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Rats! Even Cats Steer Clear of Town’s Rodents

From Associated Press

Rats that infested a village in northern Mexico have outlasted the cats sent to scare them away and discouraged the men who were sent to hunt them down.

Now at least one official says that since nothing else has worked, residents will have to learn to live with the rodents.

The desperate residents of Atascaderos, an isolated farm village in the rugged Tarahumara mountains, appealed to Chihuahua state authorities for help more than a month ago, saying rodents had infested at least 800 homes. Officials estimate the rat population in the area at 250,000.

“It’s impossible to exterminate them completely and, at this point, they [the villagers] are going to have to take charge and learn to control them,” said Alberto Lafon, a infestation expert at the University of Chihuahua .

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Authorities announced recently that they would send in up to 700 cats for a frontal attack on the rats, but only 50 were gathered and some died shortly after arriving. Attempts to poison the rats had little success.

The mayor then offered 40 cents for each dead rodent. That plan was withdrawn after concerns that children, in trying to qualify for the reward, would try to kill the rats and get bitten.

Lafon said authorities will concentrate on educating people about public health measures.


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