Pet Rat Questions and Answers from Yahoo Answers!
BEIJING, China â€”Â Chinese police have broken up a criminal ring accused of taking meat from rats and foxes and selling it as lamb in the country’s latest food safety scandal.
The Ministry of Public Security released results of a three-month crackdown on food safety violators, saying in a statement that authorities investigated more than 380 cases and arrested 904 suspects.
Among those arrested were 63 people who allegedly ran an operation in Shanghai and the coastal city of Wuxi that bought fox, mink, rat and other meat that had not been tested for quality and safety, processed it with additives like gelatin and passed it off as lamb.
The meat was sold to farmers’ markets in Jiangsu province and Shanghai, it said.
Despite years of food scandals â€” from milk contaminated with an industrial chemical to the use of industrial dyes in eggs â€” China has been unable to clean up its food supply chain.
The announcement came as China’s top court on Friday issued guidelines calling for harsher punishment for making and selling unsafe food products in the latest response to tainted food scandals that have angered the public.
The Supreme People’s Court said the guidelines will list as crimes specific acts such as the sale of food excessively laced with chemicals or made from animals that have died from disease or unknown causes.
China’s penal code, which forbids unsafe and poisonous food, does not specify what acts are considered in violation of the law.
Adulterating baby food so that it severely lacks nutrition is also punishable as a crime under the guidelines. Negligent government food inspectors are also targeted for criminal punishment.
The supreme court said 2,088 people have been prosecuted in 2010-2012 in 1,533 food safety cases. It said the number of such cases has grown exponentially in the past several years. For example, Chinese courts prosecuted 861 cases of poisonous food in 2012, compared to 80 cases in 2010.
“The situation is really grave and has indeed caused great harm to the people,” Pei Xianding, a supreme court judge, told a news conference.
“We cannot tolerate it any longer. We must punish the criminals severely, or we cannot answer to our people,” Pei said.
The mere rumor of a mountain lion sighting in the suburbs merits front-page news. Pet owners fret about coyotes and birds of prey. But what’s worse than having a skunk living under your front porch?
How about a mama skunk and her litter of a half-dozen little stinkers? Not that the additional smell makes much difference.
“One skunk usually is sufficient,” subtly notes Laura Kammin, manager of the Living With Wildlife in Illinois website run by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. From now until maybe the middle of June, skunks give birth to between four and 10 members of the next generation of skunks, and some do so from a comfy spot around your house. While many critters are picky about where they make their homes, skunks are “habitat generalists” and not too persnickety, Kammin says.
Or maybe skunks are just lazy, suggests Brandon Kulosa, president of Animal Trackers Wildlife Co. of Hoffman Estates, which removes nuisance animals throughout the suburbs and has a contract with the village of Hoffman Estates.
“A groundhog will make the equivalent of a three-quarters-of-a-million-dollar mansion with two or three rooms,” Kulosa says. “The skunk will stop after three shovelfuls.”
Skunks often move into a groundhog’s abandoned burrow, Kammin says. But this spring has increased the real estate options for skunks, or Mephitis mephitis, a species so ripe they named it twice.
“All the rain we’ve had makes the ground softer, and it’s easier for them to dig a burrow,” Kammin says.
Our lush suburban yards serve as delicatessens for the odoriferous omnivores, which eat grubs, grasshoppers, beetles, bees, some plants and even mice, rats, baby rabbits, bird eggs and birds.
“In the urban environments, you may very well find them eating on garbage and pet food,” Kammin says. “They especially like the canned cat food.”
A decade ago, a rabies epidemic knocked down the skunk population, but “over the past two or three years or so, the skunk populations have been higher,” says Tim Preuss, wildlife biologist with the Lake County Forest Preserve District. “We typically get more skunk calls.”
While government agencies provide tips to make homes less attractive to skunks, they don’t offer removal services.
In the wild, the skunk’s predators include great horned owls, coyotes, badgers, foxes and bobcats. In the suburbs, skunks are most likely to be done in by a Toyota Camry, a Ford Escape or some animal-control service. It is illegal to trap a skunk or other fur-bearing animal in the suburbs without qualifying for a Nuisance Animal Removal Permit from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, which recommends that you hire a professional instead. “People are hesitant to deal with skunks on their own,” Preuss says.
As required by law in this state, where permitted trappers can sell skunk pelts, all commercial trappers must euthanize the skunks, which are still thought to be possible rabies carriers.
Animal Trackers Wildlife Co. uses cage traps to catch skunks alive as they leave their burrows. To limit the range of a trapped skunk’s spray, the cages are lined with cardboard. “Political signs are perfect,” Kulosa says. But not foolproof. About half the caught skunks try to spray their stink on Kulosa, his partner Tony Miltz, or the inside of their truck. Does that make their truck stink?
“Yes, but it also has an odor of feces and urine,” quips Kulosa, who adds that thorough cleanings are frequent.
The best way to remove the skunk spray from a vehicle, your deck or a once-curious family pet is a mixture of one quart of hydrogen peroxide, one-quarter cup of baking soda and one teaspoon of liquid soap with no water, Kammin says.
“The fur might lighten up a little bit because of the peroxide, but you probably don’t care as much if he doesn’t stink anymore,” Kammin says.
“I’ve been sprayed many times,” admits Kulosa, who says stories that a skunk won’t spray if it can’t see you or can’t lift its tail are myths. The best way to get rid of the stink is just to put the sprayed items (or pet) in direct sunlight, which works better that smell-removing products, Kulosa says.
Euthanizing the skunks may sound cruel, but those deaths (usually by toxic gas) are considered a humane alternative to the cruel fate of wild animals relocated in strange new areas filled with new predators and other surprises.
In a few more weeks, skunks will be finished nesting with their litters. That’s when the real busy season for skunk trapping begins, Kulosa says.
“Once the forest preserves are full of skunks, the young skunks have to move out,” Kammin says. “So where they move is our backyard.”
Unless they are eaten by a suburban mountain lion.
Article source: http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20130516/news/705169949
SAN DIEGO, May 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — While most people come home to curl up with their dogs or cats, an estimated 500 thousand Americans come home to pet rats. It may be surprising to learn that rats are rather social creatures and actually love to snuggle and crave company – either in the form of other rats or their lucky pet parents. To learn more about these great cuddle buddies and how to care for their physical, mental, social and emotional needs, attend any of the Petco™ free, family-friendly Meet the Critters events taking place nationwide May 18-19, 2013 from 1 p.m. – 2 p.m.
Below are five reasons why rats make great companions:
- They’re appreciative: While spending time with their pet parents, rats may grind their teeth in something called “bruxing.” Reasons for bruxing are similar to why cats purr – they’re emotionally happy!
- They’re considerate: Rats have been known to travel in packs and like to be socially engaged. They may even take care of their sick or injured friends.
- They’re clean: Rats like to stay clean, and to keep physically fit they will comb their hair and help a friend out at the same time by using their teeth to help them stay attractive.
- They’re likely to remember pet parents: Rats have been kept as pets since the early 19th century and are considered the most intelligent rodent for being able to learn simple behaviors such as recognizing faces they see often. Attendees of the family-friendly “Meet the Critters” event can learn more about how to keep rats mentally alert.
- They’re engaging: Pet rats enjoy climbing up and down their habitats, but they also enjoy out-of-cage time. Keep rats physically fit by allowing them to run around in an exercise ball to get some energy out.
Caring for rats can be a fun and unique experience! However, parental supervision is recommended for pet parents under 12. For more information on this month’s “Meet the Critters” event visit www.petco.com/kids.
Petco is a leading pet specialty retailer that provides the products, services and advice that make it easier for our customers to be great pet parents. Everything we do is guided by our vision for Healthier Pets. Happier People. Better World. We operate more than 1,200 stores nationwide and in Puerto Rico, including more than 50 Unleashed by Petco locations, a smaller format neighborhood shop, and www.petco.com. The Petco Foundation, an independent nonprofit organization, has raised more than $110 million since it was created in 1999 to help promote and improve the welfare of companion animals. In conjunction with the Foundation, we work with and support thousands of local animal welfare groups across the country and, through in-store adoption events, help find homes for more than 350,000 animals every year.
COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah – A Cottonwood Heights man gets to temporarily keep possession of his large collection of exotic snakes in his home, but the neighbors who complained originally are still upset.
Thomas Cobb was cited for having 29 boa constrictors and 80 rats in his home without an exotic pet permit, but the city agreed to investigate further and granted him an extension.
But neighbor Tobi Paulos says there is a bad smell coming from Cobb’s home and that Cobb washes his snake bins out in his gutter.
“I live in a neighborhood…a residential neighborhood that is not zoned for that. And he was animal farming, with raising these rats and feeding them to his snakes, and keeping them in his garage. It’s a public nuisance,” Paulos said.
Cobb has since obtained an exotic animal permit and says he’s offered to teach Paulos about the snakes, but she’s refused.
“It’s personal property. It’s not a danger to anybody. It’s like someone collecting mug sets or spoons from every state. They’re not exhibited to the public. They don’t come outside. They’re in a controlled environment, as has been stated several times,” Cobb said.
Cobb says he’s received threats and has had to install a surveillance system.
The Cottonwood Heights City Council will hear from neighbors concerned about Cobb’s collection of snakes.
Cottonwood Heights home has 29 snakes, 80 rats
And when they happen in public places, and people have camera phones, rats go viral. They scurry through social media. They’re the Kardashians of pests.
A video of rats picnicking around pizza boxes at the popular 13th and Locust Green Eggs Café last Sunday exploded on Twitter and blogs. The video aired on local newscasts, repeatedly. It became the talk of the town, Internet, radio shows. Many comments were as nasty as the subject.
Chances are you had a better week than Stephen Slaughter. Said the managing partner of the Green Eggs Cafés, “This is not something I ever want to relive again.”
His newest location, which opened in April 2012, closed immediately. Business dropped by half at his cafés in South Philly and Northern Liberties. This is the damage rodents, abetted by video, can do.
“Wherever there are people, specifically people’s food, there are rats,” explained Raymond Delaney, who manages the city Public Health Department’s Vector Control program. Delaney kindly met me with three of his colleagues at the city’s top site for rats.
Yes, the city’s toniest village green, its sumptuous lounge, and home to elegant multimillion-dollar homes. And rats.
Vector Control comes to the square two or three times a week year-round, in part because the park’s popularity rarely wanes.
“It’s the people feeding themselves and the animals,” Delaney said. “When they feed the squirrels, they’re also feeding the rats.”
His advice: Don’t feed either.
In the southwest corner near the bronze billy goat statue, Lawrence Credle shoved half a cup of rat-poison pellets through PVC pipe deep into eight burrows while we spoke. The shadow of a brown Norway rat – that’s our national rat – bustled behind the garden shed’s ivy.
Rats are not known for their discriminating palates. They eat high and low, T-bones, cold pizza, and, well, matters best not discussed at the breakfast table or elsewhere. Put it this way: They are nature’s true omnivores, and, if you didn’t think they were disgusting enough, cannibals.
However, they no longer spread the plague. In the early 20th century, the city Department of Health and Charities accepted 5 cents for live vermin, 2 cents for dead at the Rat Receiving Station at the Race Street Pier. Today, the concern is salmonella – “the sewers are their highways,” Delaney said – and rat-bite fever. “We get calls about five or six rat bites a year,” said supervisor Rosalie Neris who, as a teenager, kept a pet rat.
Rats procreate all year long, gestate in less than a month, as many as six times a year, with litters of six to 10 pups. They live a year. They have been videoed on the White House lawn. New York City subways are so overrun – poison failed that the Metropolitan Transit Authority is now trying sterilization.
During the last two years, Philadelphia’s rat population has remained fairly constant. Or rather the complaints have been, almost 800 for May. Sightings peak in the summer, when more people – and food – are outside.
Vector Control responds only to residential and public properties. A different health division, Food Protection, inspects restaurants. Rats and mosquitoes, breeders of disease, are the program’s priorities, though they will remove low-hanging wasp nests on city trees. The program doesn’t do mice, raccoons, deer, or skunks.
Camera phones will not make Vector Control’s life any easier. The staff learned about the café’s problems the same way everyone else did.
Then again, so did the café owners.
Rats were here long before humans and, Delaney said, “I don’t think we’ll ever control them.”
The website Foobooz, which treated the rat video as its Watergate, ran a poll as to whether diners would patronize Green Eggs again. As of Friday afternoon, more than 1,000 readers had responded, with 44 percent saying yes.
Last week, Green Eggs had an exterminator fix a damaged sewage drain pipe and a hole in the building. The owners have applied for a permit to dig up pipes and pour a thick concrete wall to seal the building’s basement perimeter.
“We want to make it extremely clear that this was an isolated incident,” the restaurant will announce on its Facebook page this week, “and that Green Eggs Café maintains an extremely clean service environment and our health records will prove that to anyone who looks. To those who have supported us unwaveringly: we thank you, you are what makes this city great and we hope to be back as soon as possible!”
With any luck, Slaughter told me, by Memorial Day.
Contact Karen Heller
at 215-854-2586 or email@example.com, Follow her at @kheller on Twitter. Read the metro columnists blog, Blinq, at www.inquirer.com/blinq.
The MTA’s been trying pretty hard to get rid of all the subway rats—getting rid of trash cans, baiting them and sterilizing them with birth control, etc.—but those suckers are still everywhere, and that’s not even including the pet rats riding the 6 train. Now the MTA’s stepping up their rat-curbing efforts by sealing off 347 rooms used to store garbage bags.
Not-so-shockingly, a number of the garbage-storing rooms holding delicious garbage have cracked walls and warped doors. It’s unclear exactly how much of the subway system’s trash labyrinth has been operating as an unsealed rodent party room over the years, but the MTA tells us all of the refuse rooms in the system will be treated. The room-sealing process kicks off this July.
DEAR JOAN: I just planted my summer vegetables with fervent hope that this year the rats won’t eat my tomatoes just as they ripen. I’m assuming they are rats because when the tomatoes are eaten, they look like they’ve been literally cut in half by a knife. Birds would peck holes, and any larger animal would knock down the tomato cages.
My gardener suggested I put rat traps with peanut butter in the vegetable garden, but I’m afraid the cat next door or a squirrel would be caught in them. Are the traps a good idea, and if not, what would you suggest?
Lisa Van Valkenburgh
DEAR LISA: Nothing will ruin your day more than going out in the morning to check on those ripening beauties and finding the biggest one half eaten and hanging on the vine.
Your gardener is right about the traps. That is the surest way of getting rid of the rats, but there are things you can do before the tomatoes start ripening.
Take a good look at your yard for places that say “come on in” to the rats. Do you have pet food out? Is your garbage secure? Do you have ivy or other ground cover that provides a safe haven for the rats? Are there places under your deck or in your garage that would allow the rats space to build their nests?
By taking steps now to eliminate rat habitat, you may not have a rat problem
by the summer.
As for the traps, get a box, turn it upside down and cut an entrance hole in the side large enough for a rat, but not for a cat or squirrel. Bait the trap and set the box over it. The box should be high enough to allow for the trap to snap shut without hitting it.
I know many people are opposed to killing any animal and I respect that. They recommend using humane traps that capture the animals alive to be released elsewhere. That’s not a good idea. You likely are making your problem someone else’s, and putting rats out in the wild can cause serious harm to the wildlife living there.
I don’t intend on using my column to recommend specific products, but when I saw something posted on Facebook by a friend, garden designer and author Susan Morrison, I thought it was such a great idea I wanted to share.
We all know the important role that bees play in pollinating crops and keeping agriculture alive, and we also know that the bees are becoming threatened by colony collapse and the widespread use of pesticides. So I’m all for doing things that make their lives a little safer.
Bees rely on a good water source to keep spreading pollen and making honey, but oftentimes, the birdbaths and other watering holes are too deep. The bee falls in while drinking and drowns.
One solution is to give the bees a safe landing spot. A company called Glass Gardens NW, based in Mukilteo, Wash., has started producing decorative glass floats specifically for the bees. Barbara Sanderson, a glass blower and artist who is Glass Gardens NW, makes the glass balls with textures and shapes on them to give the bees a secure foothold.
Now, you don’t have to buy Sanderson’s bee floats. You can figure out your own devices to help out the bees. But if you buy Sanderson’s floats, she will donate $3 from the sale of each one to the Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees. So it’s kind of a twofer. Prices range from $13.95 for the small size to $31.95 for the large. Check them out at www.glassgardensnw.com and learn more about the plight of bees at www.abfnet.org.
Joan Morris’ column runs five days a week in print and online. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org; or P.O. Box 8099, Walnut Creek, CA 94596.
By Jennifer Peltz
NEW YORK — Bodies tensed and noses twitching, the dogs sniff the hunting ground before them: a lower Manhattan alley, grimy, dim and perfect for rats. With a terse command — “Now!” — the chase is on.
Circling, bounding over and pawing at a mound of garbage bags, the four dogs quickly have rodents on the run.
“Come on … I mean, ‘tally ho!’ ” says one of their owners, Susan Friedenberg. In a whirl of barks, pants and wagging tails, dogs tunnel among the bags and bolt down the alley as their quarry tries to scurry away.
Within five minutes, the city has two fewer rats.
In a scrappy, streetwise cousin of mannerly countryside fox hunts, on terrain far from the European farms and fields where many of the dogs’ ancestors were bred to scramble after vermin and foxes, their masters sport trash-poking sticks instead of riding crops and say it’s just as viable an exercise for the animals’ centuries-old skills.
“It’s about maintaining the breed type through actual work,” says Richard Reynolds, a New Jersey-based business analyst and longtime dog breeder who might be considered the group’s organizer — if it would accept being called organized.
Known with a chuckle as the Ryders Alley Trencher-fed Society — parse the acronym — the rodent-hunters have been scouring downtown byways for more than a decade, meeting weekly when weather allows.
On a couple of recent nights, an eclectic group of ratters converged on an alley near City
Hall about an hour after sunset. The lineups included two border terriers; a wire-haired dachshund; a Jack Russell terrier/Australian cattle dog mix; a Patterdale terrier, an intense, no-nonsense breed that’s uncommon in this country; and a feist, a type of dog developed in the American South to tree squirrels.
“Get ‘im! Go!” Serge Lozach yelled as his cairn terrier, Hudson, streaked down an alley after a fleeing rat. Unlike many of the other owners, Lozach doesn’t breed or show dogs, but he has taken Hudson to several alley hunts.
“I like watching him have fun,” Lozach said.
Although the dogs have hunting instincts, it takes training to capitalize on them. Just because your pet runs after backyard squirrels doesn’t mean it could ever catch one.
When at its best, the alley pack works together. One dog will sniff out a rat and signal its whereabouts, often by barking. Another leaps at the hideaway to rout the quarry, and then a third lurches to catch it as it flees. A rat that scuttles into the open might get caught in a rundown, or even a tug of war, between dogs that circle and flank it.
After making a kill with a bite or a shake, the hunters trot back, rat in mouth, and allow their owners to take it from their jaws. The night’s kill ends up in a trash bin.
There’s no official estimate of how many rats rove the city’s streets, basements, parks and subways. But there are plenty.
Officials have tried a number of innovative tactics to rout them, including a 2007 city Health Department initiative that sent inspectors with hand-held computers to map infestations in a Bronx neighborhood and then followed up with owners to address the problems.
Recently, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority agreed to let an Arizona-based company test a form of rat birth control by setting out bait in some subway stations this summer.
But the terrier forays are an unofficial undertaking, and participants say they’re less about killing rats than giving dogs the experience of chasing them. The Health Department declined to comment on the hunts.
The idea has a long history. A noted 1851 examination of working-class life in London describes rat-catchers working the city’s streets with ferrets and terriers. More recently, a rat-catching dachshund got attention in Seattle when its owner happened by while City Councilman Tom Rasmussen was checking out a downtown cleanup program in 2010. Rasmussen snapped a picture of the dog, rat in mouth, and posted the photo on his website.
There’s even an American dog breed called a rat terrier, though its origins lie on farms.
Rat-tracking recently became an official canine sport, called “barn hunt.” Dogs get two minutes to sniff around a hay-bale maze and indicate where they smell a rat concealed in a crush-proof, aerated tube; the dog never catches the quarry. Dozens of dogs competed in the first trials in April in Columbia, Mo.
While dog owners may see it as time-honored pursuit, rat-hunting riles animal-rights advocates. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which opposes hunting in general, expressed outrage after video of a dog snatching rats in a New York City park surfaced online two years ago. PETA spokesman Martin Mersereau calls the alley rat quests “a twisted blood sport masquerading as rodent control.”
Reynolds counters that “there are lots of worse things that people do to rats,” noting that poisons can sicken the animals for hours.
As for the dogs, they have sometimes gotten stuck in waste bins or tumbled into holes, and a recent night left two with scrapes. But Reynolds says none has ever been seriously hurt or fallen ill.
In one recent foray, the dogs dispatched 13 rats within about a half-hour.
The dogs prowled and prodded for about 90 more minutes before the group gave up for the night. But not to worry, said dachshund owner Trudy Kawami.
“There will always be a million rats in the naked city.”
Cobb maintains nobody cares for snakes better than he does.
“Best caging, best bedding, best food. Best everything,” Cobb said. “They’re the best-kept animals, bar none, anywhere.”
The boas are even fed a steady diet of homegrown rats, and his freezer full of them. While some people might think it’s disgusting, Cobb says that’s what most boa constrictors need to eat.
“That is pretty standard, yeah,” Cobb said.
Police officers have informed Cobb that he needs to get rid of some of his snakes.
“He’s sad that he’s got to get rid of his snakes. But he understands that when you move into a place, a residential neighborhood like that, cities, or the county or whatever— they have ordinances for this sort of stuff,” said Sgt. Dan Bartlett.
Article source: http://www.ksl.com/?sid=24951442&nid=148&s_cid=rss-extlink