Rodents are on their own, after all
No, Seattle isn't trying to save the rats. Visitors to a section of the Burke-Gilman Trail in Fremont were surprised to see official-looking...
Seattle Times staff reporter
No, Seattle isn't trying to save the rats.
Visitors to a section of the Burke-Gilman Trail in Fremont were surprised to see official-looking signs posted along temporary fencing on North Canal Street last week announcing that the city's parks department was planning to build a habitat to save the declining canal-rat population, species name: Rattus Norvegicus.
The sign said the city was going to plant thorny bushes along that bank of the Lake Washington Ship Canal to make a safe and human-free habitat to increase the "canal rat community."
Parks officials say it was all a hoax and took all seven signs down Friday.
The city is working on a habitat-restoration project along that bank, but is planting only native plants there, said parks spokesman David Takami. Many of the department's projects are aimed at adding plants that attract native animals, he said.
"When we restore natural habitats we want to attract birds and other native animals, but that doesn't include rats," Takami said. "I hope people would have something better to do with their time than put up fake signs.
"It's kind of a waste of energy."
The signs fooled many. At the Indoor Sun Shoppe across the street, customers were abuzz that Seattle is trying to save rats.
"People were horrified and mad and worried about the rats spreading disease," said Hillary Webster, an employee there.
"Only one person said he thought it was a good idea, to protect them from the herons."
Lisa Chiu: 425-745-7804 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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