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Rats are common in urban areas such as St. Catharines. The risk of rats spreading disease is low, but they can cause damage to homes and property.

While rats generally avoid contact with humans, they will enter your home to seek food, water and shelter if given the chance.

Rats can squeeze through cracks as small as a quarter, so it's important to close up any cracks or gaps which can be used to enter your home.

Please use the links below or download our Urban Wildlife: Rats brochure for information on how to respond to rat sightings in the city.

Urban wildlife

Urban wildlife are animals which live in cities and towns but are not pets or farm animals. Urban wildlife includes rodents, pigeons, raccoons, skunks, squirrels, foxes, coyotes, rabbits, bats and opossums.

The geography of the Niagara peninsula with easy access to water through its many lake, ponds, rivers and streams, abundant food sources and ample trees, bushes and other greenery used for shelter, makes it an inviting environment for urban wildlife.

While Niagara may make an attractive home for these creatures, they are unwelcome by most residents

Rodent proof your home

  • Close up easy entry points into your home, such as cracks in walls and foundations.
  • Cover dryer vents, attic vents and soffits with mesh metal screening.
  • Use metal weather stripping under doors and weather strip windows.

How to make your house less attractive to rats

  • Remove clutter from inside and outside your house and garage.
  • Cut tall grass and weeds.
  • Secure garbage in containers with tight-fitting lids.
  • Keep fatty or oily food waste, eggs, or milk products out of composters.
  • Use a layer of heavy metal mesh between the soil and the bottom of the composter.
  • Eliminate water sources, such as leaky taps.
  • Keep your kitchen clean.
  • Store dry food and dry pet food in metal or glass containers

Eliminate rats from your home

  • Hardware stores sell traps and pesticides which can help homeowners eliminate rats.
  • It is important to always use caution when using these devices.
  • Always follow the manufacturers guidelines to prevent accidental contact with people and pets and use products specifically designed for rats.
  • Traps should be set away from children and animals.
  • Traps should be reset in three to four weeks to catch maturing rats.

Source: Health Canada Pest Management Regulatory Agency

When to call a licenced pest control contractor

A licenced pest control contractor can confirm the presence of rodents, identify what type and recommend actions to rid your home of the unwanted pests. Look for these signs to know if you should call a licenced pest control contractor:

  • Rats are seen in your home.
  • Rodent droppings or urine are found in your home.
  • Burrows or holes are found around your home's foundation walls.
  • You have a rat infestation you cannot control on your own.

Rat-proof your neighbourhood

Rats thrive in urban areas where there is easy access to food, water and shelter. So it's possible to spot rats in your neighbourhood, even if they aren't in your home.

Rats tend to stay within 30 metres (100 ft.) of their burrow or shelter. This means that rats in an urban area aren't just a problem for the one resident who sees a rat in their yard. That's why it's important for neighbours to work together.

Talk to your neighbours about changes to ensure the area is less inviting to rats.

  • Remove garbage and debris kept in sheds and on properties.
  • Cut tall grass and weeds.
  • Raise woodpiles about 30 cm (1 ft) off the ground.
  • Clean up dog feces in yards, as this is a food source for rats.
  • Feed dogs and other pets inside.
  • Stop feeding birds or other wild animals as this provides an easy food source for rats.
  • Empty bird baths.

When to call the City

Call the City of St. Catharines at 905.688.5600 if you see any of the following:

  • Rats are seen entering or exiting a City sewer.
  • Rats are seen in a home's toilet.
  • Rats are seen entering a neighbour's home.
  • A neighbour's home is in disrepair or has garbage and debris on the property which could provide rats shelter.

If you are a tenant and you suspect the unit you are renting has a rodent problem contact your landlord.

Copyright © 2014 The Corporation of the City of St. Catharines