Ever won­der where the rats roost?

truro comes in at no. 10 on this (un­sci­en­tific) list

Truro Daily News - - FRONT PAGE - BY FRAN­CIS CAMP­BELL

How goes the rat race?

The rats seem to be win­ning, es­pe­cially the long-tailed ro­dents that call At­lantic canada home.

The town of truro is by no means the most wel­com­ing for rats, though it did come in at no. 10 on the At­lantic cana­dian rat race list. orkin canada, the coun­try’s largest pest con­trol provider, bases its find­ings on the num­ber of com­mer­cial and res­i­den­tial ro­dent – rats and mice – treat­ments it car­ries out.

hal­i­fax placed sec­ond on the list, fin­ish­ing be­hind st. John’s, n.l., for the re­gion’s rat­ti­est com­mu­nity crown.

“it just cre­ates an aware­ness of where the rat pop­u­la­tions are in At­lantic canada,” sean Rollo, re­gional man­ager for orkin, said of rat­ting out com­mu­ni­ties for their ro­bust ro­dent pop­u­la­tions.

“if there are any de­ci­sions or pol­icy-mak­ing, maybe this would be help­ful. it’s also help­ful to alert peo­ple who live in those com­mu­ni­ties that this is an is­sue in their com­mu­nity and that maybe they want to take some pre­ven­ta­tive mea­sures. it is the time of the year that (rats) are try­ing to get in out of the cold, although this has been an ab­nor­mally mild oc­to­ber. The ro­dents will be seek­ing shel­ter to get out of the cold and once they are in­side, they will set up shop quite hap­pily.”

Rank­ing third in orkin’s re­gional sur­vey is saint John, n.b., another port city.

“Any­time you have a port city, you have the abil­ity for rats or mice to en­ter into the city through the var­i­ous cargo ships that are coming in,” Rollo said. “There is also a lot of rail that meets up with the cargo and goes from there. it’s not sur­pris­ing that the cities that have the largest rat pop­u­la­tions are also port cities.”

Another rat fac­tor in hal­i­fax is the amount of con­struc­tion in the city.

The most com­monly found rat in this re­gion is the nor­way rat, which is roughly 40 to 50 cen­time­tres in length from nose to tail and weighs in at about half a kilo­gram. Un­for­tu­nately for home and busi­ness own­ers, a rat can squeeze through a minis­cule open­ing or gap in a build­ing.

“if your thumb can fit in­side the gap, the rat can get in there,” Rollo said.

“once they are in­side, to them it’s just a bet­ter ver­sion of na­ture. They don’t re­al­ize nec­es­sar­ily that they are in a build­ing but they’ve got warmth, they’ve got pro­tec­tion from preda­tors, they’ve got food and they’ve got wa­ter.”

Rollo said it’s im­por­tant for home­own­ers to know how to keep rats on the out­side look­ing in. home and busi­ness own­ers should fo­cus on ad­e­quate door sweeps and seal­ing up gaps that can pro­vide a rat con­duit.

When rats have gained en­try, call a pro­fes­sional, he said. The cost of ex­ter­mi­na­tion will vary from build­ing to build­ing, he said.

in many cases, res­i­dents are en­cour­aged not to put meat scraps in back­yard com­post bins so as not to at­tract ro­dents.

The orkin rank­ings, which put dart­mouth in fifth spot, ac­count only for calls to that com­pany and do not take into con­sid­er­a­tion the pop­u­la­tion of the ranked com­mu­ni­ties. There’s no gold medal or gi­ant rub­ber rat tro­phy awarded for fin­ish­ing atop the ratty rank­ings.

“it’s not so much shame,” Rollo said. “it’s not nec­es­sar­ily be­cause hal­i­fax or st. John’s or saint John are nec­es­sar­ily dirty cities. it is re­lated highly upon the ge­og­ra­phy of where that city is lo­cated and the propen­sity for the ro­dents to en­ter through cargo ships, rail and trans­porta­tion.”

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