Watch out there’s a rodent about. A pub goer claims a rat grabbed a chip from his fingers
Would a rat run up your trouser leg and steal food from your hand? Well, that’s what one diner says happened at a pub in Wiltshire.
He says he was at the pub in Trowbridge when the rat climbed up onto the table and took the chip from his hand.
Sounds a bit far-fetched. But the pub took the matter seriously and immediately closed, telling diners they would have to leave the premises. The pub chain later said two rats had been spotted, and might have been associated with fly-tipping that had taken place nearby.
Are rats usually so aggressive? How concerned should people be?
A SUPERPROOF experts says: “This is a very unusual case. Rats usually do all they can to avoid human contact.
“They are naturally cautious and largely nocturnal animals, and they would not see the point in going toe-to-toe with a human, even a small one.
“It would be wrong to speculate about why this rat might have taken the action it did. It could be that, by chance, the rodent got into the premises from the fly-tipped area and became disorientated, then made a grab for the food because it was very hungry. But this would not be typical behaviour.
“The owners of the pub would have had to carry out a careful assessment of entry points for mice and rats, and then considered rodent proofing measures to ensure that this cannot happen again.
“Certainly, putting down bait would not be appropriate. Trying to poison rats that have got into a commercial premises, especially one like a pub restaurant where the highest standards of hygiene and food safety are expected, is rarely effective, certainly not in the timescale required by this business.
“Also, the pub chain would want to be able to reassure customers that there are no more rats on the premises, and that it has put in place rodent proofing measures so no rats are present to steal food from diners in the future.
“There have been isolated cases of humans being bitten by wild rats. In one case, in 2013, a rat bit a small girl on her face as she slept in her bed in the Forest of Dean. The rodent was soon afterwards killed by the family’s pet dog.
“But, again, these are very rare events. Rats like to have access to businesses and houses because they are warm, offer safe nesting places, away from wild predators, and because us humans are messy people, and often leave food lying around, either on the floor, on tables, in bins or in cupboards.
“It is often the hidden risks associated with rodents which make it important to ensure restaurants and homes are mouse proof and rat proof. They will leave surfaces covered in faeces, urine and other bodily fluids. These contain bacteria and viruses that can cause a range of serious diseases.
“The story of the daring rat and the stolen chip also demonstrates the reputational risk that food premises face. I have no doubt that the pub chain will have taken quick action to allay the concerns of customers. But it is better to ensure your premises are mouse proofed and rat proofed in the first place.”