If you were to sit quietly on a bench within Tapijn, you just might see a brown rat walking by. You will find brown rat holes in several places in the bank of the Jeker. Rats take advantage of the presence of food within the Tapijn grounds. The bread that people feed to the ducks, for example. Or food left behind in the park.
And yet, the rat population within Tapijn is under control.
Relationship with humans
Why we do what we do
Rats are people-followers par excellence. They benefit from the food, shelter, and nesting places that people provide with their poor waste management and construction. The rat, therefore, thrives in the vicinity of humans. But those same humans also pose a great threat to the rat. For centuries, the rat has been seen as a pest, a bringer of diseases. Rats can still spread diseases today. For example, via rat urine in surface water in which people swim.
Humans do everything in their power to fight rats: traps, clamps, poison. Traps and clamps are difficult to use, because rats notice changes to their environment so well and are therefore suspicious. Poison is a solution, but often causes problems for other fauna as well. A rat that has eaten poison and is then caught by an eagle owl and served as food to its young, will cause the death of the young eagle owls. This was the case in Maastricht. For that reason, a more natural fight against rats (by making way for their natural enemy) is a much better solution.