WATCH ABOVE: City of Toronto officials say they’ve been trying to control a rodent problem in St. James Park since the beginning of July. Mark McAllister reports.
TORONTO – A downtown park in Toronto is crawling with rats and the city is having a difficult time controlling the rodent population.
Pest control experts and exterminators are working to take care of the problem first reported earlier last month after those enjoying the outdoors at St. James Park noticed the scavengers.
Waheed Ahmed of Pesticon Pest Control said rats are more commonly found in areas with a higher availability of food — such as seed, grain or garbage.
“It’s called habitat modification. So we have to eliminate the source of the food. If we cannot eliminate it at least we can do something to minimize it,” he said.
“We can bait them. We can poison them. So we use different kinds of baits to eliminate the problem … traps will reduce the problem to some extent. Not to a large extent.”
WATCH: Rats can be seen running back and forth during the night at St. James Park after the city declared an infestation in the park.
Dominika Kowalczyk of Halifax said she’s seen the rats in the area and tries to avoid them.
“I’ve seen them. I’ve seen them. I just don’t sit on the grass,” said Kowalczyk, who was eating her lunch in the park today.
Traps have been laid out among the plants and flower beds and 20 rats were caught last week.
“They’re there mostly at night,” said Paul Vergeer, a dog walker who has lived in the area for seven years.
“You see some during the day scurrying along the fence lines getting some of the food and garbage off the ground.”
Global News cameras caught dozens running back and forth across walkways in the dark early Tuesday morning.
“I haven’t seen any dogs shaking a rat but I’m horrified actually,” said Karen Margaret, who works in the area and walks through the park everyday.
“It really is appalling because rats carry disease. You never know what they might be having with them.”
At this point city officials can’t say what the source of the problem may be.