Dear Café Scientifiquers, our next café will happen on Halloween night Tuesday October 31st, 7:30pm in the back room at Yagger’s Downtown (433 W Pender). Our speaker for the evening will be Kaylee Byers.

Rat Detectives: Uncovering the disease ecology of our most despised bedfellow

Few animals are as appropriate to discuss on Halloween as the rat. Just mentioning these critters in conversation (and believe me, I have experience) illicits both exclamations of disgust and appreciation for their perseverance in spite of our control efforts. In the past year, pest control professionals have reported an increase in rat sightings, suggesting that rat populations in Vancouver are on the rise. But do we need to worry? Over the past 7 years, the Vancouver Rat Project has worked to understand the risks posed by rats to Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside residents. In this talk, I will discuss what we have learned about Vancouver’s rats and the diseases they carry, as well as how certain human interventions can have the paradoxical effect of increasing disease spread among rats.


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