pet and bird food from their yards."

In Britain, people have reported rats sneaking into homes to find food.

They added early hoarding of supermarket items may have also attracted rats to people's properties.

Natalie Bungay, technical officer for the British Pest Control Association (BPCA), said: "With less footfall across cities and towns there is less associated food waste being left in bins and on the floor.

"As a result, rat populations are likely to move further afield to satisfy their need for a food source and this, in turn, is likely to cause more sightings.

"By nature, rats will also try to avoid humans directly and so, with less of us walking the streets, they may be getting a little bolder and possibly be seen in areas they normally wouldn't."

Locals in New York have reported cannibalism and infanticide among rats.

Rat expert Bobby Corrigan told The Washington Post that a local had sent him a photo of the aftermath of a rat battle in New York.

Corrigan said that a hungry nest of rats had devoured each other, leaving only a pile of rat limbs on the pavement.

Corrigan said, '"Many of these rats in our cities depend on their nightly food, which is the restaurants and hotels and bars and doughnut shops and everything that we consume on the go."

- This article first appeared on Yahoo

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