Denis McLaughlin, Louvre Museum Paris (wikimedia)
FRANCE, PARIS – The magnificent Louvre Museum in Paris has been invaded by rats. The Louvre museum gardens are the epicenter of the rat activities. Wherever one turns, there are rats scavenging for food: bread, cheese, snacks, Tartines, baguette, meat and fish. If there had been wine, the rats would have drunk that as well.
Since they started emerging from their dark holes several days ago, the rats have captivated the world with their daring exploit. Fearless and audacious, they have become a menace to picnickers having a good time at the Louvre museum gardens. Tourists and visitors have also been startled by the activities of these bold rats, as they rummage for food individually and as a group.
The rats escapade has become somewhat of the tale of legends. Online, there are shocking photos and videos of the rats showing off their dexterity at stealing food in broad daylight. In a video on YouTube, a rat with a big loaf of bread in its mouth, scrawled across the Louvre museum gardens to find a comfortable hole to savor his treasure. In another YouTube video, a rat runs around a sculpture before running away from a lady and her daughter.
That fact that there are so many rats at the Louvre museum gardens is not surprising. The sculpture gardens are essentially the resting place for tourists and thousands of museum guests who sometime eat their lunch there. In addition to tourists, many Parisians also eat their food in the Louvre museum gardens. According to some Parisians, after eating, many tourists and Parisians leave their leftovers of pizza and sandwich behind, providing food for the rats to eat. “Some even throw their leftovers, including rubbish and scraps beneath thick hedges which are very difficult to reach,” a Parisian said.
While everyone is unanimous about the contribution of tourists and Parisians to the rat infestation at the Louvre museum gardens, other reasons have been proffered. One theory put forward is that the mild winter in Paris must have encouraged breeding in the rat community. Another is that all the reconstruction projects around Les Halles could have disturbed the rats’ habitat, forcing them to find a new place to settle. The recent unending rainfall that flooded sewers has also been identified as forcing these rats to the surface.
The unprecedented number of rats at the Louvre gardens has rekindle discussion about pidgins around the magnificent Louvre museum as well. There are so many pidgins around the Louvre museum that many Parisians have started complaining, again. All fingers are pointing at tourists who cannot stop feeding the pidgins. There are indications that some tourists bring bags of bird food to the Louvre museum gardens which are then distributed to other tourists to feed the pidgins. While the pidgins have not gotten as much attention as the rats in recent times, it is clear that everything must be done to bring attention back to the museum’s outstanding art collection.
Whatever the reasons are for the rat infestation at the Louvre museum gardens, what is clear is that getting rid of the rats is going to be a daunting task. In addition to the facts that people are now treating the rats as pets, reaching the rats beneath the thick hedges will be challenging. Already, rat exterminators have been called in to help deal with the rat infestation, and everything is been done to eradicate the menace. Whether the rats are successfully dealt with or not, the fact is that this rat infestation is now a part of the magnificent Louvre museum history.