Leaside’s rat pack is back

To quote Charlie Brown – RATS!

Theeeeyyyyy’re back! Even more of them than when I first had a problem, over a decade ago. Whatever the reason, the rat population has exploded in Leaside:  the ravines, obviously, outdoor dining during COVID-19, probably, the digging up for the Crosstown LRT, certainly, because progress means digging, and that means rats.

My family has taken the cautionary measure of tearing down our deck and replacing part of the area with an open concept – nowhere to hide being the prevailing hope.

We have spoken with many neighbours who are also dealing with the Rattus norvegicus, as Toronto’s version is technically known. They are finding rats in their BBQs, their decks, their pools, their gardens, and under hot tubs. Yech!

We found them burrowing in our garden with several entrance and exit holes.

We immediately contacted a professional to help us. We seem to be free of them now, but we fear that it is not long before we, or our neighbours, see them again. Our neighbours behind us took up the fight as well, and together we seem to be rid of the North Leaside rat pack.

I contacted the offices of both MPP Kathleen Wynne and Don Valley West Councillor Jaye Robinson for support and ideas and they contacted the Eglinton Crosstown LRT project on our behalf. Unfortunately, they said, there is nothing they can do.

Failing other options, both offices directed me to the site:  https://www.toronto.ca/news/rat-control-in-the-city-of-toronto.

The City of Toronto suggests using a professional for best results in rat elimination and to that end, I asked Joe Morland of Standard Pest Control, who lives in Leaside and has dealt with the issue on his own property, to offer suggestions.

He says that bird feeders are the number one culprit. It isn’t just squirrels and chipmunks eating the overflow from the feeders. It’s rats! Joe also cautions against leaving pet food and water out for grazing pets. To our surprise he said that water bowls attract rats too. We have since removed our pet water bowls. He said rats are looking for food sources, whether it’s bits of food left on the BBQ or dropped on the ground after dining al fresco.

This article was contributed by Debra McGrath