Somerville has launched the latest salvo in humanity's ongoing battle with rattus: Small environmentally friendly death chambers that can sense the presence of a rat and then electrocute it.
When a rodent enters a SMART Box, sensors detect movement and body heat and activate a “catch” function, immediately killing the rodent with an electrical current. The rodent is deposited into a closed container, then the trap automatically resets. SMART Boxes monitor and record rodent activity 24/7 and alert Modern Pest when activity is detected. SMART Boxes do not use poisons and are securely locked, so they don’t pose risks to people, other animals, or the environment.
The city and Modern Pest Services deployed an initial batch of 50 of the boxes to Davis Square, Gilman Street, Lexington Street and Macarthur Street, based in part on rat complaints to the city 311 system and Inspectional Services violations, in part because the four areas represent four different types of terrain on which to try them out: business, residential, open space and next to a construction/transit area.
Mayor Katjana Ballantyne said Somerville is only the second city in the country - after Portland, ME - to roll out rat electrodeath boxes.