The littlest rat catchers: New Zealand schoolchildren trap and kill 600 pests in 100 days

Big brown rats with long tails, their stomachs caked in blood. Smaller rats, stiff from the refrigerator, tails in a tangle.

The children happily pass the rodents around with bare hands, proud of last night’s catch – and fixed on the goal of eradicating rodents from the surrounding forests.

This small island school at Halfmoon Bay on Rakiura/Stewart Island recently unleashed its students upon the local rodent population, running a competition encouraging children to catch and kill hundreds of rats in an effort to preserve the island’s birdlife.

40 students caught more than 600 rats over the 100-day challenge. One five-year-old managed to catch and kill 60 rats over the course of the three months.

In TVNZ footage, captured in the midst of the competition, the children dump out bucketloads of rats on the school lawn, arrange them according to size, and dangle particularly impressive specimens by the tails for measuring. Each child was given their own trap, made out of recycled…

This story appeared first on, 2022-11-25.
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