We’ve Been Named the Rattiest City in Atlantic Canada
It’s official. At least according to one company who ought to know. Canada’s leader in pest control, Orkin Canada, has issued a press release declaring St. John’s the most ratty city in Atlantic Canada, followed by Halifax, then Saint John rounding out the top 3.
Our neighbours needn’t feel too smug or comfy: Mt. Pearl and Paradise rank 6th and 7th on the list. Orkin’s findings are based on the number of commercial and residential rodent treatments carried out by Orkin between September 1, 2016 to August 31, 2017.
As temperatures cool this fall, these rodents will have no problem coming into your house to forage, drink, and seek shelter. They only need a half-inch hole to crawl into your house through, and they’ll bring with them droppings, disease, and ever-sharpening teeth that cause millions in damage across the country each year.
What Can Be Done to Prevent a Rat Roommate?
Homes with small holes or cracks in perimeter walls are most at risk. Between the suggestions of both the City of St. John’s website, and Orkin Canada’s press release, these appear to be the top 5 tips to avoid having a rat roommate this fall:
- Close the Gaps: Seal any cracks or holes in foundation with weather-resistant sealant.
- Trim around the Home: Keep shrubbery, beds, tree limbs, etc cut back at least a metre from your house to eliminate any hiding spots or any sense of safety for rodents.
- Avoid Makeshift Watering Holes: Rats need water to survive. Deny them water by cleaning out things like clogged gutters, or emptying rain-filled garbage or recycling bins.
- Do Not Store Garbage Outside: Place it at the curb on the morning of garbage day. Otherwise your property becomes a foraging ground.
- Compost Properly: Do not add fish or meat to backyard composts.
The City of St. John’s offers a free brochure online for rat infestation prevention. It includes additional tips like removing bird feeders or attaching catch basins to them, so bird feed does not become rat feed, and not enclosing the space under your patio, “not even with lattice.”
The Worst Things About Rats?
Unlike a lot of their kin, rats do not hibernate for winter. They just seek out good shelter and water sources, which tend to be human dwellings or workplaces, and they can live up to 14 months. They also reproduce like mad, so a small rat issue can, become a big one in a hurry. One rat can have up to 12 pups per litter, and 6 litters per year, effectively spawning over 70 rats per year.
Easy ID Tips: Is That a Rat or a Mouse in Your Kitchen Cupboard?
Mice are noticeably smaller than rats; rats can grow to 10 inches in length. Mice have a pointed snouts when compared to the blunt snout of a rat. But mainly: look at the tail. Rats have a basically hairless and scaly tail, and that’s the dead giveaway. That and the hissing: mice are timid, whereas rats can be pretty aggressive if intimidated. Rats also leave grease stains, ugh.
Can the City Help?
“There is no government organized rodent control program in St. John’s or in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador,” that’s a direct quote from the City’s website. “The responsibility for rodent control lies with the owner and/or the occupant of the land, dwelling, or business.” You’re on your own with that rat problem of yours, but the City does clear its public spaces of redents to the best of its ability, like parks, playgrounds, sports facilities, and waterways. There’s even a number to call if you suspect an infestation: 311 or 576-CITY (2489).
These Rats Shouldn’t Even Be Here
The Norway Rat (Rattus norvegicus) goes by many names, including “sewer rat” or “harbour rat.” They’re not native to Newfoundland, and made their way to our island on the rat-infested ships of European settlers.
Crazy Facts about Rats You Don’t Wanna Hear
- Like a cat, a falling rat always lands on its feet, ready to pounce. They can fall 15 meters or more and not die.
- They can swim well enough to enter your home through floor drains, sewer lines, and toilet bowl traps.
- They have monkey-esque climbing abilities, including a knack for scaling wires, pipes, rough exterior walls, and other human-made materials in homes and offices.
- They can burrow under, or gnaw through just about anything short of concrete, especially if there’s a crack in it, including lead pipe, brick, cinder blocks, aluminum sheeting, and even glass.
- They need only an opening of 1/2 an inch to get into your home.