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Venice Diners Given Water Guns To Combat Swarms Of Hungry Seagulls

We've all had seagulls swarm us when we tuck into dinner, but hotels along a Venice al fresco opted to defend themselves against the pest.

The Gritti Palace, one of the most luxe hotels in Venice, Italy, offers guests luxury furnishings with antique and 'precious' fabrics. Now, guests can also expect a somewhat out of place orange water pistol to use during their stay.

According to The Times, the water guns are being used to keep Venice's aggressive seagulls from making off with the guest's meals.

"We decided to act after a customer lifted a croissant to his mouth and a lurking seagull dived and snatched it from his hand," Enrico Mazzocco, the manager of the Monaco & Grand Canal hotel stated.

"On another occasion a gull flew off with an entire steak, just as the waiter lifted the lid off the plate he was serving it on. We started placing the pistols on each table when the gulls start to circle." 

What might come as a surprise to many (or maybe just to me) is that seagulls are in fact, a protected species. 

Francesco Boemo, a hygiene and environment expert who organised the seminar, said according to The Guardian. "They are, in fact, a protected species and cannot be eliminated, as is done, for example, with mice." 

So instead of opting for a means of harming the seagulls, the hotel has opted for a rather juvenile but effective deterrent with water pistols.

They're, of course not the first venue to do so; in fact us Aussies have been resorting to this method for some time now. In 2018, Toby Evans, the owner of popular Perth restaurant 3 Sheets, told ABC Radio Perth he made a trip to a toy shop and armed every table outside with a water pistol. 

"We just fill them up with water and when the seagulls get too close the customers unleash Armageddon with water on them." said Evans. 

So try and avoid getting your fries soggy when spraying the seagulls, and they should be fine.