Tourists in Venice given water pistols to join the fight against ‘aggressive’ seagulls

Venice: Cruise ship ban is ‘evil’ says expert

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Any British person who’s tried to enjoy some chips at the British seaside is likely to have faced a scavenging seagull. But Britons aren’t the only ones dealing with the angry birds.

Hoteliers in Venice have issued water pistols to customers to fend off seagulls from outdoor tables.

Francesco Boemo, a hygiene and environment expert, said: “The huge number of seagulls in addition to being an aggressive and annoying presence for people, represent a problem for health and hygiene, as well as for buildings and environment.”

Seagulls are a protected species so can’t be eliminated by pest control in the same way as rats or mice.

One hotelier said that the birds would immediately pounce on guests’ food as soon as it was left unattended.

The Gritti Palace and Hotel Monaco & Grand Canal have handed out orange coloured water pistols to guests.

Seagulls are thought to dislike the colour orange which adds another level of deterrent to the pistols.

According to one hotel worker, the birds fly away as soon as they see the pistols which often don’t even need to be used.

Seagulls are known for their scavenging nature and are often confident enough to attempt to steal food in front of many witnesses.

Over the years, the sea birds have increasingly moved inland with many colonies now at home in cities.

The UK is no stranger to seagulls and one man was even hospitalised in Devon after a run in with an aggressive bird.

Paul Carlyon was treated for a bleeding finger and given a tetanus shot after a seagull tried to steal his cheese and onion roll in Paignton.

A young boy had to receive emergency treatment in Plymouth after a bird attacked him while he enjoyed a doughnut.

Experts advise tourists to sit with their back against the wall if they are eating outside in an area popular with seagulls.

Tables with umbrellas or some sort of covering are also less likely to be targets for the marauding birds.

Tourists can also try to hold food close to their body to give the birds less of an opportunity to swoop.

Some experts say that staring down a bird could discourage it from attempting to steal although this is disputed.

Meanwhile tourists in Venice will face some new rules this year, including a possible tourist tax in summer.

Tourists may soon be charged to enter the historic city for the day using airport style turnstiles.

The beautiful city has suffered from overtourism in recent years which has created difficulties for local residents.

Cruise ships have also been banned from Venice’s historic port, following a request from UNESCO.

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