When head brewer of Empirical Brewing kept losing expensive grain from his brewery to rats.
Towards the end of the shift, when ready to lock up, is when he’d notice them.
“There’d be this foot-tall rat just sitting there, staring up at you with it’s face asking, ‘Are you leaving yet? I’m hungry. Can’t you just leave already?'” McCown said, with a shiver.
“He’d startle us so much we started calling him ‘Jesus,’ because you’d turn the corner and there he’d be — ‘Oh, Jesus.’ “
However, Empirical weren’t the only brewers in Chicago wishing for better pest control to come along.
Despite what many would expect from NYC’s infamous rats, the pest control Giant Orkin named Chicago the “rattiest” city in the United States. And it’s no joke to residents who have seen and had to deal with so many!
Rat complaints were up 67% last year in Chicago.
Sadly for residents and business owners, the mild winter allowed the pests to have more breeding time. On top of this, the recovering economy brought new construction that disturbed many rats, and new businesses opened giving the critters some new real estate to scurry into.
A mild winter meant more breeding time. A recovering economy brought new rat-disturbing construction that sent the critters scurrying for new rodent real estate.
As well as being gross, destructive, and unhygienic, rats are disease carriers of the ‘civilization-ending variety’. Although black death is now more manageable thanks to the wonders of modern pharmaceuticals, they also carry diseases that are antibiotic-resistant, such as C.diff and E.coli. They also shed lots, and their urine and faeces spread disease.
Rat-to-human infections aren’t merely a rare possibility, they’re a reality. Dr Chelsea Himsworth tested rats that came from a particular neighborhood with high rates of human MRSA cases, the rats carried the same MRSA strain, in a study of the vermin in Vancouver.
“Rats are a highly capable sponge for disease,” Himsworth said. “They can go into any environment, absorb all of what is dangerous and bring it back to the people.”
With climate change and with this century’s unprecedented urbanization, you can expect rat problems to grow.
The war on rats!
It’s not just Chicago that are under attack by rats. Rat complaints are up in cities all over the country. Municipalities are trying a wide variety of extermination tactics.
The city also launched a public awareness campaign stating “if rats can’t feed, rats can’t breed,” slapping up scary yellow warning signs.
“Folks need to understand how they’re feeding these rats,” said Chicago Streets and Sanitation Commissioner Charles Williams. “Control the food, you control the rats.”
Williams is laser focused on dog owners. He believes rats consider dog waste a delicacy. “Dog feces may be the easiest to control,” he said.
A group of campaigners, desperate for Chicago to solve the rat issues, got tired of asking the City for help and being ignored. So one day, they made the decision to skip the City Hall and instead they dialled the Tree House Humane Society for advice.
Tree House Humane Society was the country’s first cageless, no kill shelter.
Tree House became the country’s first cageless, no kill, cat shelter in 1971, but today it may be better known for its innovative approach to rat control.
Cats, the world’s first pest control
For at least 10,000 years, cats have worked as the world’s cutest and fuzziest exterminators. Wild cats cozied up with the Natufians, when the first farmers stored grain and therefore attracted rodents.
Because of cat’s history as predators, organizers at the Tree House started the ‘Cats at Work’ project five years ago. It gives colonies of cats to areas that have pest control issues and require help!
Speaking of the successful, Steve Nickerson said:
“Hundreds of rats set up shop under decks in our backyard,” Nickerson said. “I couldn’t even bring my garbage out after sundown, because the rats would just run over your feet. I called Tree House, and they agreed to give him a colony. His cats have kept his yard rat-free for years.
In Chicago, cats keep the rats out of people’s yards, too.
The organization doesn’t merely drop the cats off in a new neighborhood.
“The cats would honestly have no reason to stay, they don’t know the area,” said Liz Houtz the Community Cats Program manager. “Instead we acclimate the cats, using giant dog crates turned cushy “kitty apartments,” with a litter box, scratching post, toys and shelter to protect them from the rain, until they feel at home.
It takes about four weeks for the cats to get used to each other and to their new territory’s sounds and smells. The colony’s caretaker agrees to feed them twice daily and provide shelter and vet care as necessary.
Cats may eat rats, but they also deter rats from coming near by, as cats mark their territory, not with urine, but by simply rubbing up against things. Even this scent of a cat can make rats scatter.
Neighbors say they haven’t seen rats since the cats got to work.
When the cats are put in place, they’ll kill off a lot of the rat population, “the other rats will get a whiff of (the cats’) pheromones and bug out and leave the area,” Nickerson said.
“As far as rodent control goes, it’s nearly 100% effective,” Houtz said. “It’s the only long-term, permanent solution there is.”
Thomas, Lake View resident with the bad rat problem would agree.
Laura Mazza, the mom and blogger behind “Mum on the Run,” freaked out when she walked into her son’s room and saw a mouse in the bed. Being deathly afraid of mice, she called her husband to help but he was busy at work. She knew she had to handle this herself.
Written by Laura Mazza for her blog.
Okay so I’ve been debating whether to post this because I’m convinced people will think I’m an incapable human being at life and adulthood but I’ve figured they’re right and I may as well.
Today I saw a mouse in my sons room.
Stewart Little has decided to come in my house and set up camp near my sons drawers. (Not his pants American people, his clothes drawer thing)
I saw it and I froze.
And it was the kinda freeze that you feel like you shouldn’t even breathe. Where your air escapes your lungs.
I’m trying to find my pulse again when my daughter decided to strut into the room with her toddler swag and I screamed no! And it wasn’t just any no. It was the loudest noooooooooooooooooooooo I’ve ever made in my life.
So I shut the door and I leave little Jerry (Tom’s mate) to his own devices.
I decided to call my husband because there’s a mouse in the house, and when there is a mouse in the house other than blow torching the house down there isn’t much in the way of rational thinking.
He answers the phone and I say “mouse” I stutter because I’m f**king terrified. This is no Mickey Mouse okay. This is ratatouille but smaller and he isn’t making some delicious soup, he’s gonna spray out pebble poo and make babies everywhere and in my sons ears and they’ll crawl in my mouth… mouse in my mouth!!!
“Huh?” He says
“Mouse in house” I say still shaken
“Cat in hat” he replies.
“No babe, there’s a mouse in Luca’s room! You need to come home NOW and take it outside!”
“Oh Bub you just take it outside, or just kill it”
Obviously this guy hasn’t seen the movie ‘Witches’ where the witch turns into a mouse after eating soup and gets stomped on by the chef and green pus sprays out.
“There are children in the house, your children. You need to come here. I can’t save them”
He laughs. He thinks I’m joking.
This face isn’t joking. This face is scared that this mouse is going to radio the rescuers and call his other mice friends to come and have a pebble poo party orgy. NOT ON MY WATCH MOUSE. Not on my watch.
But of course he can’t see my face because he’s on the phone.
“Okay I’m being serious there’s a mouse in the house and I’m FREAKING THE F OUT” I actually did swear but I’ll try and be cool in the post. Pretty sure I called the mouse the C word.
“Where is it?” He asks
“In Luca’s room”
“I dunno I’ll open the door”
I open the door so slowly…inch by inch in snail speed, so slow that I can hear my husband asking if I’m still there. Lol
And it’s there. In the same spot.
“It’s dead!!!!!” I shut the door.
Oh my lord the mouse is dead. I have a DEAD mouse in my house. I start to cry a little bit.
“It’s dead… it never had a chance to live its life”
“Babe just go scoop it up with a piece of paper and put it in the bin. I have to go to a meeting”
So I hung up on him. Because obviously I’m alone in this. I’m alone and I need to be the brave one… so I take a couple of swigs of whiskey and say “okay Laura, today is the day you will fight your biggest fear in life and remove a dead mouse from your house”
I said this about 10 times in the mirror before and slapped myself a few times before I bolted down the door and went charging in like a knight in shining armour with a piece of paper screaming like the warrior woman I am and charge up onto this dead mouse in my house and I realise …
I realise it’s not a mouse.
No, not a mouse at all…
It’s a tiny leopard…
A tiny toy leopard.
I nod to myself and say “we shall never tell a soul about this”
My husband got home 4 hours later and asked me how I went….”I said mate, I handled that shit”
Utah’s Hogle Zoo, as you’d expect, is home to hundreds of animals, ranging from zebras, rhinos, giraffes, elephants. What you might not expect though, is that many of the animals within their zoo are also artists, and they specialise in painting!
The zookeepers and the animals work together to create unique and original works of arts.
Animals painting in zoos is not a new concept, according to Erica Hansen, manager of community relations at Hogle Zoo.
“It came about just because these animal care staff at AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) zoos across the country are always looking for ways to both challenge themselves and challenge the animal,” Hansen said.
The Hogle Zoo, situated in Salt Lake City, in Utah, sell the painting created by the keepers and the animals for charity!
100 percent of the proceeds go towards organisations which help each particular species that created the artwork.
Oh, and as a bonus when you buy one of the paintings, they even come with a picture of the animals who painted it!
According to Erica Hansen, manager of community relations at Hogle Zoo, painting also increases trust between the animals and their keepers.
In an interview, she stated:
“Our animals can participate in their own health care, which is huge in zoos because then you can give them a checkup without having to anaesthetise them to get access to their body,” Hansen said. “If you can have a tiger show you his paw, it’s much, much better off if he does it on his own accord.”
None of the animals are forced to paint, but the keepers know which ones seem to enjoy it.
Christie the elephant and her daughter Zuri love to paint. Because elephants are higher-cognitive animals, zookeepers are able to teach them many things, and teaching the elephants to paint is another way for them to be creative and to strengthen the relationship with their keepers.
Another zookeeper said:
“Christie already knows how to give us her trunk, and then basically we train her to hold the paintbrush, and then we reward her (with food) when she touches the paintbrush to the canvas,” Palumbo said.
“Christie does this kind of gurgling noise, we call it, and it’s kind of what we consider her happy noise,” Palumbo continued. “When she’s doing activities that we think she enjoys, she makes this kind of noise. So painting is something that she definitely enjoys; she always gurgles before she paints.”
All the paint used at the zoo is nontoxic acrylic and is safe for the animals.
In addition to elephants and meerkats, Hansen says orangutans, gorillas, wolves, lizards, harbor seals, and sea lions also paint.
And, of course, all of the animals are rewarded for their masterpieces.
When the meerkats finish painting, Knutson goes back in with a tub of water and lets the meerkats run around through it so they can wash the paint off their bodies.
Wondering exactly what cause the money from the profits, given to the charity, go to? Manager of community relations let us know.
For the elephants, proceeds go to the International Elephant Foundation, which helps fight poaching.
Ninety-six elephants a day are killed for ivory, which is kind of insane,” Palumbo said. “So this is an organization that will help with any sort of tracking that they need, any equipment, anything that they need in Africa.”
For the harbor seals and sea lions, painting money goes to the Marine Mammal Center and the Marine Mammal Care Center.
“They’re both rescue and rehab facilities that rescue and rehabilitate seals and sea lions in California,” Hanenburg said.
It has it’s downsides sure, but the good thing about being an adult is having the ability to spend your cash on the things you dreamt of as a child. For some people this is buying a ridiculous Batman costume just for fun, or buying tonnes of candy on a weeknight… Just cause you can!
However, instead of a costume or lots of candy, one vlogger made a better choice.. He decided to go to his local closing down sale at Toys ‘R’ Us and buy their entire selection of ball pit balls, at clearance price of course!
The Youtube personallity finally took to the internet to show how he used all 5,400 of the newly-purchased ball pit balls with the aim of making his dog the happiest dog in the entire world!
Judging from the dogs reaction, we think he achieved that.