Montreal-area exterminators say they're busier than usual, dealing with an issue that makes many squeamish: rats.
They say that since the pandemic began, rats and other rodents are making their way into more homes.
"We're seeing a boom in rodents, from mice to rats to squirrels. It's pretty busy, actually," exterminator Denny Andrade told CTV News.
The theory is that, because restaurants were closed for so long, rats -- accustomed to dining in dumpsters -- have had to look for new sources of food.
As a result, they've gravitated to places like Lucille's home in Notre-Dame-de-Grace (NDG).
She says her home is infested with the creatures; rats are getting into her food, and one even attacked her while she was sleeping.
"I don't know if it bit me or scratched me, but it went [...] on my chin," said Lucille.
The rodents are getting in from a broken pipe on her property.
Andrade keeps setting traps and catching them, but until a plumber fixes the pipe, he says they'll continue making an appearance.
But some plumbers try to avoid working in homes with rat problems, he explained.
"Rats have a tendency of defending themselves, and they can jump pretty high. A rat can jump between two and four feet in the air, so you don't want to corner a rat," said Andrade, who works with Platinum Extermination.
"If you see a rat, leave it alone. The last thing you want is to have a rat jump on you," he advised.
Getting rid of the intruders can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000, and they can cause a lot of other problems, he said.
"They chew on anything, from concrete, rocks, to wood, to plastic. There's metal that's been chewed on by rats. They can be a fire hazard [by chewing] on wires."
Not to mention, rats can carry disease and be hazardous to health.
For Lucille, their presence has been a strain on her peace of mind.
"They are God's creatures and they're supposed to live, but not in here," she said. "Go to the bushes and live."
Andrade says if you see a rat, call an exterminator and a plumber as soon as possible -- because the longer you wait, the harder it will be to get rid of them.
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