Are there rats in Alberta? Wikipedia can’t decide.

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Rats in Alberta, Where Are They?

As we all know, rats are illegal in Alberta. You can’t have them as pets, raise them as pet food, or even employ them in the Government. If you’re caught with a rat, you can face a fine of up to $5000 or jail time or both (exceptions for zoos, universities, and research institutes). It’s serious business and it has been this way since 1950. This program has been so successful, the times that people DO see rats in Alberta, they’re coming in on trucks or trains from neighboring provinces or something like that. I’ve lived in Alberta for over 30 years and have never seen one myself.

Everyone says Alberta is rat free, but is it really? Word of mouth says yes. Everything that shows up on Google says yes. This extremely long and detailed history of rats in Alberta says yes. On WikiPedia, it depends on who you ask.

Wikipedia: Brown Rats

As you would expect, there’s an entry on WikiPedia for the brown rat (also known as Norwegian rats). It includes all of the typical information about the rodents, their history, diet, family, species and so on, and nothing is too out of the ordinary, except when you come to one specific part of the page….

rats in Alberta

The distribution map at the bottom of that sidebar, which shows in red where brown rats are spread throughout the world, this is what we’re looking at here. On the outside, it looks like a world map right? Well behind the scenes, an epic battle has been taking place for over 10 years that nobody even knows about.

The Rat Map Battles Begin!

  • June, 2007

Jrockley created and uploaded the world map to the article that shows where brown rats are distributed in throughout the landmasses. Basically all of the world, except the north. The north is too cold. And there it stayed for over a year.

rats in Alberta

  • September 11th 2008

Someone by the name of Zappernapper made an edit to the graphic, and removed Alberta from the world map. Alberta is rat free, after all right? Snip snip, Canada gets a haircut.

rats in Alberta
It stay’s this way, until….

  • June 23rd of 2010

Another new user stopped by the name of Lukasz Lukomski and edited the distribution map, restoring the original map which included Alberta, also commenting: “for unknown reasons Alberta was removed – no sources support that claim”.

rats in Alberta

  • June 30th of 2010

For the first and only time they’ll show up in this saga, Kurykh drops by to make an edit to remove Alberta, citing the Alberta Governments website (at the time) with a link that now goes to a page on the history of rat control in Alberta.

rats in Alberta

  • September 3rd 2010

This TeaDrinker shows up (British?) and re-adds Alberta to the map. Shit!

rats in Alberta

  • September 9th 2013

3 YEARS LATER FinnHK randomly appeared and made an edit to remove Alberta from the distribution map.

rats in Alberta

  • April 5th 2014

This is great — the map was then reverted back, because of “vandalism”.

rats in Alberta

  • April 12th 2014

Random dude Ray181 drops by and once again removes Alberta from the map, saying “Alberta is rat free”.

rats in Alberta

  • 2014 –  early 2017

A few users kept fighting back and forth over reverts, without many comments.

  • October 21 2017

Oknazevad reverts it back to the full map (with Alberta included) saying they did so because “the claim is promotional nonsense.” (that Alberta is rat free).

Shortly after that someone else reverted the map back to remove Alberta. Oknazevad following it up with “The claim is dubious, and the idea that the animals follow the provincial borders exactly is absurd.”.

This is not the last we’ve heard of this genius.

rats in Alberta

  • December 9th 2017

Jackie2541 says “based on claims that source is lying, but without providing a more reputable source” and smashes that subscribe button. Subscribing to the map that has Alberta removed from it.

rats in Alberta

  • December 11th 2017

A2D2 reverts the map back to include Alberta, saying “Brown rats do live in Alberta with a lower population density. That the entire province is rat free is false and they are spotted within its borders.”.

rats in Alberta

  • December 26th 2017

Prosfilaes replaces the map, excluding Alberta, stating “occasional interlopers don’t make it inhabited”.

rats in Alberta

  • December 27th 2017

A2D2 won’t have any of it and reverts the map back to include Alberta, repeating their previous comment.

rats in Alberta

  • April 9th 2018

Newcommer Moose1324 tries to comment some sense into them, saying “Literal interpretations of Alberta being rat-free (ie exactly zero rats in the entire province) is being pedantic. Anyone who has lived in Albert thier whole life will most likely never see a rat. Considering that Alberta’s rat population is much, much lower than the rest of the worlds, to the point that infestations are zero in 2017, it can be said that the province is rat free.”.

rats in Alberta

  • April 13th 2018

4 days later, A2D2 reverts the map back again, without comment.

rats in Alberta

  • December 6th 2018

TheSpiritOfTheWest tries to talk some sense into everyone. “You guys should stop editing the map pointlessly. According to all available sources Alberta is rat free. If you wish to change the map, please provide a source stating why it should be changed. Otherwise I will continue to revert the map to this state.”.

rats in Alberta

  • December 7th 2018

Maphobbyist reverts the map back to include Alberta, without comment.

rats in Alberta

  • December 8th 2018

TheSpiritOfTheWest again says “Stop vandalizing the map or provide evidence”, and reverts to the map without Alberta.

rats in Alberta

  • December 12th 2018

A2D2 is back, reverts the map to include Alberta, says the same thing “Brown rats do live in Alberta with a lower population density. That the entire province is rat free is false and they are spotted within its borders.”.

rats in Alberta

Later that day………………….

TheSpiritOfTheWest once again replaces the map to exclude Alberta, saying “Give me a source. If you’re willing to say a population density In the double digits for a 650,000 Km² area qualifies as inhabited, can the next map include the oceans too? There are more rats living on boats than there are in Alberta.”. 

rats in Alberta

  • December 20th 2018

A2D2 reverts the map once again, saying “The province is not “rat free”

rats in Alberta

  • December 22nd 2018

TheSpiritOfTheWest responds “If finding a dead rat counts as not being fat free, the oceans are also not fat free.” and changes the map to exclude Alberta.

rats in Alberta

  • March 12th 2019

A2D2 reverts the map to exclude Alberta first (repeating the previous comment).

rats in Alberta


Later in the day TheSpiritOfTheWest replaces the map again, and says “If a few dead rats can make a region “not rat free” please include the oceans. If you’re not willing to do that please stop changing the map, as alberta being left out is valuable information.”.

rats in Alberta

  • March 14th 2019

Oknazevad reverts the map back to exclude Alberta, saying “Disputed repeatedly. Stop using the map to parrot a clearly promotional load of nonsense”.

rats in Alberta

  • March 17th 2019

TheSpiritOfTheWest again removes Alberta from the map and says “Show evidence that there is a population of rats living in Alberta. One or two lone dead rats do not indicate there are rats living in Alberta. Aside from people working in science or a zoo, encountering a rat, living or dead, would a very very unlikely occurrence. Now please stop vandalizing the page.”.

rats in Alberta

  • March 22nd 2019

Oknazeva reverts the map back to exclude Alberta, saying “Show evidence that there isn’t, and not promotional claims by government sources. As the one making the extraordinary claim, you must supply the extraordinary proof.”.

rats in Alberta

  • April 2nd 2019

Newbie Gdex17 reverts the map without comment, to exclude Alberta.

rats in Alberta

Rat Map Battle Summary!

I think Alberta should be excluded from the map. We are rat free! Rats in Alberta are not a thing.

This is where the map stands now, it includes Alberta on the map, within the home range of the Brown Rat, or Norwegian Rat, whatever you prefer to call it. In addition, the WikiPedia entry for Brown Rats does say:

Alberta, Canada, is the largest rat-free populated area in the world. Rat invasions of Alberta were stopped and rats were eliminated by very aggressive government rat control measures, starting during the 1950s. link

Says rat free to me? The map should reflect that.

Why Did Alberta Ban Rats Anyway?

Rats are extremely destructive, contaminating and destroying pretty much everything they come in contact with. Rats were responsible for spreading of the black plague.  They’re easy to breed and really intelligent as well, making them hard to get rid of once you have an infestation. Rats are not only bad news for food, they can be quite devastating to building foundations with their tunnel digging, and chewing holes in things, damaging sewers and all sorts of other infrastructure.

Rats In Alberta Conclusion

I’ve never seen one, dead or alive. I have spent a lot of time in the city of Calgary, camping in fields, camping in the mountains, in small towns, in and around farms and have not seen a rat or any evidence of rats in Alberta. Rats in Alberta are not a thing! I don’t know why these WikiPedia editors are being so literal.

Thank you Jessica Rabbit for this info!

Have you seen rats in Alberta? Please comment below.


Where to get a 20 oz pint of beer in Calgary

Super Smash Cafe in Calgary


18 thoughts on “Are there rats in Alberta? Wikipedia can’t decide.”

  1. I have lived in either Edmonton or Calgary since 1958. I have travelled extensively in this province, and I have NEVER encountered a rat, heard of anyone who has encountered a rat, nor met anyone who has seen one. Alberta is truly a rat-free province! If you hate rats, move to Alberta.

  2. The article eventually gets confused over whether “exclude” means Alberta is coloured red or not. December 22nd 2018 and March 12th 2019, for example

  3. No rats in Alberta period. Lived here over 40 and never saw one dead or alive. Our rat patrol are on the job and amazing at stopping these pests from getting a foothold here. The naysayers are jealous they live in a place with rats or are insanely keeping these ugly beasts as pets. Seriously?

  4. I’d like to know someone that has actually seen rats running around, except for NYC that is or in other highly populated cities. I’ve never seen one in all my sixty years living on and off an Indiana farm stocked with feed, nor in the Virginia suburban neighborhood I live in now. MOST people NEVER see the rats, but they ARE there.They’re very smart and very stealth. One set of rats can produce 15,000 babies in just ONE year! No way can anyone eradicate ALL of them, that’s just plain wishful thinking to believe anyone could. The one place I DID actually see them was during a visit in New York City inside the subways. But in all the states I’ve lived in, Indiana, Ohio, North Carolina and Virginia, I have NEVER seen a wild rat.

  5. Worst Rat patrol on the planet here in Alberta!!!!! Haven’t ever seen one rat get exterminated. There’s 87 of them sitting in Edmonton right now!

  6. I have lived in Alberta for more than 35 years and I have never seen a rat, dead or alive. Alberta is rat free as we know it. Our discussions here in Alberta pretty much go the same way. 2 of us sitting here believe we are rat free and the 3rd person believes there are rats in Alberta but he has never seen one either.

  7. There’s a lot of pedantic assholes on Wikipedia that are so focused on literal interpretations that the results are useless. For example, someone deleted the North American Mazda B-series page because after 1993 it becomes a rebadged Ranger, despite the page containing useful information not in the international version that was not being copied to the Ranger page.

  8. Miramar Wellington NZ wants to be ‘predator free’. Its an ambition to return the area to what is like pre humans (Moas excepted). Gives the locals something to do – kill rats (which are listed as a predator) with possums, stoats, weasels from Australia (NZers don’t like big brother Australians much). Even rabbits and hares, deer, bigs aren’t popular either and have to be culled.

  9. Rats do interlope and get in the borders of Alberta. There are rats there. Polar Bears also once reached Scotland, and foreign pet snakes are released all over the world all the time, and that ain’t enough for those regions to be considered that animal’s range. Ergo, it’s probably fair to leave Alberta empty, even if one or two get past. They don’t last long.

    (Also too note, Alberta is too cold for wild rats. They only exist in human habitation. So it’s realistic that if attention was paid well enough that their range would follow human-defined borders)

  10. I actually knew a BC boy living in Edson Alberta with 13 Rats. They have all been dead for well over a Decade, But Other than that, not in Alberta, Definitively in Vancouver.

  11. Rats can be trained like dogs and are popular as pets outside of Alberta. Many people have come here unaware of Alberta’s laws or believe they’re not enforced. Many times the pets have paid with their lives for their owner’s mistake. Every time rats are found in Alberta, whether harmless domesticated fancy rats or wild Brown rats (think poodle vs coyote), its Big News, hits all the media. The rat patrol sound like a joke, they’re NOT. they’re dead serious. and arrive on site fully prepared to exterminate. Sure wild rats do cross from Saskatchewan but they don’t get a chance to establish. As soon as they’re discovered, they’re destroyed. Sorry, its no mistake, Alberta should be off the map.

  12. Lived here 40 years (cochrane) traveled all over the province from Lethbridge to Medicine Hat to Wabasca to Highlevel to Banff. NEVER have i seen or heard of a Rat.

    • Sad that the last bit is false. Rats aren’t the ones that spread the black plague. I’m also sad that no one in Albert will have the pleasure of having pet rats, they’re the best

        • Gerbils spread the black plague. I mean, everything that could catch plague contributed, but the university of Oslo determined gerbils were much more likely the mammalian culprits. To be fair to the gerbils, it was fleas that transmitted the plague, but gerbil population numbers and migration facilitated the fleas ability to reach so far and in such great numbers.

          • Strictly speaking you are all wrong. Modern thesis is that the spread was actually person to person, or through body lice due to the poor hygiene standards of the period. The belief it was spread by rats and/or their fleas has been disproven back in 2018.

      • you can still have pet rats. they sell them in pretty much any pet store. this is talking about wild rats and you cant really keep any wild animal as a pet in canada


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