Animal control and bylaw officers are on a rat hunt after a homeowner found a dead rodent in a southeast neighbourhood.

Provincial Rat and Pest Specialist Phil Merrill says the rat was found in the neighbourhood of New Brighton.

"If it is a roof rat and that's what I really think it is, it's likely to have hitchhiked in on some transportation means and found it's way to this chap's place," he said.

Alberta has claimed rat-free status since the 1950s.

But the rodents do occasionally make an appearance in the province.

Exterminators worked for weeks in 2012 after an infestation of dozens of rats was found in a Medicine Hat landfill.

Merrill says this latest find is most likely a case of a single, well-travelled rat.

"It's not uncommon that we would get a single rat within the province somewhere that jumped off a truck or came in on a recreational vehicle or came on a train or whatever," he said.

Merrill says inspectors will now try determine if any other rats are roaming in the area.

City officials are encouraging people to call 3-1-1 if they see any rats.