• France's news in English

Rodent police launch war on Paris rats

Dan MacGuill · 17 Apr 2013, 17:00

Published: 17 Apr 2013 16:54 GMT+02:00
Updated: 17 Apr 2013 17:00 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

It’s that time of year again. Spring is in the air, temperatures are climbing, and for one group of Paris residents, that means it’s time to emerge from their holes after a long winter underground, and venture out into the open air.

That’s right – the annual rat re-infestation of Paris is underway, which means its time for the Paris police to officially kick off their annual "deratization" campaign.

The UPNA – unité de prévention des nuisances animales (animal pollution prevention unit) – of the Paris prefecture of police, which was founded back in 2000, started its yearly war against rodent pests on Monday, and will fight on until June 14th, according to the prefecture’s website.

It is estimated that there are millions of rats scurrying about in the dark underground passages of the City of Light, though it’s impossible to give an accurate number.

“Legend has it there are two rats for every person living in Paris,” Jean-Michel Derrin, who heads the pest-control police unit, told French daily Le Parisien on Wednesday.

“But the truth is, we just don’t know,” he added.

Official statistics aside, rat infestation is a serious problem in this city of over 2 million (human) residents.

The animals leave excrement behind them, cause damage to infrastructure and furniture if they get access to a dwelling, and according to BFMTV, each year they infect hundreds of Parisians with leptospirosis – a serious disease with extremely unpleasant symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea and even liver failure.

“Rats are everywhere – I don’t even let my kids play outside anymore,” one resident of the city’s 18th arrondissement told Le Parisien.

Story continues below…

The designated rodent squad consists of six inspectors who will respond to calls about an infestation, ask property-owners to take certain measures – cleaning out basements or boarding up cellar windows, for example – and then call in an exterminator to ‘evict’ the rodents.

City authorities evidently take the rat problem seriously enough to issue verbal warnings and €450 fines to anyone who fails to comply with the unit’s instructions.

Anyone with a rat problem in the French capital can call UPNA on 01 40 27 16 00.

Dan MacGuill (dan.macguill@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France to clear 'Jungle' migrant camp Monday
Migrants will be bussed from the camp to some 300 temporary accommodation centres around France. Photo: Denis Charlet/ AFP

The "Jungle" migrant camp on France's northern coast will be cleared of its residents on Monday before being demolished, authorities said Friday.

How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

London calling for Calais youths, but only a chosen few
Photo: AFP

Dozens of Calais minors are still hanging their hopes on help from the UK, but not all will be so lucky.

17 different ways to talk about sex in French
Photo: Helga Weber/Flickr

Fancy a quick run with the one-legged man?

Yikes! This is what a rat-infested French jail looks like
Photo: YouTube/France Bleu TV.

This video is not for sufferers of ratophobia (or musophobia as the condition is officially called).

France to allow Baby Jesus in Town Halls this Christmas
Photo: AFP

Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus are safe to go on display again this year, it seems.

National Front posts locations of migrants in French town
The National Front courts controversy. Photo: AFP

"Local tax payers have a right to know," says local far-right party chief.

Paris thieves use tear gas to steal €500,000 of watches
Photo: AFP

The thieves pretended to be couriers then threatened staff with tear gas to get the watches.

Bataclan survivor recounts attack in chilling drawings
Photo: BFMTV screengrab

One survivor has recounted the horrific night through illustrations.

Anger among French police grows as Hollande vows talks
French police demonstrate on the Champs Elysées. Photo: AFP

A fourth night of protests shows government efforts to ease anger among French police have been fruitless.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
jobs available