Rodents, which include rats and mice, are known to be common pests in Toronto. They can be a big problem for residents and businesses as they can cause damage to properties, contaminate food and spread disease. Rodents need food and shelter and large urban environments provide excellent habitats for them to survive and thrive.

Below you will find information on how to identify, prevent and remove rodents from your property and ways the City will help resolve and prevent issues.

Rodents live in burrows or nests under or near ground level, usually around buildings. They prefer tight, narrow, dark pathways that run along the side of buildings or fences but occasionally runways through tall grass may be seen. Signs of a rodent infestation may include:

  • actual sightings of rats and mice
  • droppings
  • holes or burrows in the ground
  • bite marks on wood, concrete, vegetables or garbage containers, tracks or pathways

Description of Rats

  • Weight: 200 to 480 grams or 7 to 17 ounces
  • Length:  30 to 45 cm or 12 to 18 inches (including the tail)
  • Colour:  Brown-grey back with white/grey belly (colour may vary)
  • Snout (nose):  Blunt
  • Tail: Shorter than the body, 12 to 20 cm or 5 to 8 inches, dark with short hair
  • Droppings: Capsule shaped, often containing hairs, 2.5 to 3 cm or 3/4 of an inch long

Description of Mice

Weight: 15 grams or 1/2 to 3/4 ounce
Length: 85 mm or 3.3 inches
Tail length: 90 mm or 3.5 inches
Colour: Fur is brownish grey above and light grey underneath
Snout (nose): Pointed
Tail: Dark, slightly longer than body
Droppings: Dark rod or spindle shaped (6 mm or 1/4 inches long)

Rodents require food, water and shelter. The best way to prevent rodents on your property is to:

  • Store garbage in animal-resistant containers with tight-fitting lids and secure composters to prevent rodents from entering
  • Dispose of food waste in green bin and keep it in a locked position
  • Remove clutter, construction debris and garbage piles as wood piles and garbage are common harbourage sites
  • Eliminate food sources such as fallen fruit, pet food left outdoors, grass seed, etc.
  • Keep areas around bird feeders and bird baths clean
  • Cut tall grass and weeds from around your property. It must not exceed 20 centimetres in growth.
  • Do not leave uneaten pet food out in the yard
  • Seal cracks and small holes from around your house, garage or shed to prevent rodents from entering the foundation and walls

Residents and business owners are responsible for maintaining their own properties to prevent issues with rodents.

If you are having issues with rodents on your property, implement preventative measures to deter them. You may also want to consider hiring a pest control company.

Private property

Residents should contact private pest control service to report issues with rodent infestations on private property.

Apartments or Multi-Residential

For issues in apartments or multi-residential buildings, tenants should speak to their landlord, building owner or property management first and contact 311 if issues are left unaddressed. Learn how to resolve an issue with pests in your apartment.

Restaurants / Food Premises

Issues or complaints related to food premises can be directed to Toronto Public Health’s DineSafe program. Read more about pest control in food premises.

The City uses various methods to mitigate issues with rodents and to control their population in Toronto. This work includes:

  • Addressing complaints about garbage or debris that attract rodents at private properties and apartment buildings and  complaints about rodent issues not addressed by property owners or landlords.
  • Observing wildlife as part of routine park maintenance and retaining pest control services when rodents become an issue for park users.
  • Investigating complaints relating to rodent infestations in food premises, including schools and institutions, hospitals, senior care facilities, and child care centres.
  • Ensuring City facilities are maintained and free of garbage and debris.
  • Retaining pest control services to monitor and fill bait stations at City facilities as required.