WEST Perth has been overrun by an infestation of “giant” rats which locals say are running wild and wreaking havoc.
In January Vincent council issued a notice warning residents about a rodent “epidemic” plaguing the areas surrounding Carr Place, Leederville and Kingston Avenue, West Perth.
The flyer urged people to bait their premises and to keep them “clean, tidy and free from overgrown vegetation or any accumulated items”.
However, four months on locals are saying the swarm of rodents has got worse.
“It’s that horrific squeaking that creeps me out,” says Newcastle Street resident Priya Kapoor.
“I will often hear it when I take my rubbish out to the bins and I just know there’s a rat lurking around.
“One time I saw this giant one feasting on someone’s scraps that had fallen out from the bin — it was disgusting.”
Kingston Avenue’s Carl Moretti says the “large” rats seemed to have made the area “their new home”.
“I park my car on the curb and I always see at least one or two rats running around on the street.
“It seems to be getting worse and I reckon there are a lot more hanging around now than ever before.”
James Lowrie, owner of Pest Co. WA, says the rat population is “steadily growing” in West Perth and other inner-city suburbs.
“Businesses and residents not placing rubbish in bins or leaving lids open are an easy food source and vacant and neglected properties are good nesting areas,” he says.
“With the right conditions a female rat can mate about 15 times per year.
“A pair of brown rats can produce as many as 2000 descendants a year if left to breed unchecked.
“It doesn’t take long for numbers to explode.”
Vincent Council CEO Len Kosova says rats are “opportunistic critters” that will “make the most of any food, water and shelter they find”.
“Eliminating those things is often key to tackling the problem,” he says.
“We can provide residents with a one-off portion of rat baits free of charge.
“The city plays its part by making sure our public places like streets, parks and laneways are cleaned and maintained to not harbor or attract rats.”
Free rat baits can be obtained from Vincent council offices in Leederville (remember to bring proof of residency).
By JASMINE KAZLAUSKAS