PATHEIN, Irrawaddy Division — Thousands of rats entered villages in Irrawaddy Division’s Ngapudaw Township on Sunday morning, eating locals’ crops.
“There were so many rats that it was impossible to count them. They ate bamboo plants, and were staying in bushes and trees outside the villages,” said police lieutenant Soe Soe Min of Haigyikyun Central Police Station, located in the sub-township nearest to the infestation.
“Now we are getting rid of the rats in cooperation with the locals, and burying the dead ones,” he added.
Locals, working with police, health, municipal and administrative officials killed more than 1,000 rats that had roamed into the villages of Zee Chaing and Kyauk Chaung—873 in Zee Chaing and more than 300 in Kyauk Chaung. The rest fled into the forest on Monday, according to the police.
Locals estimated that there were as many as 10,000 rats present, and interpret the influx as a bad omen. They are believed to have emerged from rocks and sea caves between the two villages, after their nests were flooded by high tides and heavy rains.
“We believe that when so many rats come into human places, it is a sign that there will be an earthquake or storm within 20 days,” said Haigyikyun local U Aye Kyaw.
One male and two female rats were sent for lab testing at the township health department on Monday.
Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.