INDIALANTIC, Fla. - People are worried rats are taking over a popular beach boardwalk on the Space Coast.
The issue is happening in Indialantic, near Nance Park. Now, the town has hired an exterminator to get a handle on the rodent population.
"One day I threw some trash into the bin, and as I did, the rat just popped out at me," said Dianne Duby who’s noticed a spike in the rat infestation since the summer.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the only place she saw a rat on the boardwalk.
"I was hanging out on the bench one day reading a book, and a man saw the rat," she added. "I didn’t even see it or hear it, and it was kind of around my feet."
The rats hide during the day and are fast on their feet. Visitors said the rodent surfaces late at night and early in the morning. Duby is worried about public health.
"They carry disease. I’m afraid, what if someone gets bit because they’re not afraid of people," Duby exclaimed. "They just kind of scurry around. You’ll be walking and all of a sudden you’ll see one zipping right across."
Other beachgoers are also worried.
"It made me feel a little bit anxious to get out of here," said Dee Kaiser.
FOX 35 took these concerns to the Indialantic town manager.
"We have had complaints on it," said Michael Casey who’s in charge of trying to find a solution.
Casey says they’ve hired an exterminator who is trapping rats down the entire boardwalk. He said the town is also working to increase how often the traps are inspected and re-filled with bait.
"At one point, there were feral cats down there which might have helped with the rats, but the coyotes came along and ate the feral cats, so it’s an evolutionary problem," Casey said.
"I want to know what the predator for a rat is," said Rick and Dee Kaiser. "I’d rather have feral cats than rats, but I don’t want either."
The town is asking people to stop throwing trash on the ground, so rats can’t find food near the boardwalk.
"They’re back with full force," Duby concluded.
Beachgoers also say the issue is worse on the weekends because that’s when trashcans overflow with food and garbage.