st james park

City tackling massive rat infestation at St. James Park

Last Thursday night, Robert Cishecki visited St. James Park for an outdoor concert. But his evening ended early thanks to the arrival of a literal rat pack.

"I have never in my life seen so many rats," say Cishecki. He's lived in the area for 18 year and regularly walks through the park by King and Church. He noticed the rat population growing over the past three months. "They're so prevalent", he says of the situation now. "They're absolutely everywhere. You can stand and within 30 seconds you'll see three, four rats."

Area park manager Mark Emslie is aware of the problem and he's trying to quash it. "We have reports of rats every year at St. James, typically in the summer time," he says. Though usually, the rodents aren't much of an issue. "This year for some reason, there's an infestation," he continues.

Emslie started hearing about the rats earlier this summer. "We have a pest control person that has been dealing with the issue at St. James since about July 3," he says. Lately however, he's been getting daily emails and phone calls from individuals complaining about the pesky, long-tailed rodents.

In response, the pest control person has increased his visits to the park. He caught a total of 16 rats between Tuesday and Wednesday alone.

Emslie can't pinpoint why there are so many rats this year. Although he guesses it's because of discarded food or increased construction in the area.

Back in November, many noticed a large number of rats scurrying about after the Union Station renovations left a large number of these rodents homeless. Yet, as the Toronto Star previously reported, rats rarely harm humans in the city. And Torontonians have likely been living alongside them since the 1700s. Although, it's unlikely many of us will start getting friendly with our furry neighbours.

Have you seen a larger number of rats than usual this summer? Let us know in the comments.

Photo by Jason Cook in the blogTO Flickr pool.


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