‘Essential to act!’ Spanish authorities issue urgent warning over invasion of black rats

Environmentalists have issued a warning concerning colonies of black rats, which are said to be spreading through Spain’s main cities. The rats could infect both humans and pets with lethal diseases.

Anecpla has warned the public that although black rats usually prefer parks and gardens, they often build their nests in trees, making it hard to distinguish them from birds’ nests.

They also nest on rooftops and attics, moving with agility through branches and popes.

Sergio Monge, President of Anecpla commented: “Until now, both environmental health companies and municipal prevention plans were specialised in sewer rats – the treatment of which is carried out inside the sewer system.

“However, with the black rat, we are faced with specimens that move in gardens and green areas, near schools and playgrounds, with an intense traffic of people and domestic animals, which greatly complicates their management.

Pets should also be vaccinated against the bacteria named Leptospira.

Adult black rats can weigh anything between 150 and 250 grams, measuring between 16 and 22 centimetres, including their tail.

The rats are extremely agile and can produce up to six litters a year, each producing up to 18 babies.

The black rat is included in the Spanish Catalogue of Invasive Exotic Species.

Additional reporting by Rita Sobot.


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