|Peace Officer Todd Kabeya holds up the dead rat for reporters.|
Due to the advanced decomposition it is difficult to confirm whether the rat was bred as a pet or came in on a transport truck.
An extensive initial search of the area by Bylaw officers has turned up no evidence of any other rats. A broader secondary will be conducted and the area will be monitored until Bylaw officers are satisfied that there are no more rats present, alive or dead.
This is the sixth confirmed rat Animal & Bylaw Services has found in Calgary this year. In the spring four pet rats were collected by Bylaw officers and one dead rat was found in a truck.
When a call comes in about a suspected rat, Bylaw treats it as a priority call.
The reason the presence of even one rat is a cause for concern is because rats consume and spoil grain and other food, damage buildings, chew through electrical wires and can carry several diseases. A breeding pair of rats can produce as many as 15,000 offspring in a year.
Tell tale signs of rats include burrows with five to 7.5 centimetre diameter entrances that have well worn pathways; wall and floor holes; gnawing sounds or evidence of chewing; droppings the size of an olive pit; nests and caches on or below ground level made of food remains, paper, straw, cardboard, shredded cloth or plastic bags; musky odours and oily smudges.
All suspected rat sightings should be reported to 3-1-1 or the Alberta Rat Patrol’s toll-free number: 403-310-3276.