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There’s Something Rodent in Del Mar, According to Census

Del Mar is truly the elitist community that its envious north San Diego County neighbors say it is, no one told the varmints that have established residence here from Sandy Lane to Torrey Pines Terrace.

Del Mar’s rat population underwent an official census recently by county vector control manager Moise Mizrahi. Based on a 27-block survey, the verdict is that 22% of Del Mar’s households have rats. When absent or uncooperative householders are factored in, the figure is more realistically set by Mizrahi as high as 41%.

The bottom line on the city-ordered study is a recommendation for a $40,000 eradication and education program, and $30,000 annual follow-ups.

None of the inspectors who poked around in the ice plant and eaves of 437 Del Mar “premises” confronted a roof rat ( Rattus rattus ), but the evidence was overwhelming. Uptown, downtown, on the beach and up the hill, roof rats reside, usually hanging out in dense vegetation that residents call landscaping, or in improperly stacked woodpiles, thorny tangles of bougainvillea, under the house, on it or even in it.

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Experts disagree on why the common variety of rat is called a roof rat, but all agree that the patter of little feet on the roof is more likely to be a rat than a reindeer.

Droppings, rat-size nests and branch cuttings peculiar to roof rats were all the evidence Mizrahi needed for the announcement that “the rat problem in the city of Del Mar is heavy and must be dealt with.”

In a finger-shaking report, Mizrahi noted that 56%, or 246 of the 437 Del Mar properties inspected, had “rat harborages"--the makings of a cozy abode for the rodents. Twenty-two percent, or 98 of the 437 homes, also had one or more food sources such as fruit trees, dog food dishes and unlidded garbage cans on the property. And 21 of the 67 sewer manhole covers inspected showed evidence of roof rat activity, he reported.


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