PARIS (AP) — Rats are on the rampage in the elegant garden of the Louvre Museum, so bold they romp on the grass in broad daylight, defying death threats from sanitation workers and scaring tourists.
The hot weather in Paris has brought many picnicking visitors to the garden, whose garbage is a feast for the rats. And they're getting help from animal lovers who dig up poison and feed them water.
Maybe it's the "Ratatouille" effect, with the beloved French rat Remy from Disney's computer animated film helping real-life rats win Parisian hearts.
The vermin are finding a lifeline from "people who don't want us to kill animals," said Jean-Claude Ndzana Ekani, a museum employee who was working Tuesday with technicians from an extermination company,
The lush area which extends into the Tuileries Gardens gives a rat plenty of places to hide, but still the critters scamper about openly, unfazed by people strolling about.
The Louvre, which owns the garden, has been trying to combat the rat problem for months but clearly hasn't succeeded. In May, sanitation officials and exterminators decided to embark on an all-out offensive: "A decision was made to do a shock operation," Ndzana Ekani said. Workers, acting methodically, were seen Tuesday pouring poison down the rat holes.
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