KAMLOOPS — They've been spotted scurrying around several neighbourhoods in Kamloops.
Rats seem to be a growing nuisance in parts of the city, with a spike in the number of rodents reportedly invading local properties.
Over the last few weeks, many residents have discovered rats in their backyards or in their gardens.
WATCH: Full report by Tanya Cronin
Wildlife experts are urging homeowners to take the necessary steps to keep the population from quickly exploding.
With their long tails and beady eyes, it's fair to say rats aren't typically the most popular rodents around. But these unwanted guests, seem to be making a nuisance in parts of Kamloops.
"Every couple of weeks I'll hear another story about people with rats, or friends who have had rat problems in the neighbourhood," says Frank Ritcey, Provincial WildSafe BC Coordinator.
In recent years, it was a rarity to catch a rat. But over the last few weeks, local residents have been trapping dozens, mostly in Valleyview and on the North Shore. Experts say the rat population boom is fulled by milder winters and an abundance of food left lying around the city.
"People with bird feeders, people with compost, people with fruit on the ground, all of those things are great food sources for the rats, take away the attractant and there will be no reason for the rat to come into your yard," says Ritcey.
At purity feed, rat control products are flying off the shelves. John McCurrach says more customers than ever have been coming through the doors.
"A lot of it people are being proactive, we always push proactive, we think if people are aware of an issue they're going to keep the issue under control and they're not going to have a problem, but for a lot of peopel they don't do anything until the problem happens," says McCurrach.
Residents who want to tackle the problem themselves are encouraged to use traps rather than poison, to avoid killing other animals. But the best solution is to minimize attractrants and rat-proof your home.
"If you are afraid of a rat or mouse getting into your house, get in and plug up holes, plug up entrances, any cracks and crevices that could lead into your house, get rid of it."
In BC, the most common species are the Black Roof Rat, and Brown Norwegian Rat. They're invasive and carry numerous diseases that can infect humans, and infestations are a homeowner's worst nightmare. So do what you can to stop the problem from multiplying.
"Rats can be a vector for disease and it's just not nice having a rat chewing on your belongings, and you definitely don't want to get the rats into your house," says Ritcey.
SOUND OFF: Have you seen rats in Kamloops? Let us know by joining the discussion below!
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