An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
‘WHEN ARE YOU gonna do something on the rats?” I was asked in the coffee shop this week.
I guess they’re getting pretty bad. It was a timely question, because in the next couple of weeks, Orkin Canada, the pest control company, will be releasing its annual Top 20 Rattiest Cities rankings.
Last year, Kamloops was Number 14, up from the Number 20 spot the year before. It’s not the kind of list we want to do well on.
There’s some consolation that Kelowna was ahead of us in seventh place, but Prince George didn’t even make it on to the list. Just goes to show you that not even rats want to live in Prince George.
We’re not talking about native pack rats; it’s your Norway and roof rats that are the problem. Over the past few years, they’ve been gradually moving north; we have the Okanagan to thank for the local invasion. So far, we’re the northernmost limit of the rat offensive, but they’re also showing up in the Kootenays.
They say rats are smart. Maybe that’s why some kids like them as pets. But the wild kinds have no business here — they aren’t native to B.C., though they’ve been here since the mid 1800s when they hitched rides on ships.
They can do a lot of damage to crops and buildings. They also carry disease.
The good news, if there is any, is that they’re short-lived. And the shorter-lived we can make them, the better.
The bad news is nobody is going to come along and get rid of them for us, unless it’s bad enough to call the exterminator. Mostly, it’s up to us not to give them a good place to live.
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Coffee Shop Mayor.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He writes five commentaries a week for CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.