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IN OUR VIEW: Rats are too much like us

Adaptable, tough, clever, stubborn – sound like anyone you know?

In this multi-story series, the Advance Times shines a light on an issue of growing concern in Langley – its increasingly visible rat population. Please check out this and other related articles in this RATS: Friends or Foe series.


We hate and fear rodents for a variety of practical reasons.

There’s the fact that they can potentially carry disease, although the actual plague is a pretty remote threat in this era.

For farmers and the agricultural industry, rodents can still devour or spoil feed and crops. Even for backyard gardeners, it’s annoying and frustrating when vegetables get gnawed by mice and rats before they can be picked.

For the most part, rats are now more of a nuisance than a threat, but they’re still a fairly serious nuisance.

One of the reasons we dislike rodents so much is that the longer we consider them, the more we realize we’re looking into a mirror.

Rodents are what biologists would call “generalists.”

Unlike specialized animals like cheetahs or penguins or monarch butterflies, they’re not reliant on a particular lifestyle.

Rats can eat just about anything, animal or vegetable. They can thrive in a natural environment, on a rural farm or suburb, or in the middle of a busy city. They are sturdy and tough, and clever enough to avoid many dangers and traps. They will happily expand into almost any environment if given half the chance.

Sound familiar?

Rats are our constant competitors because they’re one of the animals that acts most like we do, that is as adaptable as we are, and that is as stubborn and hard to get rid of as humans are.

We’re never going to be rid of rats. Even Alberta, with its vigorous prosecution of them, wouldn’t be able to stay rat-free without the barrier of the Rocky Mountains and a broad swathe of prairies.

The best we can do is rat-proof our homes and businesses as well as possible, and offer a little respect for our hardy, adaptable adversaries.

– M.C.

CONTINUED IN THE SERIES: 500% increase in rodent related complaints in Langley

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About the Author: Black Press Media Staff

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