According to many residents and pest control professionals, the rats in downtown Toronto have spread out since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. As if lockdowns weren’t difficult enough. Rats that lived in the alleyways of restaurants and tourist hubs moved into residential neighbourhoods to find food, burrowing into backyards and through the foundations of Toronto homes.
All the construction in the city doesn’t help, either. Since 2016, when Union Station started renovating, many commuters have spotted the animals scurrying around the station. The addition of new condominiums along the waterfront has also disturbed many colonies of rats, digging into their tunnels and forcing them to relocate.
To get around, rats use sewers and subway tunnels. They dig, swim, and climb their way across the city’s underground. If you ever come across some rats on the ttc, be careful. Here’s what you should know about Toronto’s rodents.
Don’t Get too Close
The rats you see in the subway don’t go to the vet. These are dirty animals that hang out in the sewers and eat whatever they find. A single bite or scratch may cause serious infection. If you ever come in contact with a wild rat, see your doctor or visit a walk-in clinic immediately.
While cases of Plague are rare, rats do have the potential to carry harmful diseases. They spread loads of bacteria, including Salmonella, rat-bite fever, Leptospira, and Francisella tularensis – a rare infectious disease known as Tularemia. Every one of these can be lethal without medical attention. Stay away from rats, raccoons, and other urban wildlife and wash your hands when you get home.
A little home renovation can go a long way. Give yourself a few hours next weekend to pest-proof your property and keep rats out. Rodent problems may be more common than you think!
First, tidy up the yard and do some simple landscaping. Cut the grass, trim back your hedges, and move plant materials away from the walls of the home. The less clutter, the better. Pick up fallen fruit and rake the leaves in the fall. Get rid of the bird feeder if you can live without it, and secure your garbage bins with bungee cords or tight locks.
Then, seal off every possible entry point. Old Toronto houses are prone to having openings in their walls that let rodents indoors. Examine your property closely for gaps and cracks, low to the ground, then fix them to the best of your abilities. Any opening that is 20mm wide or larger will fit a rat.
Fix or replace your window screens, then seal cracks in your window frames with caulking. Put weatherstripping on the bottoms of your doors and block out the gaps in your cable lines with steel wool or expanding foam. Seal cracks in the foundation with epoxy and cover your wall vents with steel mesh.
Call an Exterminator Right Away
The key to solving a rodent problem is to be vigilant. Call a local exterminator as soon as you see signs of rats on your property. Rats will quickly get out of control if you don’t get immediate help. A licensed exterminator can tell you where the rats are coming from and provide you with bait stations to get their population back under control. They can get rid of the pests quickly and keep them out by pest-proofing your home for you.