November 02, 2015 - 4:30 PM
KELOWNA - Just because you’ve never seen a rat, doesn’t mean Kelowna doesn’t have rats.
Just ask Gary Mandl, who never saw a rat in his downtown Kelowna neighbourhood until his neighbours started composting last year.
“We went from zero rats to all of a sudden being able to catch a rat, reload the trap and have it go off again 15 minutes later. This has exploded in the last couple of years with all the food sources that are available, the compost piles, pet food, chicken coops,” Mandl says.
He claims to have lost count at 40 the number of rats he and his neighbour have trapped this year alone and marvels at both their intelligence and perseverance.
“They won’t touch rat poison. Won’t go near it,” Mandl says. “They’ve managed to get into my barbecue and they’ve stripped the charcoal residue right off the grill. It’s clean as a whistle. And the corn in my garden, it was surprising how a rat can peel an ear of corn while its still on the stalk and eat every single kernel, right down to the cob. It’s not crows doing that.”
Despite their intelligence, Mandl is not impressed by his unwanted guests and would dearly love to see them gone.
“We’ve got feral cats all over the place too and they can’t seem to catch a single rat,” Mandl says. “It would be great if we could get rid of them. I’ve got grandkids coming over. But the rats aren’t going to go away. Why would they with all this free food around?”
Mandl points to improperly maintained outdoor composts as the main culprit, providing the rats with an endless buffet that keeps them coming back for more.
“People just let ‘em go, just keep pouring stuff into them. Don’t get me wrong, I have a my own compost, but you have to maintain them,” Mandl says.
Just two weeks ago, Kelowna city council heard from staff that rats, once unknown in the Okanagan Valley, have become permanent residents.
While the city plans to raise rat awareness by sending out notices with business license renewal letters, it was also made clear the city believes responsibility for rat control lies with individual home and business owners.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015