EDITORIAL – When are we going to do something about the rat invasion?

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 opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (8171 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

2 Comments on EDITORIAL – When are we going to do something about the rat invasion?

  1. Unfortunately we have some bad two legged rats migrating into our territories.Your second ,third and fourth to last paragraphs about covers it.

  2. Tony Brumell // March 12, 2020 at 11:30 AM // Reply

    Thanks Mel.
    I credited the trucks coming from Vancouver with the local infestation.. Your advice on not
    giving them a nice home is prescient .When the city opened the gates for backyard chickens it may have done the same for the rats. Chicken coops can be Rat friendly and must be thoroughly cleaned regularly.I know that ornithologists are opposed to house Cats but they can be an effective deterant (?) to the Rat population.I am concerned about this invasion because I sleep outside much of the year and do not wish to wake up to a large Black rat staring me hungrily in the face.So I may get another cat. On the other hand traps can be effective but the use of live traps is suggested because as you mentioned the local Pack Rat is not dangerous and should not be killed ,so a live trap will allow them to be released safely. The Pack rat is a beautiful wooley almost squirrel like creature and should not be confused with the black short hair ,wirey tail variety.These mean spirited rats are as far east as Juniper but tend to prefer the valley bottom,like Valley view. So take care and dispose of any of these that you see. Call an exterminator if you have to. They breed , Well ! like rats.

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