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Oh Rats! The Four-Legged Vermin 'Taking Over NYC,' Report Says

Street rats are taking over the city, according to a new report.
Street rats are taking over the city, according to a new report. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Rats have gone from lurking in the shadows to literally taking over some streets in New York City, according to a new report.

The New York Times reported on Wednesday, May 22 that rat sightings are up 38 percent from 2014, citing data from OpenTheBooks.com. There were 12,617 sightings reported in 2014, a number which has jumped to 17,353 just four years later.

According to the report, in that same time period, during that time frame, the number of time city health inspectors found active signs of rat activities has nearly doubled.

The report states that as Manhattan and the boroughs continue construction efforts on multi-million dollar developments, they’ve been digging up burrows and forcing more rats out into the open, where they’ve learned to feast on leftover food and trash. 

Climate change was also cited, with the warmer weather making it easier for rats to survive and multiply.

Health officials reported there were 30,874 reports of “active rat signs” which include sightings, feces and other obvious signs. In the first three months this year, there were more than 8,000 inspection reports of rat signs, more than 1,200 more than in the same stretch of time last year.

The infestation is not limited to just New York, the report notes, with other major cities such as Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Chicago also seeing a major uptick in reported rat sightings.

Efforts to curtail the rat population nationwide has included cities recruiting additional work crews dedicated to poisoning rats in parks, alleys, and backyards. There have also been efforts to test a rat-sterilization program that uses liquid contraceptives as bait. In Seattle, officials plan to train property owners on ways to stem infestations.

According to the report, the most rat sightings have been reported from the Upper West Side, followed by four Brooklyn neighborhoods: Prospect Heights, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Bushwick and Ocean Hill. Multiple sightings have also been reported on Long Island and in the lower Hudson Valley.

The complete New York Times report can be found here.

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