Coyotes & rats in rural Virginia

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  July-August 2013:

NORFOLK,  Virginia––Two Norfolk Virginian-Pilot headlines published a little more than three months apart told almost the whole story to readers aware that coyotes eat rats. In “Western Tidewater aims to cull coyote population,”  Virginian-Pilot reporter Hattie Brown Garrow on February 22,  2013 detailed how homeowners and farmers in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia had asked local hunting clubs to kill more coyotes and were asking county governments to institute bounties. In “Bigger,  tougher rats attack Hampton Roads farms,” Virginian-Pilot reporter Joanne Kimberlin on June 1,  2013 described how rats had begun devouring the seeds from newly planted corn fields,  causing one farmer to replant three times,  at cost of as much as $180,000,  and to set out $3,000 worth of rodenticides.  Rats had also dug burrows that caused the banks of drainage canals to collapse.  “You’re going to find rats at just about every farm in Chesapeake and Virginia Beach this year,”  USDA Wildlife Services agent Carl Knauer told Kimberlin. “No one can really say why,  but there’s been a population explosion.  It just happens sometimes.” To try to control the rats,  “The boys have started shooting,”  Kimberlin wrote.  “Shooting doesn’t put a dent in the colony,  but it does help to vent human frustration.”

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