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Students triumph over rats

Posted at 11:07am Monday 16 Nov, 2020

Ailish Keenan, 12, gets ready to plunge a knife into a Norway rat cake – a reward for students’ successful trapping efforts.
Ailish Keenan, 12, gets ready to plunge a knife into a Norway rat cake – a reward for students' successful trapping efforts.

Student volunteers at Mahurangi College celebrated their success at driving down the predator population in the school grounds by tucking into a giant rat cake earlier this month.

Over the last six months, around 15 volunteers have succeeded in eliminating 45 rats, 14 mice, six hedgehogs, two weasels, eight possums and one stoat.

The volunteers service traplines around the school during lunchtimes on Mondays.

College forest project coordinator Colin Binsted says the trapping exercise will be excellent preparation for when the students eventually cross the Mahurangi River and begin utilising 10ha of native bush adjacent to the school as a “living classroom”.      

Rodent experts will be pleased to note that the cake created by Warkworth pastry chef Zara Astrop was a faithful rendering of a Norway rat – commonly found at the school – with a tail shorter than the body and the ears too short to fold down over the eyes.

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