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Rats at the beach?!
Now I know I’ve heard everything when I hear uninvited rats are cruising and bruising our pristine beaches.
Then again, when are rats ever invited to the beach—or anywhere, for that matter? Obviously, they decided to invite themselves.
I know of the rodents’ ongoing existence in New York City, but that’s a different place and environment entirely. Anyway, I didn’t see one rat on my recent trip to the Big Apple, and I even visited the subway. Like many of their northern human counterparts, do you think rats have decided to settle farther south?
Some people think rats make great pets. One time, years ago, I encountered a caged rat for sale in a Manhattan pet store. I asked one of the employees what kind of a pet a rat is supposed to be. Without missing a beat he promptly responded, “They can fetch yah papah and bring ya yah slippahs!”
So far, I see no signs of rats catching on as pets down South. At this point, maybe they should. I mean, somebody has to do something.
Rats have reportedly been an ongoing problem at Holden Beach, where a resident recently provided an update that dark-furred rodents are roaming the island, and they aren’t coming here to work on their tans. The rodent problem had previously been reported in the Beacon by correspondent Sarah Sue Ingram covering Holden Beach Town Council meetings. But I was hopeful the rats had worn out their welcome.
Well, apparently they haven’t.
The resident has been told these are some kind of newfangled New Age “vegetarian” rats. So the best defense to fend them off your property may be to stock more meat.
Why more rats?
The resident says it’s because “they took all our cats away”—managed colonies of feral cats that volunteers trap and have neutered and then set up at feeding stations.
“Pretty soon, it’s going to be called Rat Beach,” the Holden Beach woman says, after learning there’s nothing residents can do short of setting out their own traps.
Rat-packs have also been running on Sunset Beach, where town councilwoman Carol Scott has expressed concerns at town meetings about “cotton rats” invading the island.
She wondered if the new bridge would provide reason for the rodents to scamper over to the mainland, just like their human counterparts-on-wheels (or in jogging shoes).
I’m not sure whether rats appreciate use of the nice new high-rise bridge like we do, or whether they would opt to swim across the Intracoastal Waterway.
So far, I haven’t seen any rats skittering or dog-paddling across either one—have you? If you do, please get out your phone-camera and summon town hall at once. And don’t forget to send us copies of the photos.
Scott would like to see the town address this problem sooner rather than later. She wondered if adopting feral cats and “not killing black snakes” might help. It wouldn’t hurt, IMHO.
Contrast these ongoing rat problems with the scenario at Ocean Isle Beach, where Paws-Ability founder Janie Withers says neutered cats have been doing their thing to offset any issues there.
Rats, snakes and cockroaches are “things you don’t see when you have a healthy cat population,” Withers says.
If anyone has further issues and a need for help on this topic, Withers says she’ll be glad to help.
Personally, I’d rather have a cat than a rat any day.
Laura Lewis is a staff writer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or email email@example.com.