Rats and the City

Rat Map NYC


For centuries now New York City has been struggling with rats, yet no one had ever managed to come up with a plan to eradicate this infestation in one of the world’s greatest cities. Numerous attempts and different approaches have been undertaken to no avail. A New York Times article from September of this year opens up with the following words: “Traps. Poison. Birth control. Dry ice. And now, what city officials are touting as a high-tech solution: drowning”(1). As it turns out the city has never ended the war on rats yet the methods as disturbing as they sound have not proven effective as even the latest gadget deployed in the effort to control the population of vermis has failed in the very first trials in the real world. New York has ranked at the top list of rat infested cities in the US, according to recent studies (2). The rat sighting has become such a trivial daily life moment that we have witnessed epic memes and viral videos with titles such as “Rat vs Pigeon”(3), where a rat fights, kills and drags a pigeon to feast upon in Brooklyn, NYC or “Pizza Rat”(4), where an engorged rat casually drags a piece pizza pie down the stairs in the city’s subway system. The whole city is compromised and no one is safe anywhere, but according to a Forbes article from the spring of 2019 the borough with the highest rat population is Brooklyn (5), based on reports by sighting, yet I truly believe that the charts are off since they are based on 311 signals and not any actual science behind them. I can attest to that since I’ve personally stumbled upon rats, roaming the streets of the borough I reside in, The Bronx, but to this date never have I bothered reporting that to any institution whatsoever.


  1. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/05/nyregion/rats-new-york.html
  2. https://abc7chicago.com/pets-animals/chicago-named-rattiest-city-orkin/5640991/
  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9A2aDDkFk94&t=3s
  4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPXUG8q4jKU
  5. https://www.forbes.com/sites/adamandrzejewski/2019/05/25/a-new-york-city-rat-invasion-130000-reported-rat-sightings-since-2010/#167fb5a34d6b

2 thoughts on “Rats and the City

  1. Alberto N

    This was a good choice of topic because it has humor and talks about something New Yorkers can all relate to. What steps do you suggest should be taken to reduce rat infestation in the different boroughs?
    I also think and agree that rats almost have reached an tremendous level of being tolerated and New Yorkers treat them like they are equal creatures. We video them almost as if encouraging and enjoying their activities like carrying pizza slices.

  2. Cheyenne Shambley

    Your topic of discussion is great because it is an ongoing issue in New York. I would like to know who do we go to to report the issue? If people get attacked who do they report that to as well? Is anything being done now to help problem? This topic is debatable, people find rats to be very disgusting and scary. I have nothing more to include on your topic. I feel as if you’re going to do a great job finishing your research paper and I would like to read more of what you have to say or more of what you have researched.

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