Ratpocalypse: Sydney construction boom drives rodents into restaurants

Ratpocalypse: Sydney construction boom drives rodents into restaurants
Photo credit: Vijay Kumar / Facebook

Sydney is experiencing the stomach-turning downside of its construction boom - large numbers of rats appearing in popular restaurants.

A number of large-scale building projects, including a new light rail network, are forcing the rodents above ground as intense vibrations disturb their subterranean communities.

In January popular chicken chain Oporto temporarily closed one of its central city stores after a video was posted to Facebook showing a group of rats scuttling around inside.

Oporto's owner, Craveable Brands, blamed "external construction activity" for the rodent gang's invasion. In a statement to the ABC, the company said the rats had entered the store through a ventilation hole that has since been sealed.

On Thursday (local time) a large rat was filmed lurking in a dumpling shop in a Westfield food court. Din Tai Fung also voluntarily closed its doors after the sighting.

Both businesses are working with health inspectors.

Veteran rat-catcher Geoff Milton told The Guardian Australia that call-outs to the inner city have "doubled over the last two years".

He says the rats pose a serious health risk to food outlets.

"The big thing with rats is that they are incontinent. They pee and wee on the run. They're not like a dog where they just go have a big pee, they are dropping their urine and faeces on the run. That could be on food and everything."

A spokesperson for the City of Sydney said in a statement that the "unprecedented number" of demolition and construction works in the CBD have been "stirring up rat populations and leading to increased rat movements".

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