Date
26 September 2017
Rattus Norvegicus (inset), a species commonly seen in Hong Kong, can be host to many types of viruses, says an expert. Photos: HKEJ, Mingpao
Rattus Norvegicus (inset), a species commonly seen in Hong Kong, can be host to many types of viruses, says an expert. Photos: HKEJ, Mingpao

Adopting a rat? Not so fast, says pest expert

Adopting baby rats or setting the creatures free in an urban environment amounts to nothing but misplaced compassion, a pest expert says, arguing that the rodents need to be exterminated.

The comments came after woman in Hong Kong posted a picture of two baby rats online and asked if someone could adopt them. The woman said she found the creatures when she was doing some recycling work, and that she took pity on them and saved them.

The pictures then went viral, with most netizens commenting that the rats were disgusting and dreadful, Ming Pao Daily noted.

The woman said she had expected such responses, but pointed out that she was only being compassionate.

Later, she is said to have released the rats.

Peter Leung, chairman of the Pest Control Personnel Association of Hong Kong, said after looking at the picture of the rats that they could belong to Rattus Norvegicus, a species that is commonly seen in Hong Kong and is a major host of many types of vicious diseases.

There is no better option than to kill them, he said, adding that without proper quarantine no adoption should be conducted for any animal, let alone rats.

Freeing them is also very unwise because they proliferate very quickly and can cause harm to people’s health, he said. An adult rat can be as big as a cat and could be even capable of biting a cat to death, Leung said.

He urged anyone who catches rats to wrap them up in a black plastic bag and call the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department’s 1823 hotline for help.

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