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Salem Health Agent Details City's Rat Problem

Salem's Health Agent discussed the city's pesky rat problem at Thursday night's City Council meeting.

City Council President Jerry Ryan may have said it best Thursday night when he joked that right now in Salem, "there are rats all over the place."

And according to the city's Health Agent, Larry Ramdin, a larger rat population is a problem facing cities and towns across the Northeast - thanks in part to last year's unusually warm winter.

Ramdin was on hand for the council's meeting at City Hall Thursday night to explain a in the Board of Health's rodent control budget.

"There has been a significant increase in the rodent population throughout the Northeast and my research tells me as far west as Chicago," Ramdin said.

In addition to baiting local storm drains, Ramdin said health department employees have been raising awareness about day-to-day measures city residents can take to help curb Salem's rat population.

Although he expects this recent stretch of frigid weather will help eliminate some of the city's rats, Ramdin told council members that Board of Health will still need money in their budget for when warmer weather returns.

The funding request was unanimously approved.

Here are some recent reader comments about Salem's rat problem:

Lucia Coale: yup...$350 later on exterminators, and still had them... pretty gross to clean up after when a trap actually works... never had them before - just this year...

Cwheels: Rats are pretty intelligent, they wont go nuts on a new food source. They take a nibble and move on,if they get sick they never come back. that's why the bait blocks the pros use rarely work.

chester suchecki: anytime you have waterfont construction you drive the rats out of their natural habitat. salems ferry pier has been under construction for some time now and the rats have to eat so they turn to the local neighborhoods for food. humans created the problem now we want them to go away. was the big dig any different in boston? why doesnt the health department consult with them about it before asking for more money? cant the animal control officer handle his job that he is never there for?

Carolyn Costain: The Salem rat problem from Bridge st to Howard st. to the common seemed to get worse when they built the By-pass road and were digging up Bridge street. I've seen live and dead rats the size of a medium cat. I use to visit a friend in that area and in the summer it's bad!

We also received dozens of comments on our Salem Patch Facebook Page.

Have you seen more rats in your neighborhood this year? 

Let us know in the comments section below.

Diane Britter January 25, 2013 at 12:31 PM
I saw a rat on Howard Street and it was as big as a groundhog. How come nobody is talking about the skunk problem as well? When the warmer weather comes the skunks are EVERYWHERE. When I walk my dog on trash day I'm constantly having to be on alert as the skunks get into the trash. The commons is teaming with them. One morning I counted 5 skunks when walking my dog around the commons.
Carolyn Costain January 25, 2013 at 04:32 PM
Diane, on Howard st. there actually is a groundhog, I've seen it close up many times. I also seen a dead rat sticking out of a hole in the ground that I believe was the groundhogs tunnel the rat could barely fit it was huge. The rats are not a new problem as city hall would like to claim. Its been a problem for 4 to 5 years now in that area. You are also right about the skunks. I rarely take my dog to the common because of the skunk population but the Willow are the worst. I don't go there anymore. On just one walkway near the water side, I counter 17 skunks and turned around and left . I have not been back there since.
Bob January 25, 2013 at 09:25 PM
It's a stinky situation. Rats, skunks, mice, and dogs barking at all hrs and what about those turkeys and geese. But knowing the stupid laws if you kill a rat or a skunk you will be seen by a nosey nieghbor who will call the cops and they will arrest you for abuse of animals.
Donnie January 27, 2013 at 04:18 AM
Did you know Rats eat dog waste. Call the Health Department when you see a dog walker promoting their pet to mess in public. Even if the owner picks up, the Rat is attracted to the odor. Dog waste, a very serious health problem to all of us.

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