North Attleborough seeing uptick in rat sightings


NORTH ATTLEBOROUGH, Mass. (WPRI) – The North Attleborough Health Department is asking residents to help get a recent increase in the rat population under control.

The town has been receiving five to six complaints from councils per month. Town Health Agent Sheri Miller-Bedau said they’ve mostly been spotted along Route 1 and in farmland areas, even making appearances inside some homes.

Sanitation is “huge” in eradicating the pests, according to Miller-Bedau. She said the town is asking residents to take steps to keep rats off their properties.

She suggested taking out the trash on pickup day to avoid leaving it out the night before. Ensuring trash bags don’t have holes and are placed in sealed dumpsters can also help prevent rats from getting inside.

Residents should remove any standing water, like rain buckets, from outside their homes.

Miller-Bedau said rodents are attracted to seeds and fecal matter, so chicken coops and bird feeders can be targets.

There are also steps people can take in their yard: keeping grass cut, avoiding piles of clippings, and getting rid of stored junk can keep the rodents off the property.

A side effect of the rise in rats is secondary poisoning, which can affect dogs, cats, foxes and other animals.

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A suspected cause of increased rat sightings is construction, which displaces colonies and forces them to find new areas to harbor in.

When asked if the situation can be considered an “infestation,” Miller-Bedau said the town is “not there yet” since the rats aren’t in every part of town.

“I just want to make sure it doesn’t escalate,” Miller-Bedau added.

As of Thursday, there were no cases of disease linked to the rats in North Attleborough, according to Miller-Bedau.

The Health Department doesn’t know how long it will take to exterminate the rats, but said it could take months.

Anyone who spots a rat in North Attleborough is asked to call the Health Department at (508) 699-0103 to report it.


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