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Rats

Posted by chinarocks on 3/5/2013 at 07:43

A few stories and blogs I've read on Asia this week (not all on this website) have alluded to rats and their prevalence in the region. I must admit that when I travelled there I didn't see such creatures a whole lot, maybe twice in 3 months. But if I was to go back I feel I would notice a lot more based on what I've read.

Are they literally everywhere? Does it affect food hygiene etc? Is it necessary to keep a hungry cat in your back garden?

#1 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 740

Posted by busylizzy on 3/5/2013 at 08:16

I went through a stage when travelling in Vietnam, where I saw one every single day for about a week and a half, always in or near the restaurant where we were eating. These were in different restaurant/cities by the way! In Hue, we watched as one walked past us and up the stairs. Also saw quite a few in Maumere (Flores, Indo) as we wandered the town at night. And I've seen them in the wet markets in Laos - almost stepped on one! One night in Bedugul, I heard rustling in my room and I'm sure it was a rat. I just pulled the sheet over my head and hoped he went away! I was talking to a security guard in Bali as a rat walked by. He stomped on it as he carried on talking to me - just as though it was cockroach. I wanted to throw up!

You generally won't see them on a daily basis - but yep, they are around. Big ones, too. Does it affect food hygiene? Dunno. I didn't get sick in the 6 months that I was there.

Seriously though, I wouldn't worry about it too much. But if you're going to keep a cat, make sure it's a big one! :-)

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Posted by sayadian on 3/5/2013 at 09:19

I was in a friend's kitchen in Phnom Penh where she was cooking. We heard the pots moving on the shelf above the cooker. My heart nearly stopped when a big rat fell into the saucepan. It must have lost it's balance. The food went in the bin.
I've seen quite a few rats in restaurants, particularly near the river. They seem fearless as they scuttle from table to table.

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Posted by caseyprich on 3/5/2013 at 09:43

I've seen then scuttering-about the riverfront areas of Phnom Penh and Can Tho in the evening. One the size of a small dog was camped otu behind the meat cooler in my favorite noodle shop here in Shanghai. Nice they have a meat cooler.

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Posted by Geer1 on 3/5/2013 at 09:54

The market in Hoi An is teeming with them. Saw the odd one elsewhere but for the most part they stay out of sight but I am pretty sure they are all over the place.

A Laos bus stop near Thakhek had them available to purchase for food... Even a Laos guy on bus thought it was disgusting.

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Posted by QWE on 3/5/2013 at 10:29

The most rats I've seen were on the streets of Malaysia but I think they are at every food market, probably in your own hometown too:-)

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Posted by MADMAC on 3/5/2013 at 10:49

Yep - I've seen plenty of rats since living here. Periodically one will infiltrate into my kitchen somehow... Caught three of them in five years. They anger management issues too.

Out in my father in laws village they shoot them in the field and eat them. Rice rat...

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Posted by sayadian on 3/5/2013 at 12:55

Do cats take on these muscular Asian rats or would you need a terrier?

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Posted by Geer1 on 3/5/2013 at 13:31

In the Bizarre Foods Thailand show they eat the rice rats Madmac mentions. Something like that I wouldn't have a big deal with as those rats are living off grain whereas most rats are disgusting scavengers eating anything and everything left out to rot.

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Posted by MADMAC on 3/5/2013 at 13:50

Cats will kill them. My father in law has three cats that hang around his house for that purpose - and to keep an eye on snakes. Cats usually will spot a snake first and try to kill it without getting bitten (usually not actually doing so).

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Posted by busylizzy on 3/5/2013 at 14:30

I lived in a country area for awhile (in NZ). We had rats in the paddocks obviously because every so often I'd come home from work to find one (dead) in the hallway. My cat thought she was being kind by leaving me presents. I, on the otherhand, wasn't so impressed as I had to dispose of them. But they were a similar size as the cat - that's what surprised me. Mind you, she caught a pheasant once, too, and that was even bigger than her. But I thought a rat would have at least fought viciously back.

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Posted by antoniamitchell on 3/5/2013 at 15:42

Yes, there are rats in Asia. But there are rats everywhere on the planet (almost). You'll see them now and again wherever you go (including here in London).

The only place in Asia I've seen a large number of rats was the waterfront in Can Tho, Vietnam, but I don't think it's anything you really have to worry about - if there are lots of rats about, restaurant staff will probably be pretty good about keeping food stuffs protected - if for no other reason than to avoid having their profits nibbled away (at least that's my logic).

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Posted by sayadian on 4/5/2013 at 02:22

'rats are disgusting scavengers eating anything and everything left out to rot.'
Pretty much what a crab eats.That's one reason I don't eat them.(rats or crabs)

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Posted by antoniamitchell on 4/5/2013 at 03:57

Too true, Sayadian!

If I saw a lobster, crayfish or crab walking around in the jungle I'd probably scream and run away from the "giant insect". Catch them from the seas, and it's "Where's the garlic butter?"

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Posted by boaby on 5/5/2013 at 09:30

i went up to afriends farm in Chaiyaphoom her mum caught 2 rats (from the rice fields) and fryied them like chicken they were excellent

washed down with some lao khow (rice whisky) and a few changs

the downside of the buggers is they attract snakes

safe travels

boaby

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