NYC introduces sweet-tasting birth control to fight rat population

It's no secret— New York City has been at war with rats for years.

Officials have constantly struggled to find effective solutions. 

Last year it was carbon monoxide. Now it's tasty birth control. 

Two rats can produce 15,000 desc endants in a year, according to rodent experts. 

The plan is to sterilize them to slow down their population. 

City Council Member Shaun Abreu (D-Manhattan) introduced a new bill that will sterilize rats with contraception in order to reduce their population.

No traps or poison bait have fully succeeded in reducing their numbers.

Now the city says it wants to control the city's rat population with birth control rather than poisonous pellets.

"What's very important about the rat problem is that we can't kill our way out of this. This is a crisis. We cannot poison our way out because the growth of rats is so exponential," Abreu told FOX 5 NY Thursday. 

What is birth control for rats?

The formula will work to block ovulation in female rats and disrupt sperm maturation in males.

The pellets are derived from an extract that has been used to treat rheumatoid arthritis in humans for decades, according to experts. 

The salty pellets are supposed to be so tasty to rats that they won't go looking for food anywhere else.  

In California, some cities started using a birth control formula called ContraPest, the only fertility control for rats approved by the Environmental Protected Agency (EPA).

Ken Siegel, the CEO of SenesTech, a company that produces ContraPest, told Fox News it's like "a ‘milk shake’ for rats. It is a liquid formulation that is high in fat, sweet tasting and very attractive to rats, which need to consume approximately 10% of their body weight in water each day."

The formula is not supposed to pose a danger to other animals or people as it is specifically designed for rats.

Dr. Mayer said it's both humane and effective.

"…The approach is to feed them, not bait them. But while you're feeding them, you block their reproduction," she explained. 

Rat poisoning in animals


Flaco the owl's cause of death revealed

New York City's beloved celebrity owl Flaco died from an "acute traumatic injury," zoologists from the Bronx Zoo said a day after he reportedly flew into a building, with further testing planned to determine if the Eurasian eagle-owl may have been sick.

The goal of the poisonous treats is to rid of the rodents in the city, but prevent another Floco-style style scenario where an animal accidentally eats the pellets.

New York City's beloved celebrity owl, Flaco, died from an acute traumatic injury but also had a viral infection that caused severe tissue damage and inflammation in many organs, including the spleen, liver, gastrointestinal tract, bone marrow, and brain.  

Flaco’s severe illness and death are ultimately attributed to a combination of factors—infectious disease, toxin exposures, and traumatic injuries—that underscore the hazards faced by wild birds, especially in urban settings.

The pilot program is set to start in two neighborhoods within the rat mitigation zones. The area will cover about ten blocks each.