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Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 January 2006, 07:38 GMT
Duck feeding ban to prevent rats
Rat at lakeside
Rats are feeding on food thrown down by visitors for the birds
Feeding the ducks has been banned at two lakes in south Wales because rats are stealing bread thrown to the birds.

The rat population at The Wilderness and Pwll Y Waun lakes in Porthcawl has grown dramatically because the ducks are not eating food given by visitors.

Bait put down to catch the rats is failing because they prefer to eat the bread left for the bird life

Park officials hope that the rat population will decrease if their easy food supply is cut off.

Chris Higginson from Bridgend Council said that the rats were a problem at the lakes.

"The lakes are very popular with visitors but there has been a growing problem with rats there," he said.

They show no fear of humans - it's like they know that people will come and throw food so they come out
Chris Higginson, Bridgend Council

"They are eating bread thrown by the visitors to the ducks and the population is increasing.

"Visitors are throwing bird seed and bread to the ducks but there are so many people doing it that the rats are feeding off it.

"It has got so bad there now, that some people have said that rats have run over their feet to get to the food.

'Stop breeding'

"And they show no fear of humans - it's like they know that people will come and throw food so they come out."

Mr Higginson said that despite baited traps being put down, the rats are ignoring them because of the plentiful food supply left at the lakes' edges.

"We just hope that if people stop throwing bread to the ducks, the food supply for the rats will dry up and they will move on," he said.

He said there was sufficient natural food in the lake for the ducks, geese and birds without the need for extra food from the public.

"If the food supply dries up for the rats, hopefully they will stop breeding and move on," he said.

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