A growing number of rats are appearing in residential areas of Seoul with the seasonally-unusual cold weather forcing the rodents to find food inside human-occupied facilities.
CESCO, a vermin extermination company, said more rodents are invading indoors looking for food, asking citizens to take precautions against possible health hazards as a result of the infestation.
“The rats are rife in residential areas this month because of an early cold spell,” a CESCO official said.
In Seoul, several rat sightings inside houses or buildings were reported this month.
A 32-year-old office worker living in a detached house in Seongbuk District found rats in his warehouse. “I caught them immediately, but it gives me the creeps that I lived with them for a while in my house,” he said.
The rats are not only an urban problem in Korea. According to the United States Fire Administration, there are some 50,000 to 60,000 fires of unknown causes yearly and a quarter of them are expected to be caused by rodents such as rats.
Rodents gnawed through the electric wiring of a jukebox at the Veterans of Foreign Wars building in Washington, causing more than $1 million in damages in June.
This is because rats often gnaw on wood or cables.
Rodents’ teeth grow continuously and they nibble on surfaces to maintain the length of them.
As they gnaw electrical cables, they can cut off electricity or induce sparks, resulting in a fire.
The extermination company suggests a continuous control of rats to prevent disease and fire.
서울 도심에 쥐떼 증가
급작스런 추운 날씨로 인해 서울 도심 건물 내부에 쥐떼가 나타나는 경우가 증가하고 있다.
해충박멸업체인 세스코에 따르면 많은 설치류 동물들이 먹을 것을 찾아 실내로 들어와서 병을 옮기고 화재를 일으키는 등 문제를 일으키고 있으므로 시민들의 주의가 요구된다고 밝혔다.
“11월 들어 도심의 가정집이나 빌딩에 쥐떼가 증가한 것은 갑자기 추워진 날씨로 인해 동물들이 먹이를 찾고 있기 때문이다,”고 세스코 관계자가 말했다.
실제로 집이나 건물에 쥐가 나타났다는 제보도 증가하고 있다.
이러한 쥐떼는 한국만의 문제가 아니다. 미국 소방청에 따르면 작년에 50,000-60,000 건의 원인불명의 화재가 있었고 그 중 25 퍼센트 정도가 쥐와 같은 설치류 동물 때문에 일어난 것으로 추정된다.