Locals smell a rat over duck-feeding ban at park

FEEDING the ducks has been banned by council bosses over fears of a rat infestation at a city park.

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Signs have gone up in Queen's Park threatening £50 fines for anyone caught feeding the pond's resident ducks

Council chiefs slapped a ban on families feeding ducks at Queen's Park in Glasgow.

Officials say the ban is designed to deter rats at the popular South Side park.

Signs posted around the pond urge visitors not to feed the ducks because it "attracts vermin." The posters also threaten a £50 fine..

Council bosses today defended the controversial decision.

A Glasgow City Council spokesman, said: "It is important that visitors to the park can enjoy it safely.

"Although there are currently no signs of vermin in the park, feeding the ducks has been shown to attract vermin in the past.

"We would urge people to ensure the park remains a safe and enjoyable place for all and not feed the ducks."

Generations of families have visited the pond at the heart of the park to feed the birds.

And some are unhappy about the ban on the popular pastime.

One female park user, who did not wish to be named, said: "People have been coming here for years to feed the ducks, so why bring in this rule now?

"It's completely over the top.

"There must be a better way to tackle any problem than banning children from feeding the ducks."

The vermin, which are attracted by bird food and rubbish, can spread a wide variety of diseases, including potentially fatal Weil's disease and food poisoning.

A pair of rats can have as many as six litters a year, leading to them also having babies to produce an extended family of 3000 rats in 12 months.

Officials have also been investigating claims that people have been seen dumping bags of unwanted food in the park.

The issue previously came to light when the park was hit by a plague of "giant" rats.

Infestation control teams were called out in 2011 to tackle the outbreak.

Horrified residents told how they has spotted "hundreds" of rats during the day - despite the vermin traditionally being nocturnal.

Brown rats can grow to almost 2ft in length, and their tails are often as long as their bodies.

There are an estimated 10 million rats in the UK and the population has exploded in recent months because of the mild winter.

rebecca.gray@eveningtimes.co.uk

Families

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