Alberta’s rat-free status may be changing as Norway rat captured

CALGARY — Alberta’s much-publicized status as a rat-free province may be about to take a hit.

CALGARY — Alberta’s much-publicized status as a rat-free province may be about to take a hit.

The province’s rat patrol is stepping into high gear to ward of an infestation of the rodents in a northeast Calgary neighbourhood after a Norway rat was recently captured.

An infestation of the creatures in Swift Current, Sask., has prompted city council there to come up with a rat catching plan and prompted health officials earlier this month to issue a public health warning.

There were even reports of people being bitten while they slept.

There are no firm theories on why dozens of rats have come into the community.

The Calgary critter, which health officials have warned can carry disease and damage crops and buildings, was caught and euthanized after a resident called animal services last Thursday, said Calgary bylaw spokesman, Bill Bruce.

Four rat burrows have been spotted and it’s believed there could be up to five of the animals scurrying throughout the northeast neighbourhood, Bruce said Saturday.

He refused to reveal which neighbourhood the burrows have been found in.

“Four or five, if they’re left alone, will soon be four or five thousand,” Bruce said.

A female rat can become pregnant 45 days after birth and they breed often.

“We take this very seriously because we know they can come in on shipments,” he said. “There are no rats entrenched in Alberta and we want to keep it that way.”

Since 1950, Alberta has had a rural Norway rat control program which directs landowners to kill the animals — a strategy that supposedly kept the province rat-free.

The Alberta government even has an official rat patrol program to ensure the creatures don’t get a solid pawhold in the province.

Pet rats of any variety are not permitted in the province.

Bruce said his department receives about 125 rat complaints each year, with about 20 of them turning out to be actual rat sightings.

Often, he said people mistake muskrats, mice and squirrels for rats, he said.

Just Posted

Officials report some headway on wildfires, but thick smoke hangs over B.C.

Wildfire crews report some headway was made over the weekend battling hundreds… Continue reading

WATCH: Central Albertans learn about farm life at Sunnybrook Farm Museum

Pioneer Days Festival in Red Deer Saturday-Sunday

Raising awareness for Bikers Against Child Abuse

Second annual Raise A Ruckus Against Child Abuse was held at the Red Deer Radisson Hotel Saturday

Number of seniors who play bridge in Red Deer growing

Red Deer Bridge Club has been around for close to 60 years

Central Alberta Yogathon cancelled Saturday

Due to air quality concerns the fourth annual event will take place Sept. 15

WATCH: Medicine River Wildlife Centre opens new playground

The grand opening of the playground was Saturday morning

Police chiefs want new data-sharing treaty with U.S. as privacy questions linger

OTTAWA — Canada’s police chiefs are pressing the Trudeau government to sign… Continue reading

Pope on sex abuse: “We showed no care for the little ones”

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis issued a letter to Catholics around the… Continue reading

Ottawa announces $189M to extend employment insurance for seasonal workers

ESCUMINAC, N.B. — Ottawa has announced $189 million for an employment insurance… Continue reading

Trudeau formally announces he’ll run again in next year’s election

MONTREAL — Justin Trudeau will run again in the 2019 federal election.… Continue reading

Smoke from B.C. wildfires prompts air quality advisories across Western Canada

VANCOUVER — More smoky, hazy air is expected to blanket much of… Continue reading

Anti-pipeline protesters released days before weeklong jail sentences end

MAPLE RIDGE, B.C. — Several pipeline protesters were released from a British… Continue reading

All eyes on Andrew Scheer as Conservative convention set for Halifax

OTTAWA — After a week of internal caucus squabbles, Conservative Leader Andrew… Continue reading

Trump says his White House counsel not a ‘RAT’ like Nixon’s

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — President Donald Trump insisted Sunday that his White House… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month