Pet Rat Infestation Poses ‘Real and Present Danger’

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jun 10, 2015 in Rat News | Subscribe

Officials in Michigan’s Fruitport Township are dealing with a real rat’s nest of a problem – at least 1,000 black-and-white pet rats, and counting. (Photo by kowkuska via Flickr)

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At least 1,000 pet rats that are rapidly reproducing in “an infestation unlike any other” may have to be killed by fumigation to control them, authorities in Michigan’s Fruitport Township said.

The problem began last winter when someone dropped off a cage of pet rats last winter at Christine’s Critter Cafe Rescue Shelter. They escaped and had already begun colonizing by the time they were discovered.

The shelter has been condemned and its operator, Christine Bishop, has been barred from the property. But that doesn’t solve the problem of the rats.

Dale Carr, the property owner, has humanely removed 1,500 rats, but they’re reproducing faster than he can trap them. Fumigation may be the only option, and it’s an expensive one – more than $30,000, at Carr’s expense, reports.


Carr thinks he can deal with the problem in other ways, but Fruitport Township Supervisor Brian Werschem said at a township Board of Trustees meeting Monday that he’s not convinced.

“The population can breed 1,500 rats every three weeks,” Werschem said. “If they’re not removing them at a rate of 100 a day, they’re not making progress.

“This is an infestation unlike any other,” he said. “Yes, these are considered domesticated rats, but they’re feral. They’re not afraid of humans in any way, shape or form. They’ll bite, carry ticks and fleas, and are susceptible to rabies and disease. When talking about thousands of them, it is a real and present danger to the local community.”

The rats have drawn curious onlookers and interest from across the state, but township officials are urging people to stay away.

“For health reasons, we don’t want anyone in or near that building,” Fruitport Township Public Safety Director Ken Doctor told

Authorities have also disconnected electrical service to the home to reduce the potential for an electrical fire. Many rats are living inside the walls of the condemned property and are chewing wires, Doctor said.

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