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Rat Control in Coastal Alaska

The rat is called the “third most successful mammal in the world”—after the human and the house mouse—because of its spread across the globe, its adaptation to a wide range of environments, and its ability to thrive in close proximity to its chief enemy and benefactor, man.

Rats bring disease and contamination, destruction of food and other goods, damage to equipment and infrastructure, and devastation of wild bird populations and other wildlife.

The rat's position in world order is so well established that it may be surprising to learn that there are still towns, ports, and islands in Alaska that are entirely rat-free. The aim of a manual on rat control written by MAP agent Terry Johnson is to keep rats out of these ports and to reduce their numbers in ports where they have already gained a foothold.

A regulation adopted by the Alaska Board of Game in 2007 makes it illegal to transport or harbor rats and mice anywhere in Alaska. Operators of ports, boat harbors, fish processing plants, cargo terminals, and vessels transiting Alaska waters are bound by the regulation and may be prosecuted if rats or mice are found on their property. The Board of Game has provided a summary of rodent-related changes in state wildlife regulations [PDF; 31 KB].

Related links



Rat Talk - Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge [PDF; 777 KB]

Rat Control and Prevention in Waterfront Communities [PDF; 2.3 MB]

For more information, contact

Rat photos by Steve Ebbert.