toronto rats

More skin-crawling videos emerge of swarms of rats in Toronto

Pests may just a part of life in a big city (well, except for Calgary), but Toronto's rat problem appears to have gotten far worse than usual this summer, with swarms of the little critters inundating public spaces and grossing the heck out of passersby.

Yet another video has emerged this week of a mischief of rats causing, well, mischief in the city just by virtue of their very existence outside a packed TTC station.

A passenger caught a clip of a number of the rodents scurrying across some rocks near the bus platform at Victoria Park Station, fellow commuters walking by all the while.

Though the animals are a little bit hard to discern at first, you can indeed see them crawling over and between the stones like they own the place.

"Rats galore in the rocks at Victoria Park," the filmer wrote in a tweet with the video, tagging the TTC. "Toronto has a serious rat problem."

Then there was a popular clip of a group of rats snacking on some leftovers under a bench outside of City Hall last month — in broad daylight, too.

While many responded to the video disgustedly saying they couldn't watch the whole thing, others pointed out that rats and people have shared space for centuries, and it's the humans leaving their garbage around that is the main problem.

One even joked that a rat tickling your ankles while you stop to take a rest is just some "Toronto hospitality."

If you've been having more rat encounters in the city than usual lately, you're not alone — restaurant closures and work-from-home trends as a result of lockdown over the last few years have led the city's rats to form new populations in new locations in search of stable food sources.

Ongoing construction of condo, transit and other infrastructure projects are also a culprit — the rats spotted recently at Yonge and Eglinton are likely the result of Eglinton Crosstown LRT work — as they disrupt the pavement system and the existing rat habitats therein, which are usually pretty out of sight, out of mind.

"From time to time, rodent populations tend to increase in areas across the city where they are able to find harbourage, food and water," a representative for the City of Toronto tells blogTO. "Noise and vibration from construction projects can also upset rodent habitats and displace populations."

In an effort to curb the issue, the city tries its best to respond to complaints of garbage or debris that may attract the animals, investigates any reports of rodent infestations, and employs pest control services for public spaces when necessary.

In the case of the Yonge and Eg rats that have become a viral hit on social media, local restaurants have found they've had to take matters into their own hands and call third-party companies to help keep the hordes off their property.

Metrolinx has also been fielding rat complaints in areas around the LRT construction for years, and were fully expecting the issue.

Fortunately, some residents don't seem to mind rats, raccoons, or other "pests" when they see them around the city, and even consider them kind of cute.

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