Alberta is a little bit larger than the country of France. On a global scale, which makes it a pretty large area. And, as with any society, there are a huge number of things to control and monitor within that area. We already know which of those priorities are coming to your mind…but surely you didn’t immediately think of rat control? Interestingly, Alberta did.
As far back as 1950, Alberta discovered its first rat colony. Instead of brushing this off as another unfortunate occurrence that they had no control of, Alberta took control of the situation. And by ‘take control’, we mean that Alberta banished rats almost completely. This was one of the last provinces in North America that rats arrived in, and they didn’t last long. Even now, there are next-to-no rats throughout the province. In today’s article, we’re going to look at how Alberta controlled their rat population and what we can learn from that strategy today.
What Exactly Did Alberta Do?
So what did Alberta do? How did they get rid of all their rats? And how is Alberta one of only a few places on earth that is completely rat-free even today?
Alberta essentially waged war on rats. We’ll bet that’s a sentence you never thought you would read! But they certainly didn’t take the arrival of Norwegian rats lightly. In 1950, after discovering a rat colony on a farm in Saskatchewan, authorities discovered 30 more. These rats were quickly exterminated and authorities decided that rats would make no further grounds into the province.
An Alberta battalion was established. Armed men created a “Rat Control Zone” along Saskatchewan’s border and hunted for rats. As ridiculous as it seems now, it was effective.
But what was even more effective was local authorities designing a campaign that would teach locals about rats and their behaviours. They saw education as the best form of rat control. There were public meetings, sharing information on how trap and poison rats. There were propaganda posters. There were even laws created (the Agricultural Pests Act), making it an offense not to kill rats once you discovered them inside your home. Warfarin was readily available and poisoning any rats you discovered was encouraged.
Much of this seems insane now, but it was an impressive way of spreading information and reducing rat populations.
Do They Still Do it Today?
Thankfully, things have calmed down in Alberta these days. That’s mostly because this type of ‘war on rats’ would be illegal. There are laws in place that clearly state how animals – even pests – should and shouldn’t be treated.
There are occasional rat sightings in Alberta, and they’re so occasional that they make the news. There are still patrols on the Saskatchewan border, and there’s a dedicated hotline to report any rat sightings (310-RATS if you’re ever in town). Rats as pets are illegal too.
But no matter what you do, sometimes rats are too smart. The super-smart rats that do make it to Alberta will die before they get the chance to reproduce thanks to the defenses that are already in place.
What Can We Learn from Alberta’s Success?
We can take a lot from Alberta’s rat control blueprint. No – Truly Nolen isn’t declaring war on rats – instead, we fully support the notion of spreading knowledge about rat behaviour.
Prevention is the best form of defense. Store your food correctly, seal your garbage outside, and proof your home so that rats have few opportunities to make their way inside. But as we’ve already said, these intelligent animals are determined. If ever you do find rats on your property, give our talented team a call and we’ll remove them using our eco-friendly methods.