NYC: Worst Rat Infestation in the World

The popular and informational television station Animal Planet has named New York City the worst city for rats in the world. In this case, they are not referring to politicians.

We are talking about “Rattus norvegicus,” otherwise known as the "brown rat." Brown rats are a scourge to rural and urban areas and are one of the most serious pests on the planet, carrying diseases and multiplying at exponential speed. One pair of rats can multiply up to 200 times in just one year. They are adept at climbing, swimming, and yes, working their way thru a serpentine of sewer pipes and exiting your toilet bowl. It is estimated that NYC has twice as many rats as they do humans. If you run the math, that would total about 16 million rats.

But no worries, the New York's Health Department provides an interactive map for residents to view rat infestations on RIP (Rat Informational Portal). The series of maps mark the blocks with the worst infestations, coloring the most densely infested areas with red. As a result, one can look at raw data and investigate any neighborhood or building to see to what extent any particular venue is infested. Clicking on an area of the map will supply inspection dates, actions, and results. Moreover, one can retrieve rat history, going back to 2009, of any address within New York’s five boroughs.

Maybe most disturbing, according to author Robert Sullivan, is that there are more rats infected with bubonic plague in North America than there were in Europe at the time of the Black Death. By some estimates, up to 50% of Europe’s population was decimated due to the pestilence that swept Italy and other European countries during the middle ages. Sullivan adds, “A third of the world’s food supply is consumed or destroyed by rats. Rats have eaten cadavers in the New York City coroner’s office. Rats have attacked and killed homeless people sleeping on the streets of Manhattan.”

Moreover, Sullivan claims, “The Department of Homeland Security, as part of its post-9/11 bioterror-alertness effort, catches rats and inspects their fleas to see if terrorists have released the Black Death in New York City. A male rat will continue mating with a female rat even if she’s dead. A ‘dominant male rat may mate with up to twenty female rats in just six hours.'”


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