Europe

Yikes! Paris battles rat infestations

  • A Paris city employee shows a dead rat in the Saint Jacques Tower park, in the center of Paris, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. Paris is on a new rampage against rats, trying to shrink the growing rodent population. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

    A Paris city employee shows a dead rat in the Saint Jacques Tower park, in the center of Paris, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. Paris is on a new rampage against rats, trying to shrink the growing rodent population. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)  (The Associated Press)

  • Three rats gather in the lawn in the Saint Jacques Tower park, in the center of Paris, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. Paris is on a new rampage against rats, trying to shrink the growing rodent population. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

    Three rats gather in the lawn in the Saint Jacques Tower park, in the center of Paris, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. Paris is on a new rampage against rats, trying to shrink the growing rodent population. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)  (The Associated Press)

  • A Paris employee shows a dead rat in the Saint Jacques Tower park, in the center of Paris, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. Paris is on a new rampage against rats, trying to shrink the growing rodent population. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

    A Paris employee shows a dead rat in the Saint Jacques Tower park, in the center of Paris, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. Paris is on a new rampage against rats, trying to shrink the growing rodent population. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)  (The Associated Press)

Both the rat and Nadine Mahe des Portes panicked when she inadvertently stepped on the rodent on her walk back from work through Paris.

"I heard a terrible squeak," the property agent recalled with a shudder. "I thought I'd stepped on a child's toy or something."

When citizens are literally tripping over rats on the sidewalk, it is clear that the City of Light has a problem. Professional exterminators with decades in the job struggle to recall infestations as impressive — perhaps that should be repulsive — as those now forcing the closure of Paris parks, where squirmy clumps of rats brazenly feed in broad daylight, looking like they own the place.