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Somerville to try electrocuting rats

Somerville has launched the latest salvo in humanity's ongoing battle with rattus: Small environmentally friendly death chambers that can sense the presence of a rat and then electrocute it.

When a rodent enters a SMART Box, sensors detect movement and body heat and activate a “catch” function, immediately killing the rodent with an electrical current. The rodent is deposited into a closed container, then the trap automatically resets. SMART Boxes monitor and record rodent activity 24/7 and alert Modern Pest when activity is detected. SMART Boxes do not use poisons and are securely locked, so they don’t pose risks to people, other animals, or the environment.

The city and Modern Pest Services deployed an initial batch of 50 of the boxes to Davis Square, Gilman Street, Lexington Street and Macarthur Street, based in part on rat complaints to the city 311 system and Inspectional Services violations, in part because the four areas represent four different types of terrain on which to try them out: business, residential, open space and next to a construction/transit area.

Mayor Katjana Ballantyne said Somerville is only the second city in the country - after Portland, ME - to roll out rat electrodeath boxes.

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Comments

That's a really great idea. I hope this product puts an end to the awful "bait stations" everyone uses around here, which are actually full of neurotoxin poison which kills birds of prey and pets. The other alternative is snap traps, but that requires a lot of effort to empty and reset them.

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And the rats internally bleed to death. Still, definitely not good for our birds.

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The problem is that it kills off the predators of rats who see a sick rat and think "easy lunch".

Then, with the predators gone, well, more rats!

Warfarin is the trade name for coumadin for a reason - coumadin is vastly purified rat poison, aka WARFAReonvermIN.

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If you're talking about brand names, Wiki says you've got it backwards. Warfarin is the generic name; Coumadin is the brand used as a blood thinner in humans. Fortunately, there are now a bunch of better drugs for that purpose.

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It depends on why you are taking blood thinners. If you have atrial fibrillation, then yes, there are now better drugs. If you have a prosthetic valve, warfarin is still the only long-term choice as the trials were halted early because risks were so bad with the new drugs.

And, yes, I did get it backwards. Good catch. Thanks. Still interesting how the name of the drug derives from its original use though.

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Stop the growth of new restaurants in the neighborhood and your problem will be solved.

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They still have a rat problem because Boston area cities refuse to take a clue from many other global cities that centralize garbage disposal into neighborhood hubs.

When you make rodent proof disposal available 24/7, you reduce the available food supply and the rat population responds.

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Tell me more about centralized garbage disposal into neighborhood hubs.

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There are some pretty cool systems in Europe.

Some are relatively low-tech like Barcelona, that just has these bins in central areas in each neighborhood where people will drop a bag or do their recycling while taking a walk.

Amsterdam gets really amazing with underground bunkers that lift out for collection and call for a truck when full.

The idea is that you take a short walk to dispose of your stuff in a central secure station whenever you have a full bag, and that way you don't feed the rats by storing it or putting it out on the curb for hours.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JtoSafhvLM

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...this works in theory, but may not in practice. People are just gonna toss garbage bags (and other containers of garbage) in the general area of public receptacles designated for garbage. Especially if the receptacles are full. Just like they do now. A feast for rodents. Do you really think (some) people will carry their trash back home if the bins are full?

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This is in practice in pretty much every European city that I've visited. I have not seen any of the issues that your "theory" predicts. The reality is that it works pretty well.

Can you cite some examples of where it doesn't work and where the results that your "theory" predicts are observed?

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I live in an Apartment building with an outdoor dumpster... I drop off garbage daily. I never have anything more than 24 hours old garbage wise in my apartment

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you take a short walk

Well, thanks anyway, but this will never fly in America.

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Please tell me this is a joke. Please.

Do you legitimately want fewer neighborhood restaurants?

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... all the underground rats would go into everyones basement during construction. we got a cat (apparently, for certain rats thats not a good idea but tiger was a happy boy -- i think he actually delivered more pigeons and squirrels to the front porch than rats so we kept him anyways).

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SMART Boxes do not use poisons and are securely locked, so they don’t pose risks to people, other animals, or the environment.

I wonder how the "smart boxes" can tell the difference between a rat and a cat, or a racoon, or a rabbit.

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… and one that does not have babies back in the nest that will slowly die in pain from starvation after the mother gets a “friendly death”.

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then the rats have already eaten the babies indigenous fauna.

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More friendliness.

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means no indigenous fauna.

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This reminds me of the Vicktor brand of mouse trap I use. It's like a large version of the little black box I pull out every fall when I get a visit from a friend from outside. The little mouse versions work great and have a little internal maze so only mice could really get in there.

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I had one of these too. I worked pretty well.

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Magoo uses have a heart traps. Why? Because Magoo has a heart. Rats are people too. Magoo.

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.

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it would have saved the FBI years of spent resources and humiliation

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I hate to be that guy, but since Rattus is the genus it should be capitalized. Thanks for the story though and let's hope these boxes work. I wonder what one of these goes for - Victor makes an indoor-only version with no repository and they are $50 each.

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Now I want to go all DIY on rat destruction. Move over Wile E. Coyote and watch what I can do with a pizza crust, and old baking sheet and a busted curling iron!

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There's a popular YouTube channel dedicated to testing rat and other varmint traps. Not a lot of Rube Goldberg efforts, but worth learning what works & doesn't. It's called Mousetrap Mondays.

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You sound like Penguin in the new Batman movie.

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.

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Rattus rattus (unless what we have here is norvegicus )

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Yeah the all-too-common city interlopers are norvegicus.

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Good album, that Rattus norvegicus.

I'll see you in the sewer, brother.

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Rattus rattus rattus, you're a rat all the way!

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They're not native to Norway. As far as anyone can tell they originally came from East Asia and spread around the world by sneaking onto ships.

The man who named Rattus norvegicus was Carl Linnaeus, who invented the system used to classify plants and animals by kingdom/phylum/class/order/family/genus/species.

Linnaeus was a Swede. He called the rat "norvegicus" after Sweden's rival, Norway, much as a Red Sox fan might have named it Rattus yankeeus.

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Humans and rats are symbiotic. Humans produce massive amounts of trash, especially food waste. Rats eat the trash. Win win ! Embrace your connection , modern man!

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...if you assert that rats benefit and humans neither benefit nor are particularly harmed, which is more or less accurate.

Now, I did have a somewhat mutualist relationship with wild rats for a bit. They got into the compost bin and did a *fantastic* job churning it for me. The compost was rich and gorgeous with basically no work on my part. But then they started dragging in plastic bags and other trash for their nest, so we had to exclude them.

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However, the rat that spread the Black Death was Rattus rattus not Rattus norvegicus,

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