Oh, Rats: Social Distancing Leads To Aggressive Behavior In Rodents
How does a global pandemic affect wild animal populations? With the majority of humans living on lock-down, everything changes for animals, too.
By now you’ve probably seen Great Orme goats roaming undisturbed in a Welsh town or boars taking to the streets of Barcelona. All the while, humans are inside, busily creating memes to illustrate just how much better the outside world is for wild animals without us in it.
Do many species flourish with less air and noise pollution? Absolutely. But when it comes to rats, things are getting ugly out there. Restaurants across the globe have closed indefinitely, patrons aren’t throwing away leftovers in public trash bins, and pickings are slim. With the lack of refuse, rats are desperate for food. Rodentologists know that when rats are starving, they will resort to fighting for food sources, cannibalism, and even infanticide. But anyone who’s ever been truly hangry after just missing a meal or two can probably just imagine how dire the situation is.
Recently, Charles Marsala’s video of an almost silent Bourbon Street in New Orleans went viral. In it, you see only one human, but you see twenty or so rats seeking some kind of sustenance. No doubt, the video is alarming. The public may or may not realize these rodents are always there, but exist mostly in the shadows and out of sight.
Social distancing measures are working to slow the spread of Covid-19, but as rodents are forced to find for new sources of food, they will undoubtedly look to our homes and yards. Will you be ready?