Tehran has a rat problem.
A big one.
So much in fact that they’ve hired rat hunters armed with air rifles to hit the streets day and night in an attempt to take them out.
Doubt we’ll see that happen in New York!
The video below has some great action but it’s doubtful you’ll understand what people are saying unless you speak a Persian language.
Still, it’s worth the watch for some great rat hunting.
Snipers are being deployed on the streets of Tehran to try to wipe out the city’s plague of rats. Officials say there are some two million rats in the city – although many believe the figure could be way higher. STORYLINE Men armed with rifles are patrolling Tehran’s streets at night, looking out for rats on the run. The sniper carefully aims at the target, who is munching on a piece of dry bread, and pulls the trigger. The rat trap means one less rodent running rife through the city. This rat-infested area is Vali-e-Asr Avenue, where varmints crawl up every curb of the open sewer. Some of them are the size of a young cat. The population of rats seems to be exponentially increasing in spite of the authorities using diverse techniques.One of the mainproblems is the amount of litter strewn around the streets. The famous tree-lined road is one of the most contaminated neighbourhoods of Tehran because of its running streams and several restaurants that throw their waste in the water. Brown rats, also known as Norway rats, are the most common type of rodents roaming around Tehran They migrated to Iran some 50 years ago in imported cargos. A mature Norwegian rat can weigh up to 450 grammes (15 ounces) and its length from nose to tip of its tail can be 45 centimetres (17 inches). The species loves drinking water and chooses to live in sewers and waste pipes. The city-dwelling rats can give birth to 6-12 babies per litter and are able to get pregnant three to five times a year on average. The rat control plan first rolled out in 1984. The initiative has continued to date in 22 municipal districts of Tehran. Contrary to popular belief, these rodents do not spread plague or transmit it to humans through fleas and lice on their bodies. Yet the species are to blame for carrying diseases, polluting food, damaging the structural integrity of buildings and posing health risks to society. Rats in the capital also take their toll on utility infrastructure by gnawing on electrical wires and optical fibre cables, making the fight against them inevitable. The team sets out every day and night by following timesheets, making sure they have not skipped any sewers. They hunt down about 10-15 rats in district 6 alone. Hassan Khodabakhsi, is head of the snipers’ team in district 6 of Tehran municipality. He recalls paying cash prizes to volunteer citizens who had some shooting skills in the early 2000s. “When we started out the plan, we would pay 1000 Tomans (about 27 U.S. cents) for every rat corpse killed with air guns. The result was great: we had many volunteers who gave us about 200 to 300 rats every night and we paid them the cash as prize or wage,” Hassan says. According to Hassan the municipality does not need volunteer snipers as it has deployed a permanent team of them now. Tehran’s Urban Animal Control Department is in charge of the rat extermination. “The municipality has become the rats main predator” in the absence of snakes and owls, says Ardavan Pourmohammadi, Chief of Tehran Municipality’s Urban Animal Control Department. Fighting urban animals costs about 4 million U.S. dollars annually. In recent months, a rumour went around on social media about giant cannibal rats weighing up to 5 kilogrammes (11 pounds) that have undergone a genetic mutation. The rumour claimed that population of these rats reaches some 70 million and that they would attack human beings in the event of an earthquake or natural disaster. Pourmohammadi rejects the claims altogether as unscientific saying Tehran’s rat population is two million at the worst. The city applies integrative techniques to battle the rodents. The techniques fall into three categories of chemical, mechanical and physical.