Watertown officials asking residents to modify Halloween decorations as rat activity surges

WATERTOWN, Mass. — Many cities and towns are seeing more rat activity in neighborhoods because rat populations lost their food sources when restaurants closed during the pandemic. It now has some local health departments urging people to keep their pumpkins and Jack-o’-lanterns inside.

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The Watertown Director of Public Health Larry Ramdin said, with more rat activity in neighborhoods following the restaurant closures during the pandemic, they are urging people to keep their gourds indoors.

“Once they find a food source, they don’t keep it a secret,” Ramdin said, “‘Hey Joe down the street has Jack-o’-lanterns and it’s really good pumpkins, so you want to check it out.’”

One thing real rats don’t like is fake pumpkins. That’s why health officials are asking people to stick to the fake decorations this year.

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Sheri Kennedy is sticking to witches and ghosts.

“It’s unfortunate, but I think it makes sense and given how much construction is going on in the area,” Kennedy said.