Canada
Another rat believed to have been found in rat-free Alberta

Dan Reiter displays on Friday, Jan. 4, 2013 a rat he found and killed in his New Brighton home in Calgary, AB

Credits: LYLE ASPINALL/QMI AGENCY

NADIA MOHARIB | QMI AGENCY

CALGARY - It could be a rogue vermin or - as some officials fear - travelling in a pack.

Either way, it appears the rodent Dan Reiter said he found in his garage this week is indeed a rat.

Phil Merrill, Alberta's top rat catcher, said several photographs of the rodent caught rooting about Reiter's Calgary garage appears to be a roof rat.

He suspects it likely came from Vancouver and hopes it didn't have company.

Staff from the city's Animal Bylaw Services intended to pick up the rodent carcass Friday night with an official saying they had yet to confirm it is a rat.

Reiter, who describes the rodent as nearly the length of his size 10 shoe, said he first suspected some critter was about a week ago in the attached garage of his southeast home.

He never thought a rat might be the culprit.

"I heard scurrying and chewing," he said Friday.

Several days after putting down mouse traps with no bites, Reiter said the offender made a brief appearance.
"I saw it scurry down the wall, no one believed me when I told them how big it was," he said.

He said he couldn't either, especially when he got an up-close encounter with the rodent who he suspected took rat bait he put along the perimeter of his garage before ending up dead on the floor.

There were six rats found in Calgary last year, some suspected to have come in on transport trucks and other found to be illegal pet rats which got loose.

Merrill, a veteran rat and pest specialist with the province, is anxious to learn more about apparent recent rat find in Calgary.

He suspects it is a roof rat - in essence the underdog to the more popular Norway rat - but like any rat a potential threat to humans.

"It is a very dirty animal and a disease threat," he said.
Merrill said Reiter's apparent rat find might well be an accidental tourist from B.C. given it's not uncommon for rats to make it to Calgary - which boasts as being rat-free along with the rest of Alberta - in everything from food trucks from California to a lumber trucks from B.C.

Either way, he said the priority will be to find out if there's more.

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