The Rats are Back

By Leila Meseljevic , Opinions Editor

Skokie still has rats. Throughout the summer, citizens in Skokie noticed these furry rodents scurrying around alleyways. Rats are assumed to live where there is lots of food, shelter, and water. They are especially seen near open garbage or dumpsters.

“Rats have always been an issue in urban areas,” a spokesman for the Skokie Health Department said. “Urban areas are no different than major metropolitan areas like New York, Chicago, etc. We all have challenges with rat activity, and it seems like nationwide there has been an increase in rats.”

Throughout the year, the problem has been exacerbated, and there is much more activity than there has been previously.

Naseem Khan, a resident of neighboring Morton Grove, has seen rats firsthand.

“The first time I saw a rat was in July, around July 4th, when I started feeding my birds outside on a routine basis,” Khan said. “At night I saw a rat, but at first, I thought it was a squirrel. Honestly, I could not believe my eyes and then I saw two more rats who were super-sized. They were not like normal-sized mice, so I stopped feeding my birds but the rats still kept coming in from my neighbor’s yard who were having a barbecue.”

To get rid of rats, the Skokie Health Department encourages residents to notify the Skokie Health and Human Services Department as soon as possible. Citizens must complete the Rat Control Release of Liability Form.

Or, get a cat. Though this is not the official guidance of the health department, Khan’s cat has assisted with the rat issue.

“My cat killed one of these super-sized rats it was a very scary moment,” Khan reported.

Rat droppings or rat tracks are indicators of rat presence. Further, if residents see a burrow or a tiny hole, it may be a nest. Also, bite marks on wood, decking, planters, or trash cans can be signs.

“Sanitation is a focal point in reducing the rat issue,” the Skokie Health Department said.  They recommend traditional baits instead of liquid baits because traditional baits are easier to find in stores.

The rat issue will subside as winter approaches, but make sure to watch out for these rodents running around. And get a cat.