Bats and rats

Dizengoff Center has become home for a colony of Egyptian fruit bats, while an increasing number of Tel Aviv residents are complaining of a rat epidemic.

Hundreds and possibly thousands of bats have made their home in the unloading area in the car park of Tel Aviv's Dizengoff Center, and their presence "raises a disturbing picture with regard to the hygiene of food there," reports Droppings from the creatures mark the walls and lie in piles on the floor, and at least one supplier described the area as "smelly and disgusting," adding that he was fortunate he never brought his children to eat at the center's restaurants. According to the report, the most common bat in Tel Aviv is the Egyptian fruit bat, a vegetarian species that poses no danger to the public. But this fact is of little consolation to residents disturbed by the bats' night-time noises. And now the veritable colony of the creatures has been operating, according to the report, near crates of food and drink, sometimes left uncovered in the area. One supplier said the city had cut down trees to prevent the bats from disturbing residents at night, and it seemed they had found a new home in the unloading area. "It is smelly and disgusting just standing here, and I am lucky I never come here (to the Dizengoff Center) with my children to eat," the supplier said. The report also said that rats had become a serious nuisance throughout the city, especially in north Tel Aviv. One pest exterminator said he received dozens of calls a day from people worn out with the city's inaction against the rodents. He said rats were to be found wherever food was found, and exterminators had to work painstakingly to uncover their burrows. He added that most cities simply hired contractors "who send a boy on a motorcycle to put down a bag with poison that doesn't do anything." One Ramat Aviv Gimmel resident said the rat problem had become "unbearable" in her neighborhood, and said that if the city was willing to take on projects such as spaying and neutering street cats, it should be willing to find a solution for the rats. No comment was reported from the municipality.