Don’t want rats in your house? Then don’t leave your door open.
“Even if you are just going to the car getting another bag of groceries, rats are pretty fast and they can get in in a flash,” says Dave White of WildSafe BC.
He says rats have established themselves in Fairview and are appearing more often in Uphill.
“I’m sure they’ll get to Rosemont eventually,” White told the Star following an update he gave to city council last week.
Compost is the worst, he says. Find ways to rat-proof your compost.
“That rotating barrel type composer is the best kind because rats have a hard time climbing it.”
Also, get rid of your bird feeders and put your garbage in the freezer if you can, otherwise in a sealed basement.
White says the uptick in the rat population in Nelson doesn’t have a specific cause, other than migration. He thinks they may have arrived on the train.
“It’s just that they hadn’t made it to Nelson yet. They spread from community to community. When I first started getting reports it was around Gordon Road and Second Street, so not too far from the tracks.”
White says one pair of rats can multiply to 1,000 in a year.
“That’s what stood out for me,” councillor Rik Logtenberg told the Star after hearing White’s presentation, “is how fast they breed. Eradication efforts are not going to be effective. Let’s say you kill all but two, well that two can balloon back up to 1,000 again.”
So Logtenberg echoes White in saying managing food sources will limit the population.
“If they cannot access compost or bird feeders, the population will not grow. We are definitely concerned, and it is about communication to people. Dave has in some places been going door-to-door on that.”
White says he’s had about 60 reports of rats in Nelson in the past month but “that is a fraction of the issues, that is the tip of the iceberg for sure.”
Most reports are of rats spotted outside, but some have reported rats inside their houses.
How is the public reacting to this new population of newcomers in our town?
“You get everything on the spectrum,” White says, “from people who really hate rats to people who don’t want them hurt.”