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Rat found in Ghent classroom

A kindergartener found a rat amongst toys at his school in Ghent this week.  The Freinet School De Harp has been having problems with rats since works were carried out on sewers in the neighbourhood.

Elke Decruynaere is Ghent alderwoman for education: “The school responded from the outset.  Experts on the eradication of vermin were brought in and poison was used.  A search was undertaken to find the nests but it’s not a problem you can sort just like that”.

The works on the local sewerage system may be to blame: “In such cases the animals look for a different home.  The food readily available in the urban environment also attracts the animals.  The pandemic means windows are often open” explains the alderwoman.

Ms Decruynaere believes the rat found in the classroom had probably consumed poison and was weak.

“It’s not acceptable.  We will have to see what extra safety measures are needed.  Safety and health of the children is paramount”.

The school is fed up with the situation.  The alderwoman notes it’s not the school’s job to deal with the rats, but a matter for the vermin control people.  They visited the school every week in March.

The school won’t have to close due to this incident and has already taken extra action: a compost heap has been removed and holes and gaps are being filled in. 

Rat poison usually takes several days to work.  It makes the animals passive and sedates them. Normally rats are shy animals that shun humans.   The fact that they are becoming more visible may be due to rat poisoning.

Gentians, who notice rats, can call in the municipal vermin control service that is a free service. 

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