Credits: QMI Agency/Lyle Aspinall
CALGARY – City officials have confirmed a rodent found in a New Brighton home is a roof rat, and provincial rat catchers will be scouring the area in case there's more.
On Thursday, Dan Reiter discovered a large dead rat that fell victim to bait in an attempt to catch whatever was roaming around his garage.
On Friday night, Animal and Bylaw Services picked up the rodent and confirmed it was a roof rat, said operations manager Doug Frizzell.
Frizzell said the province's specialist has been contacted about the rat, which seems to be the only sighting.
"We haven't seen any other evidence of anything else, but we'll certainly keep an eye on the area and then if there are any other calls we'll respond accordingly," Frizzell said.
The rat could have arrived from a vehicle or could have been somebody's pet.
"Trying to track it back, unless we knew it was from a container truck or something like that, there's no real clue of where it might have come from," he said.
Provincial Rat and Pest Specialist Phil Merrill said he will visit the Calgary neighbourhood Monday with local pest control officers to reconfirm the rat is the only one.
Reiter lives blocks away from a landfill, and while Frizzell said there's no proof the rat came from there, Merrill will spend time at the dump and scour the area just to be sure.
"We can't be wrong, we don't want to make a mistake and miss them."
He said if there was an infestation in the dump, the rats would not start to disperse until spring when the weather is warmer.
Alberta's rat-free-status was jeopardized last summer when a nest of the rodents were found in Medicine Hat and six were discovered in Calgary.
More than 150 rats were found, cornered or killed in the Medicine Hat area -- at the landfill, in the city and in adjacent Cypress County.
"When we say rat free, at any one point in time we could have a single rat come in or we could find an infestation," said Merrill.
"Rat free means we have no population of rats -- there's no rats in Alberta that we don't know of or aren't trying to kill."
He said the total number of rats has been decreasing since 1950.
"We are as rat free now as we have ever been," he said.