A Vernon man who lives on East Hill said he saw a rat in his back yard for the first time in 30 years at his current home. A wildlife expert said rats are not uncommon in that neck of the woods. (Black Press - file photo)

A Vernon man who lives on East Hill said he saw a rat in his back yard for the first time in 30 years at his current home. A wildlife expert said rats are not uncommon in that neck of the woods. (Black Press - file photo)

East Hill rats not uncommon in Vernon

Man sees rat in back yard for first time in 30 years, but wildlife expert said that’s not rare

One night in June, Gary (did not want last name used) was sitting downstairs in his East Hill home by Vernon’s Pleasant Valley Cemetery watching TV when he noticed a never-before-seen rodent in his back yard.

It was a rat.

“We’ve been here 30 years and never had them before,” said Gary.

“This one I saw running in our yard, ran up the fence and went into the neighbour’s yard.”

Gary said he talked to a neighbour, who didn’t seem overly concerned about the appearance of the rodents.

Then he called city hall, asking what Vernon’s policy was on rat control.

He said he was told Vernon doesn’t have a rat policy and that 99 per cent of rat calls to the city this year have come from the East Hill area.

“The City of Vernon Animal Control and Pound Bylaw has legislation controlling dogs, companion animals, livestock and urban hens,” said city manager of protective services Geoff Gaucher.

READ MORE: Rat problem arises in the Shuswap

“There is no bylaw controlling rodents and it is the responsibility of the property owner to control pests on their property.”

So where did the rats come from?

According to Pete Wise of Wise Wildlife Control Services, a longtime ‘ratman’ who has been dealing with rodent problems in the North Okanagan for years, said it’s not uncommon for the rats to move toward the city.

“The weather is getting warmer now, as well, so they’re breeding, and breeding a lot,” said Wise.

“When they’re breeding that much, you’re going to get rats in your yard.”

Wise said a family member of his lives in Harwood, below Gary’s home, and has dealt with close to 20 rats already this year.

To prevent rats from appearing in your back yard – and the city says they’ve received calls from other areas such as Mission Hill and Middleton Mountain – Wise said the simple rule is to not leave any dog or cat food outside. Same goes for bird seed.

“Don’t be feeding your birds, that’s the worst thing you can do,” he said.

Wise he caught his first rat in Vernon in 1970 and they just keep expanding exponentially.

READ MORE: Rats drive Okanagan city into top-20

Vernon was in Orkin Canada’s list of top-20 rattiest cities in B.C. in 2017, coming in at No. 18.

Vernon fell out of the list in 2018, but neighbouring Kelowna to the south was in at No. 7.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Multiple people were injured at a Vernon home following an early-morning break-in Saturday, March 6, 2021. (Black Press file photo)
Multiple people left injured following break-and-enter in Vernon

Police believe the early-morning break-in was targeted and not a threat to the general public

Seniors in the Interior Health region can book their COVID-19 vaccinations starting Monday, March 8, 2021 at 7 a.m. (File photo)
Seniors in Interior Heath region can book COVID-19 shots starting Monday

Starting March 8 the vaccination call centre will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

A Coldstream resident who found an owl struggling on her property in March 2021 is now spreading awareness of about the knock-on effects of rodent poisoning. (Kathy Renaud photo)
Coldstream owl ‘fighting for her life’ after ingesting rat poison

Coldstream resident warns against the use of rodenticide due to risk of secondary poisoning in raptors

Vernon residents can breathe a little easier now that a dust advisory has ended in the area. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Dust advisory lifted in Vernon

Changing meteorological conditions have improved regional air quality

The City of Vernon is looking for input into its Climate Action Plan. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Vernon voices wanted on climate action plan

Community engagement sought on city plan

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Kelowna General Hospital (File photo)
Second COVID-19 outbreak declared at Kelowna General Hospital

One patient and one staff member on Unit have tested positive for the virus.

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Fire ripped through a mobile home on Boucherie Road in West Kelowna on March. 6. (Phil McLachlan - West Kelowna News)
‘My whole life just went up in smoke’; Fire consumes Okanagan mobile home

RCMP confirmed that there were no injuries due to the fire

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead on Vancouver Island in ‘targeted incident’

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Most Read