Toronto is one of the cleanest large cities in the world. The city has over 2.5 million residents, which makes it all the more impressive that it has been able to hold on to its reputation as one of the world's cleanest cities. However, despite the city's best efforts to keep the streets clean, Toronto still has one unpleasant problem - a growing rat population. There's evidence that Toronto's rat problem is progressively worsening.
Unlike New York City, which is home to two million rats, Toronto doesn't have an official estimation of its rat population. But according to Toronto Storeys, rodent trap sales at a Toronto Home Depot store rocketed up by 60 percent between 2013 and 2015, while calls to local pest control companies increased by 26 percent within the same timeframe. Toronto is also Ontario's most rat-infested city, according to Orkin pest control's 2018 data.
The problem has reportedly gotten so bad that large rats have started to invade people's homes in the Woodbine and Danforth area. According to a report by CBC, residents of an East York neighbourhood are growing desperate in the face of an ever-growing rat problem. The rats have even supposedly been able to outsmart poison bait and traps.
"The city has tried baiting in the past in some of our sewers, and it hasn't been terribly effective," explained. "It goes back to making sure we're not having food sources in places where rats can come in and get fed. If you take away the food source, that's the best means of pest control," explained local councillor Brad Bradford to CBC.
Users on Toronto's Reddit thread are also sharing their experiences with rats in the city. "We moved into the area a decade ago, and it’s only in the last three years that this problem has exploded," wrote one user. Other users pleaded for answers on how exactly the rodents were able to squeeze into their homes - "Can someone explain how the heck they get into condos? We've had a problem since the winter, and we've lived there over ten years?"
Despite the residents' best efforts to ward off rats, many rodents have still been to make their way back into people's homes. "We used to use the rat traps, but they don't seem to be going for the traps anymore," she said. "The last time we put one there, the rat came out, he looked at it and he just flipped it right down the drain. And he just looked up at us," said one resident in an interview with CBC.
"We poured buckets and buckets of cement into tunnels, and we didn't have the problem for a while, but now they're back," explained another distressed resident.
"You'd be surprised how small of a hole they need to get in," he said. "Sometimes it's a matter of luck. You leave the garage door or front door open for a few moments while you are bringing in groceries and one could scurry in," explained a resident about the shocking tenacity of the rodents.
According to the City Of Toronto, residents should take the following measures to prevent the development of a rodent problem: store garbage in rodent-proof containers, keep areas around bird feeders and bird baths clean, keep grass cut around house, seek out private pest control services and reduce clutter around homes to eliminate hiding spots for the rodents.
A new report focused on the extent of the rat problem in Toronto is expected to be released by the end of 2019, reports CBC.