Rats at SSH& building: ‘When DAR came to empty the containers, eight of them jumped out of the truck’

20 Jun 2024

The aboveground trash container at student housing complex Sterrenbosch contains more than just empty bottles and plastic packaging. According to residents, it is also a breeding ground for vermin. ‘When I opened the bin, eight rats were sitting on top of the garbage. It was like they were having an important meeting.’

‘I’m greeted by one every time I leave the building’, says Dain van der Heijden, another SSH& Sterrenbosch complex tenant. He thinks the rats were lured here by litter. ‘The container was broken and open for a while. Once it was fixed, people were no longer used to taking their card with them to open it, so they just left their trash next to the bin.’

Een diervriendelijke val. Foto: Johannes Fiebig

Animal-friendly traps

The rodent rendezvous is the main topic of discussion in a WhatsApp group. ‘The rats aren’t even scared anymore; I saw a big fat one that just stayed put, even though I got pretty close’, according to a tenant.

Since early this year, SSH& has been fighting a rat’s nest near the containers, in cooperation with the Nijmeegse Onstmettingsdienst (NOD). It has proven to be an arduous process, SSH& explained in several emails to residents. “Poison is no longer allowed; the NOD is only authorised to use animal-friendly cages.” Said cages are checked several times per week but have not yet led to a breakthrough. Van der Heijden: ‘I saw a bunch of young rats just the other day, so I think they’re multiplying.’


SSH& is considering replacing the shrubbery at the entrances with a footpath to prevent the rats from digging tunnels into the plastic bin. However, the main issue is still littering, according to an email. “If there is no litter, there is no reason for the rats to stay.”

De plasticcontainers bij Sterrenbosch. Foto: Vox

Van der Heijden supports that claim. He is annoyed with the people who place their trash beside the bins. However, he also feels SSH& has a part to play. ‘They should be stricter in their enforcement of the rules and be more watchful of littering.’

According to an SSH& spokesperson, the company will continue to insist that people not place their trash next to the bins. ‘It is unfortunate that this situation has dragged on, but we remain dependent on the cooperation of the residents. After all, we can’t watch the containers all day.’

The nest has also caused trouble for DAR employees, according Van der Heijden. ‘When they emptied the plastic containers last Tuesday, eight rats suddenly jumped out of the truck. One of the workers was so incensed that he stated he would not return if it happened again.’

Translated by Jasper Pesch

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