Hotels In Venice Are Arming Guests With Water Guns & It's Just To Hold Off The Seagulls

"As soon as they see the pistols, they fly away." 🔫

​Seagull watching over Venice.
Global Editorial Fellow

Seagull watching over Venice.

Seagulls ruin everything, including a nice trip to Italy.

Picture this: You're taking in a scenic view of the Grand Canal in Venice while eating a slice of pizza on a hotel terrace.

Then out of nowhere, a bunch of beach chickens come squawking at you, desperate to get a taste of your yummy lunch.

But you're ready for them. You pull out a tiny water gun, open fire and the birds fly off, leaving you in peace.

That's what your afternoon might look like if you visit the Gritti Palace or the Hotel Monaco & Grand Canal in Venice, where the seagull problem is really getting out of hand. The hotels have started arming guests with water guns so they can keep the "predatory" birds away, Italy's ANSA news outlet reports.

The Venice Hoteliers' Association hosted a seminar to discuss ways of solving the seagull problem and that's where the water-gun idea came from, the Guardian reports.

"As soon as guests get up, perhaps to go to the buffet, seagulls pounce on the food and take it away," said one hotelier at the event.

While many solutions were proposed, the group ultimately settled on water guns for guests to defend themselves. That solution works because it's illegal to hurt the birds, which are a protected species know as "magoghe" or herring gulls, ANSA reports.

"They are, in fact, a protected species and cannot be eliminated, as is done, for example, with mice," said hygiene and environmental expert Francesco Boemo on the matter.

The birds are having the same reaction to the water guns as a cat would have when you spray it with water — immense hatred.

"As soon as they see the pistols, they fly away," said Gritti Palace Director Paolo Lorenzini to ANSA, as translated by Forbes.

Lorenzini added that bird experts recommended the colour orange because the birds can easily spot it.

"You don't even need to use them, you just need to keep them on the table," he said.

We might take a page out of the Italians' book and keep a bright orange water gun with us when we go to the beach, just in case.

Andrew Mrozowski
Global Editorial Fellow