How does Edmonton, Alberta, stay rat-free

How does Edmonton, Alberta, stay rat-free? 

Not a fan of rats? If you’re like most people in that regard, you’ll probably love our city!

Edmonton, Alberta, is one of the few places these pesky critters are not normally found. Aside from the affordable living costs, being rat-free is one of the reasons why many people want to move to and live in our city

Want to know how we achieved this? All right, then, get ready for a primer on Alberta’s “War on Rats”! 

What is the history of rat control in Edmonton, Alberta?

What is the history of rat control in Edmonton, Alberta
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons 

Edmonton and the whole province of Alberta have been rat-free since 1950. It’s when the Rat Control Program was established to eradicate the breeding population of rats in Alberta. 

The Norway rat (Rattus norvegicus) infestation problem started in the 1920s but was first reported to spread in Alberta’s eastern border in 1950. 

As a response, the Alberta Department of Health decided to implement a rat control program to slow and halt the spread of rats in the province to prevent diseases or plagues. 

Through the amendment to the Agricultural Pests Act of Alberta, rats were declared pests, and leaflets and radio broadcasts helped spread awareness of the threats rats posed. 

What is the history of rat control in Edmonton, Alberta
Image Source: POulin’s Pest Control 

That’s why every person and every level of government is mandated to destroy and prevent the establishment of rats and other provincially designated pests. 

Apart from that, Alberta also maintained a Rat Control Zone (RCZ) on Saskatchewan’s eastern border. 

The zone was 600 kilometers long and 29 kilometers wide. The seven municipalities in this zone bore the responsibility for rat control with the help of the government’s rat control staff and pest control inspectors and officers. 

In the end, the aggressive Rat Control Program killed every single rat that reached the Saskatchewan Border. 

Pest control programs and measures have not changed much since then. In fact, it got even more strict to the point where owning a pet rat is considered illegal. 

It’s worth noting that even if the whole province gained “rat-free status,” this doesn’t mean we never get rats. In 2020, the province even launched a new email reporting system to help track potential rat infestations. 

To this date, hundreds of suspected rat infestations are reported each year, but most sightings do not raise much of an alarm since it’s mostly one or two rats that hitchhike on transport trucks or vehicles.

Occasionally, there are small infestations, but once reported, they are immediately isolated and exterminated through pest control methods

What are the ecological factors that help Edmonton stay rat-free? 

What are the ecological factors that help Edmonton stay rat-free
Image Source 

Edmonton, Alberta, is rat-free due to its geography. The province has unsettled short-grass prairie in the south, boreal mixed-wood forest in the north, and the Rocky Mountains in the west. 

Norway rats can’t live in most of these areas and tend to depend on manmade structures and spaces.

The east is the only invasion route since it’s a populated rural area, so this is where the Rat Control Zone is established. The government of Alberta supports the municipalities in this zone through funding and supplies, as well as trained pest control teams

Moreover, the Alberta and Saskatchewan governments collaborate to share information and resources that can help reduce rat migration.