So, Toronto has something of a rodent problem.
A big rodent problem.
A problem with big rodents.
They are, apparently, in full population boom mode, in many neighbourhoods where nary a rat has been seen in decades.
Residents are horrified as their new neighbours scamper across seemingly pristine backyards, making themselves at home in the spotless garden shed.
Multiplying so quickly that if nests and rats aren’t quashed as soon as they are found, one pair can produce up to 15,000 offspring in a year.
They tunnel through concrete, eat grass seed and dog waste (it’s packed full of protein apparently), and seem virtually indestructible.
The argument that climate change is responsible for their exponential growth is not proven, as rats don’t need a warm or cold season to breed; females are capable of constantly breeding, and are in fact pregnant for most of their lives, sometimes having a dozen babies at a time.
When they find their way into our homes, it can have an extremely damaging effect on the property, and a devastating effect on the inhabitants.
Rats carry the onerous stereotype of being disease ridden nuisances which have spread such things as the bubonic plague, or Black Death, which killed millions of people in early Europe.
Today, they are known to pass onto humans numerous other afflictions, including Leptospirosis, Rat Bite Fever and Hantavirus.
And they are coming for us.
As David Bowie once opined, the rats are the size of cats!
The main theory is that they are being dug up, so to speak, with construction of homes and roads.
They were very happy living in their little underground abodes, until they were disturbed by large digging machines. And so, like any true survivors, they have moved into another neighbourhood.
And the residents don’t like it.
The City of Toronto doesn’t know how to handle it.
There were nearly a thousand registered complaints last year, and the numbers are still out for this year.
But there is no department to specifically deal with a rat problem.
Pest control companies say that they could live off the rat infestations.
And the relatively small city of Barrie is not immune.
There are rats causing problems in Barrie now too.
In fact pest control company Orkin ranked Barrie as 15th out of the 25 top cities for rat infestations in 2018.
Toronto ranks number 1.
Rats deserve a medal for perserverance.
Able to chew through plastic and electrical wiring, tunnel through dirt and even concrete, outsmarting traps, squeezing through small holes and surviving off dog waste.
You have to give them credit.
I don’t know what a possible solution might be.
Other than to say, I understand that Winnipeg has a feral cat problem.
More than 100,000 wild cats are roaming that city.
Can you see where I’m going with this?
Those rats wouldn’t know what hit them.
It wouldn’t be so hard to trap some of those cats, say, perhaps, half, and import them to Ontario would it?
Those cats would have a field day with all of those rodents.
But then, would Toronto too have a feral cat problem?
Would a problem with wild cats outweight a problem with rats?
We are caught between the proverbial rock and the hard place.
I would choose an overabundance of cats any day.
They are beautiful creatures, unapologetic in their natural fierceness, and humane killing machines in their quest for food.
The rats would suffer less being quickly acquiesced by a cat than if they are poisoned or maimed and languishing in a trap.
The issue is a circle.
But what I do know for sure, is that if jungle law has anything to do with it, everything will find a way, the right way, in the end.