I noticed the following on HMV:
A family is to fight for the right not to return to their rat-infested home after the council moved them out while it deals with a plague of vermin in Southcote.
Dad Chris Sullivan was forced to throw out bag after bag of rat urine-soaked clothes as he packed to move from his Hatford Road council house to temporary accommodation in Coley earlier this month.
Very tiresome. If this family's clothes really were soaked with anything, why did they only notice it when they came to pack to move? And, although rats do pee all the time, it is in droplets so small as to be invisible. If you keep two rats in a cage and clean the cage once a week, nothing is even discernibly damp - and they are in there for 24 hours a day. There would have to be at least a dozen rats inside one bag of clothes for several hours for the presence of their urine to be noticed, and while rats do chew clothes, because they want the fibres for nesting, they don't stick around - a rat spends a matter of seconds at a time in space occupied by humans. If the clothes had to be thrown away it was because they had been chewed, not because they were soaked. If there was a family group of rats actually living in the house - which is unlikely, they would prefer pipes or similar outside, which is what the story indicates anyway - it would not number more than 12, and only one would ever be in human space at a time. That is simply how rats behave. The man says he threw away 40 bags of clothes. If I threw away every item of clothing I and significant other possess they would not fill 40 bags - and this is only a three-person household. Also, rat urine is odourless. So are rat droppings. The latter look like black grains of rice, and are about that size. The urine of wild rats however is dangerous - Weill's disease is very nasty and in some cases can kill. Anyone who has been in contact with wild rat urine and who feels even slightly unwell in the next few days should see a doctor and say they have been in contact with rat urine. I can understand why this family do not want to live in a house which regularly has rat visitors, but it is not difficult to ensure that you do not share your living space with rats. You just never leave anything edible out. Simples. Hygiene, dontcha know.
Still, Her Majesty's Evening Post has never gone in for checking the facts much, hein?