10/09/2014 11:55 EDT | Updated 12/09/2014 05:59 EST

Alberta's Rat-Free Status Still Intact, Says Specialist

Alexander W Helin via Getty Images

EDMONTON - A provincial specialist says it's a case of mistaken rat identity.

A video supplied by a worker at an Edmonton module assembly yard appeared Thursday to show a rat-like rodent scurrying across a ladder lying on the ground before darting under some containers.

Derrick Pelechytik says he spotted the creature while working the overnight shift and started filming.

But Phil Merrill, the province's rat specialist, says Alberta's reputation for being rat-free would seem to be safe.

He has viewed the video and thinks the animal is a muskrat.

Muskrats are rodents but aren't technically in the same genus as rats.

“It runs like a muskrat, behaves like a muskrat, looks a bit too bulky to be a rat,” says Merrill.

“A rat would never have left the cover of the ladder and gone back out into the open unless it was a tame pet one. The darkness of the video and quick movement of the animal make it hard to be certain about the animal’s appearance, but the movement and behaviour are convincing.”


This isn't the first time Alberta's had a rat scare: