Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Problem with Rats?

Recently, I've heard a couple of complaints from my friends about rats entering their houses. Its not a seasonal problem, but seems to have ocurred due to construction nearby or major movement of goods in the surroundings.

My first recommendation would be to get a cat to do the job for you. I find the rat problem here in Cairo much less than most metropolitan cities and my guess is that it is the feral cat population that keeps the rat (and also cockroach) population to a minimum. In most Indian cities,  the stray dog population is high and hence the feral cat population is low and the rat population is high. In cities like Bombay, I have seen rats bigger than the average cat in size and have actually seen 2 rats chasing a cat.  (The cat did not even have a chance)

A friend of mine recommended this poison in case you have a rat problem. She said to ask for "sim li firan" at the pharmacy. Its a grey powder that you need to sprinkle over a piece of food/fruit that the rat may like to nibble on. If you put  it on too thick, it may alert the rat to the presence of poison, so just a sprinkle. You may need to do this a couple of nights in a row, till the rat dies or stops coming back inside. She also says that this is quite a toxic product so to be very careful with how you handle it and to keep it out of the way from children and household pets. This supposedly causes internal bleeding in the rat.

There are rat traps available on some parts of the city, but I'm not sure where exactly.


Jaz said...

What I find amazing in Cairo is the way the stray dogs and cats seem to befriend each other! We had about 10 stray cats and about 5 dogs on our street, the same ones, and they used to hang out with each other and dive bins together. Unfortunately, with these guards, a couple of rats still managed to hang out in the hallways.

Another interesting thing I find about rats in Egypt is the word - 'far' used for mice and rats. Then they have the super big rat 3ersa. Sometimes people directly translate far as mouse and 3ersa as rat - and when I see a rat it's like "ahh a rat!!" and I get the reply "no no its just a mouse, far".

We used to live in Agamy in Alex, and although its a nice place someone was building a new flat and new lights etc. were being put into the adjacent street. There were SO many mosquitos, because of that.

Maryanne Stroud Gabbani said...

The 3ersa is actually a weasel, and to a certain extent, (like if you don't have any pet birds outdoors in cages with spaces large enough to admit a small weasel...and these can be pretty small) the weasel is your ally. Egypt has the small black rats (rattus rattus) that live in trees or make their nests on roofs and in some areas the larger Norwegian grey rats who make their nests underground. In the countryside near water sources there is the Nile rat that is technically not the same animal since it is a totally other species...but if it looks like a rat, walks like a rat, swims like a rat and squeaks like a rat...who cares. Nile rats don't live in the city, however.

The traps available are for some interesting reason live traps and you can find them in the old souq in Maadi or at a shop that sells items worked in metal, like barbecue grills. They are quite effective if you bait them with a chunk of banana, a bit of chicken, or maybe a bit of tomato....but then you have the fun of disposing of the rat. Sometimes an obliging boab will whack it for you...I live out in the boonies and have a pack of Rat Terriers who take care of disposal.

Kim said...

Wow Maryanne,

As always you are a Font of wisdom!

Thanks for all the information.

Forest Parks said...

I saw a Ferret bouncing down the road the other day in Dokki.... Someone (Egyptian friend) told me the Egyptian's call them Rats too? Do you know if he is right on this?

I hate poisoning any animal, can you get Have a Heart Traps in Cairo? I guess the biggest problem is that you would have to drive out to the desert to set them free.

Luckily I am rat-free thus far!



Related Posts with Thumbnails