In this episode of Everything Should Be Better, Tristin Hopper explains how Alberta fights, and wins, an unending war on rats. Watch the video above, or read the transcript below.

Here’s a map of the global range of the common rat. Notice anything? While the rest of the inhabitable world suffers under the dominion of King Rat, there’s a big pentagon of land in the middle of Canada where the rodents have been completely eradicated.

That’s not a typo: For nearly 70 years, the province of Alberta has officially been rat-free. Rats still get in, but they never survive long enough to breed. The result is that Alberta is a magical land where rats never destroy vegetable gardens, where nobody gets hantavirus from rat droppings in their attic and where houses never burn down because a rat chewed through the wiring.

This is true for one singular reason: The Province of Alberta has declared a pitiless, eternal, total war on ratkind.

Rats are not native to North America. Coming over from Europe, they began chewing their way into the continent around the time of the American Revolution, starting out from places like New York or Halifax.

It took until 1950 that rats had migrated far enough inland that they began turning up for the first time on the southwest border of Alberta. It was then that the province made a solemn decision: They could either submit to the rodent hordes, or they could fight.

They chose the path of blood. Teams of armed men were mobilized to patrol a rat control zone on the border. Common citizens were enlisted to trap, poison and shoot rats wherever they could be found. Propaganda posters urged Albertans to give their rodent enemies no quarter. “KILL HIM!” reads this one from 1950.

And damned it if it didn’t work. Within a few years, the invasion had been repelled, and Alberta has remained rat-free ever since. The Alberta Rat Patrol still keeps watch on the eastern border, and whenever a rat rears its head in the province, a full-blown military response is raised to search the surrounding area and kill any rats they find. There’s even a rat-sighting hotline: 310-RATS.

So there you have it: The inspiring story of how a humble Canadian province set out to kill its way out of a problem, and succeeded fantastically. God Bless Alberta.



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