Yesterday I went to the local RHS Gardens with my Mum and little boy. The weather was lovely and my son had a whale of a time running about and generally tiring himself out for his afternoon nap. Not eating all of his sandwich at lunchtime, I thought we could save the crusts and feed the ducks on the pond. Feeding the ducks is such a fun thing to do with children, and it makes good use of those annoying ends of a loaf of bread which no-one in my house likes to eat, or sandwich crusts which remain uneaten.
Sadly this was not to be. When we got there a sign showing a picture of a duck informed visitors: “Do not feed us, it encourages rats”.
Where do I start? Its not the actual feeding ducks bread that encourages rats. It is chucking bread by the edge of the pond rather than in it (as small children are prone to do because their aim is not so great) so ducks can’t reach it thats the problem. If the bread does get in the pond and the ducks miss, there are enough fish to gobble it up as it soaks up pond water and sinks. Leave crumbs by the edge and rats might find them. But to be honest, rats are more likely to go rooting around the area near the outdoor cafes (although it should be noted they don’t have decking which provides a totally different list of problems), since that is where food gets dropped more often and if not swept/cleaned properly then rats will come. OK so saying all of that on a sign is a bit unrealistic – but it means those ducks (and fish to a certain extent) missed out on a feed.
My Mum just sighed, rolled her eyes when I came out with this monologue and said “You and your pest control”. Its true, there are some pest control issues I now know about that are useful such as encapsulation fly control units, others that are not such as unintentional entomophagy and some that just freak me out such as resident fleas when you move home or scores on the doors.