logo Burngreave Messenger Issue 29 March 2003





Boomtown Rats!

Sheffield City Council's Parks, Woodlands and Countryside Service and the Friends of Osgathorpe Park are calling on all local people to help tackle the growing number of rats in Osgathorpe Park.

Rats are thriving because food, particularly bread waste, is being left outdoors. Some of this food is intended for birds but unfortunately the rats are feasting on the leftovers.

Rats are considered vermin because of their harmful effects upon humans. They can transmit diseases, such as Weil's disease, which can be caught by contact with water or moist soil containing rat urine, and Salmonella. Both of these diseases cause sickness, diarrhoea, headaches and fever. Parasites carried and passed on by rats include ringworm, mites, tapeworm, ticks and fleas.

The current rat problem is being dealt with by the Parks, Woodlands and Countryside Service. Please help to make your area a cleaner and healthier place to live by ensuring that you put any food waste in a bin.

For more information, contact Paul Tankard, Parks Officer,
telephone 0114 273 6954.

Rodents on the move
There were also complaints of a 'mouse and rat epidemic' at the BCAF Quarterly forum. A resident said empty properties were breeding grounds, action should be taken before the Council knocks them down otherwise the rats flee to neighbouring houses and gardens. Jean Burley, area housing manager promised to raise this with Environmental Services.

Feed the birds but not the rats
Feed birds using a hanging feeder or a bird table, not the floor. Ground feeding birds should be able to use a table, and food on the floor will attract rats. If you do have rats, it's because they have found a source of food. Unless you're sure that they can't get at your bird food, it's best to stop feeding the birds for a while - the rats will move on, and then you can begin feeding again.