Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

I Suffered a Rat Attack; in Britain, Rats Now Outnumber Humans for the First Time. Here, One Writer Tells of Her Horror at Discovering Rotting Rodents in Her Home

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

I Suffered a Rat Attack; in Britain, Rats Now Outnumber Humans for the First Time. Here, One Writer Tells of Her Horror at Discovering Rotting Rodents in Her Home

Article excerpt

Byline: AMANDA LYNCH

HAVE you ever found a dead rat in your fridge? I have.

It wasn't actually in the fridge, but nestled in the motor at the back. It was huge - the size of a small dog - and despite the fact that it was starting to decompose, I could still make out its hideous, pointy ears. And that's not all - there was another one in the lagging around the boiler.

It had all started when we noticed a terrible smell downstairs. For two days, my husband, Tom, and I went crazy trying to locate the source. We poured gallons of bleach down the sink and searched high and low in case the dog or our small son, Stanley, had left something untoward under the furniture. Nothing.

Then, our very nice neighbour knocked on our door and explained she had had "a" rat. The council had laid down poison and said that our house should also be treated as we lived in a semidetached. The poor thing was incredibly embarrassed - it was a bit like catching an STD and being forced to contact your previous partners to tell them the bad news.

So, the stench was the smell of rotting flesh. A rat had gobbled the poison next door and then run underneath the foundations to expire under our floorboards. We were overwhelmed by feelings of shame, disgust and denial.

Was I a slob? Why us? Our home isn't a filthy hovel. It's a 1930s semidetached in Kensal Rise with beautiful stripped wooden floors. The rubbish always goes straight into the wheelie bin. We even have a cleaner, for heaven's sake.

We conducted a fingertip search of the house and were starting to feel quite hopeful ... until we got to the cupboard under the stairs, where we found rat droppings.

We went into a frenzy of cleaning and disinfecting. My husband nearly poisoned us all when he didn't read the instructions on a bottle of Jeyes Fluid (do not use undiluted). We stayed awake most of that night with streaming eyes and the windows wide open to the cold.

Then the nice pest-control man came.

To my horror, I learned that rats spread Weil's disease (fatal), murine typhus and salmonella, and they are endemic in London. Even the Queen had rats at Buckingham Palace last year. …

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