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Paris declares war on plague of rats

The Eiffel Tower and the Sacre Coeur Basilica in Paris - how many rats are there in those streets? Reuters/Charles Platiau

Paris city council is to launch a huge campaign against rats, as a plague of the rodents has hit the French capital.

An "immediate, targeted action plan has been deployed" to tackle the "recent rise in the presence of rats in Parisian public places", a city council statement said Wednesday.

A large number of rats "poses health, aesthetic and economic problems", the statement adds.

City lore says that there are two rats for every Parisian.

Given that Paris has 2.2 million residents, that is a lot of rodents infesting parks, streets and buildings.

Environmentally friendly rat-traps

The council accepts that it is impossible to completely wipe them out but hopes to "significantly reduce their presence".

Infested areas of parks have been enclosed and new environmentally friendly rat-traps are being tried out.

The plan also aims to stop the beasts coming out of drains and eradicate them from cellars and other parts of buildings.

A long-term plan will increase patrols to prevent the dumping of garbage and raise public awareness of the problem.