Darlene Clarke, who lives in The Village near 10th and 10th, points to holes in her garden boxes where some creature was dining on her carrots. (Martha Wickett/Salmon Arm Observer)

Unusual holes in garden lead Salmon Arm resident to uncover rat problem

City rat population appears to be more widespread

Although Christmas is drawing closer, the sounds of these particular feet are not what you want to hear on your roof.

According to the Ministry of Environment, two types of rats are typically found in B.C.

They are Norway rats and roof rats (or black rats).

Darlene Clarke lives in The Village near 10th Avenue and 10th Street SW. She has two garden beds in her yard. Because the south one ripens faster than the other, she picked the vegetables out of that one first and left the carrots in the north garden in the ground.

Rats! from WildSafeBC on Vimeo.

At the end of September, when she went to pull them, she was met with a surprise.

The green heads were poking out of the ground as usual, but that was it for the crop. Ninety per cent of the carrots were gone.

While she knew there had been something eating beets someone had given her, she thought it was voles or mice.

She took a shovel and decided to investigate. She thought she might unearth the thief. Turns out she was right. Something dashed out and hid under nearby trees. She wasn’t sure what it was but thought, maybe a gopher – or perhaps a vole?

Across the street, Mel Petersen had discovered some mysterious holes in his lawn.

Clarke dug farther and found another surprise – all her carrots, some chewed up, some not. They were about a foot underground.

“I thought, oh, I really know this guy, I got this under control.”

She set a trap and was able to catch a large mouse.

However, fast forward to October and holes in the garden began appearing again. Two weeks ago she set a trap with cheese. The cheese disappeared but the culprit was nowhere to be seen.

Clarke left the trap out and on Wednesday morning, Nov. 27, she went outside to find a rat in the trap, frozen, twice the size of a mouse. She wants other Salmon Arm residents to be aware.

This rat seemed to match the description of a roof rat, with a tail longer than its head and body combined, and largish ears.

They are so named because they nest in ceilings and attics. Roof rats are described as slimmer than Norway rats and leave 10- to 15-millimeter droppings with pointed ends.

Read more: Rats rear their pointy heads in Salmon Arm

Read more: Rat problem arises in the Shuswap

Read more: Feature Friday – The rats have moved in

In August, rats were reported to be in the Hillcrest area. Residents there shared concerns with city council. In response, the city set up an information page on rodent management.

The Ministry of Environment lists signs that can indicate you have a rodent problem:

• Droppings – check the size to determine if they belong to mice or rats;

• Chew marks on wood or food and around pipes;

• Dirty rub marks along frequently used routes;

• Noises in walls.

“Because rats and mice are prolific breeders, ignoring a problem can result in a much more damaging infestation. They can chew on materials including insulation, siding and wallboard; gnaw on wiring and start an electrical fire; consume and contaminate stored food and transmit diseases,” warns the ministry.

HealthLinkBC suggests that traps are the best way to get rid of rodents.

The Environment ministry website also recommends contacting a local pest management company for help.

Information about rats is also available at WildSafeBC .


@SalmonArm
marthawickett@saobserver.net

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Mel Petersen, who lives in The Village subdivision near 10th and 10th, would like to know what creature made these two- to three-inch diameter holes in his lawn and parts of his flower beds. (Martha Wickett/Salmon Arm Observer)

(BC Ministry of Environment image)

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