Somerville Places Dozens of Traps to Electrocute Rats After Surge in Sightings

City officials in Somerville, Massachusetts, are addressing a growing rat population with 50 lethal electric traps

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Frustrated by its growing rat population, 50 lethal traps have been placed across four neighborhoods in Somerville, Massachusetts, in an effort to kill the troublesome rodents with an electrical current.

The traps, nearly half of which are set up along a busy bike trail near Davis Square, electrocute rats, killing them instantly before depositing them into a bagged container inside each device.



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The city's rat czar, Colin Zeigler, said the five-month program cost $40,000.

The draw of these traps is that they quickly kill rodents and also provide useful data. The city will know how many rats were killed and where they died, which will allow it to better target problem areas in the future.

"We've noticed a general uptick in sightings," Zeigler said. "This is sort of a rodent superhighway."

While the method might sound macabre, Zeigler pointed out that it's more humane than poison bate and sticky traps.

And although they are lethal to rodents, he says they won't harm anyone else.

"The boxes are totally safe. The entry point for the rodents is just big enough for the rodents that we're seeing," he explained. "Dogs won't be able to access them. Children won't be able to access them."

The pilot program lasts until July. If it's successful, the city might extend and expand it.

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