Rats may be coming for a visit, and you can thank physical distancing

 

VANCOUVER -- Humans aren’t the only ones missing a bite to eat at bars and restaurants. So are the regulars who feast nightly in back alleys. We mean rats, and there are a lot of them in Metro Vancouver.

"Oh yeah. Tons. Millions," Michael Londry of Westside Pest Control said with a smile.

He is one of many experts across the country who believes we’ll be seeing many more rats this summer.

Quite simply, they’ll be looking for food in all kinds of new places.

The rodents aren’t thrilled everything is shutting down while the city fends off COVID-19. Garbage cans and dumpsters are no longer filled with delicious waste, and rats don’t like to diet.

All the tourists who used to frequent Stanley Park and fill bins with leftover hotdogs and popcorn are long gone. That means the long-tailed creatures have little choice but to scurry where they’ve never ventured before.

"West End rats already know there’s nothing there anymore," said Londry. "Restaurants have closed down and they’re going to be looking for food in other places."

We could see them on sidewalks, parking lots, city parks and backyards. Rats are also excellent at breaking in and will try to make their way into some homes.

"Definitely don’t let your garbage overflow," Londry advised. "If you are an avid gardener and like to keep a compost in the backyard, make sure it’s very well sealed in wire mesh."

Generally, rats don’t like to wander far, but if they’re really hungry, they can travel for kilometres.

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