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25 Jan, 2019 10:52

Rats running rampant in Rome as city suffers rodent population explosion

Rats running rampant in Rome as city suffers rodent population explosion

Horrifying colonies of rats have settled near the Vatican, Rome’s municipal council warned Thursday, as increasing numbers of rodent infestations pop up around Italy in an alarming threat to human health and hygiene.

The rat colonies are running rampant in different parts of Italy’s capital, with sightings in Castel Sant’Angelo and Cyprus, near the Vatican museums, which has suffered from the alarming infestation issue for more than a year, Radio Colonna reports.

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Locals have spotted rows of rats running brazenly around the streets, and there have even been reports of rodents inside people’s homes in recent weeks.

The Barberini cinema in Rome had to be evacuated and closed this week when a number of dead rats were found inside by school children on an outing. A rat was also spotted in Federico Caffè school in Fonteiana earlier this month.

“In Rome the rats no longer only frequent garbage bins, but they invade public places like cinemas, demonstrating that the situation in the city is degenerating,” Codacons consumer advocacy group president Carlo Rienzi told Radio Colonna.

Footage shared by il Messaggero shows a number of rats running across a sidewalk as onlookers watch in horror. The video was filmed on Via della Meloria, near St Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums.

“It is unthinkable that an entire colony of mice can run undisturbed on roads and sidewalks, putting at risk the health of citizens and offering a painful sight in the eyes of tourists,” Rienzi told il Messaggero.

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Rome has long had a rodent problem and its citizens are finally fed up. The recent increase in rodents on Rome’s streets has been blamed on the rubbish left outside thanks to an ineffective trash collection system. While the council has made a number of interventions to deal with the rat and mice infestations, rodents continue to rule the streets.

On Tuesday, a series of road signs depicting rats were hung outside the Cyprus metro station, where rat sightings have become a problem.

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Residents in Cesenate, in northern Italy, have also reported rat infestations, with some desperate locals resorting to calling the fire brigade to report “crazed” rodents in their homes. Rats were seen biting each other and jumping on cars, Sky TG24 reports, and many were killed by motorists as they scurried across roads.

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