Rats! Responding to rodents responsibly

Rats! Responding to rodents responsibly

Rats are a reasonable cause for concern in homes and businesses, but that doesn’t mean their presence can’t be managed responsibly, humanely, and through prevention.

Headlines have cropped up about infestations in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland recently, though researchers on the ground indicate that there isn’t hard evidence to suggest an increase to populations. A researcher with the Vancouver Rat Project told the CBC that while calls to pest control companies are anecdotally increasing, “whether or not that actually has to deal with increasing rat numbers or changes in awareness around rats is unclear.”

Regardless of actual populations, the presence of rats can pose health concerns that legally must be managed in certain locations. That doesn’t mean steps can’t be taken to prevent attracting rats, or that more humane options are available in removing them. Here’s three things to consider when looking for humane strategies and options in managing rats:

  1. Remove Attractants. Like all wildlife, rats will look for easy opportunities to eat. Looking for attractants around your home or business can be a quick first step in preventing them from settling in. Look for accessible garbage, fallen vegetation, pet food, or grease traps, and clean/remove them as possible.
  2. Dumpsters. It’s pretty easy to imagine how an accessible dumpster is sort of a heaven to any small, omnivorous critter. While you may not be able to get rid of a dumpster, you can make sure it’s kept as clean as possible, and drainage holes are properly soldered so wildlife (including skunks, who commonly get trapped by them) can’t gain access.
  3. Be AnimalKind. Finding a company who is using the most humane methods and has shown an effort to be as kind as possible to animals when removing them is easier than ever thanks to our friends at the BC SPCA. Their AnimalKind program accredits pest control companies and gives you peace of mind that animals are being treated as well as possible. Check them out at AnimalKind.ca.

Rats and other rodents are trying to make their way through the world, just like we are. Being kind takes only a moment, and it benefits everyone.


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The Fur-Bearers is a national non-profit based in Vancouver. It was formed in 1953 and advocates on behalf of fur-bearing animals in the wild and in confinement, and promotes co-existence with wildlife. More about our history and campaigns can be found at thefurbearers.com.

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