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Seagull in Venice
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Hotel guests in Venice are being given water pistols to shoot at seagulls

The birds have become so confident in recent years that hotels are resorting to drastic action

Sophie Dickinson
Written by
Sophie Dickinson

Imagine this: you’re sitting on a balcony overlooking a canal in Venice, eating something rather delizioso, watching the world go by. Glorious, right? Well, not if seagulls start swooping in for your cannoli.

Luckily, two hotels in the Italian city – the Gritti Palace and Hotel Monaco & Grand Canal – have come up with an ingenious solution. Rooms now come equipped with water pistols, with guests encouraged to take part in a bit of vigilante pest control. See one coming for your dinner? Give them a little squirt.

The birds have become so confident in recent years that the local hospitality industry ran a seminar to consider how to cope with them. Other ideas included creating unpleasant odours – which humans can’t smell – and hiring hawks to monitor the canals. But hotels have opted for the much less costly water pistol method instead.

Apparently, though, the birds have become so aware of the threat that guests barely need to pick up their weapons. ‘As soon as they see the pistols, they fly away,’ hotelier Paolo Lorenzini told the Italian press. ‘You don’t even need to use them – you just need to keep them on the table.’

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