Rat catchers are busy catching rodents and making money in Rome
Rome has approved €400,000 to be spent on addressing the city's rat problem, according to Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.
It is common knowledge that millions of rats live around the river Tiber and the city's sewers but increasingly they are straying into more public territory – as proven by the temporary closure of at least four city schools in early September – with more and more daylight sightings of rats on city centre streets.
Viviana Di Capua from the association Abitanti Centro Storico said she recently saw "a dozen rats trot without fear in front of me, between Largo Argentina and Portico d'Ottavia. I called the AMA rodent control service and they said they had no means to intervene."
Prior to the newly-sanctioned funds, the city did not have enough resources to meet the rat emergency and would "intervene sporadically" according to Anna Vincenzoni, city councillor for mobility, traffic and refuse. Vincenzoni said that the €400,000 will be divided between 15 municipi each of which will receive sums of either €35,000 or €25,000.
Pest control is big business in the capital, with some 137 companies sharing the thriving market, according to the Corriere della Sera. Each call-out costs between €100-200, although there are also reports of rogue operators charging €1,000 per rat caught.
The three main species of rodents living in the city are the small house mouse; the black rat, also known as the common rat; and the grey rat, the largest type which can be seen along the banks of the Tiber.