Roof rats, a common presence in B.C. since the 19th century, are now finding their way to the Interior. File photo

COLUMN: Rats! Rodents reported in Fairview area

Dave White has advice for what to do if you have a rat problem

Dave White

WildSafeBC

Nelson has joined a long list of Interior communities that now have a population of rats. As the WildSafeBC community coordinator for the RDCK areas E and F, I’ve been receiving reports of rats in the Fairview area.

The species appears to be Ratus ratus, which has the common name of roof rat or black rat. Originating in southeast Asia, it spread to Europe through the Roman Empire’s extensive trade routes in the first century. It has spread from Europe to much of the rest of the world, first through ships and then trains and motor vehicles.

Roof rats have been in B.C. since the mid-1800s and are now showing up through much of the interior of the province.

The roof rat is identified by the fact it has a tail longer than its main body length. An adult can reach 13 to 18 centimeters in length. The colour is black to light brown.

Rats can still spread bacteria that cause disease in humans such as pneumonia, salmonella, rat bite fever and a variety of lesser known illnesses. The rat can also be a nuisance as it gnaws holes to get into buildings, causing damage. It also digs into gardens and chicken coops to eat animal feed, fruit, vegetables and even flower bulbs.

With a gestation period of three weeks and reaching sexually maturity in five weeks, a pair of rats can reproduce exponentially, creating up to a thousand or more descendants in a year. This makes eradication very difficult. Managing attractants is the best way to avoid the exponential growth.

Keep garbage secure, never put it out at night, and always use a rodent-proof container when putting it on the curb. Don’t leave pet food outside, don’t have a bird feeder, especially the type that distributes seeds. Manage compost by turning it regularly, adding dry grass or leaves, and buy or build a composter that does not allow rodents to access the contents. If you have rats, work with your neighbours to manage attractants in your neighborhood.

Make sure you seal up any holes into your house using wire mesh and expanding foam, as rats and mice can gnaw through expanding foam used alone. Rats can squeeze though holes as small as a toonie.

Trapping rats on its own is not a solution – the underlying conditions that gave rise to the rat population in the first place should be addressed. If you still need to trap rats it is important that the trap be sufficiently strong to deliver a quick, killing blow to the animal and that the trap be set in such a way as to minimize the accidental trapping of animals other than rats. Healthlink BC has some good solid information on trapping procedures and on the safe handling and disposal of the dead animal: healthlinkbc.ca/healthlinkbc-files/getting-rid-rodents

If you see or catch a rat, please take a photograph of the rat and send it along with any information you can provide to me by email: nelson@wildsafebc.com or call 250-505-6007. The information will be used to create a database of the distribution throughout the city which will help us better understand where our educational services are needed.

If you are experiencing a conflict with wildlife please call the Conservation Officer Service’s RAPP Line at 1-877-952-7277.

Just Posted

Wait’s News lives! Iconic Nelson diner to relocate

Wait’s will set up shop on Nelson Avenue later this year

MS Bike Challenge raises over $81,000

The annual event in Nelson included over 60 cyclists

Nelson’s Maglio hired by Spokane Chiefs

Adam Maglio will serve as an assistant coach with the WHL team

COLUMN: Working together on climate action with our MLAs

Katherine Oldfield writes about the Citizens’ Climate Lobby’s trip to Victoria

Buddhist monument to be dedicated in Slocan cemetery

A new post has been created to mark the site where at least nine Japanese Canadians were cremated

VIDEO: Young couple found dead in northern B.C. had been shot, police say

Chynna Noelle Deese of the U.S. and Lucas Robertson Fowler of Australia were found along Highway 97

VIDEO: Man found dead near B.C. teens’ truck could be linked to a double homicide

RCMP said they are looking for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, of Port Alberni

Latest plan is to fly trapped fish by helicopter over Big Bar slide

Multi-pronged plan set in motion to freesalmon blocked by landslide in the Fraser River

Family of missing B.C. senior with dementia frustrated with situation, heartened by community support

Nine days since Grace was last seen the question remains: ‘How can an 86-year-old just disappear?’

B.C. removes personal limits for bringing home out-of-province alcohol

Previous relgulations placed limits on the amount of liquor that B.C. residents could bring home

Unsealed record suggests U.S. man convicted of murdering Vancouver Island couple left DNA on zip tie in 1987

William Talbott is set to be sentenced Wednesday in the murders of Jay Cook and Tanya Van Cuylenborg

Okanagan Air Cadet challenges gender-exclusive haircut policy

Haircut regulation inspires challenge around gender identity

VIDEO: Bystander training gains traction as tool to prevent sexual harassment, violence

Julia Gartley was sexually assaulted after an event, and no one stepped in to help

Two brands of ice cream sandwiches recalled due to presence of metal

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued a recall on Iceberg and Originale Augustin brands

Most Read