Tags: nyc | rats | sandy | apartments

Evicted From Tunnels by Sandy, NYC's Rats Moved Into Apartments

Thursday, 07 Feb 2013 03:56 PM

By Dale Eisinger

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When Hurricane Sandy struck New York City last October, many citizens contemplated the fate of millions of rats that inhabit the city's streets and tunnels. Would they drown? Would they find higher ground? Would they run through the streets in packs, seeking cover?

Well, what happened is the rodents were driven from the shoreline in areas like DUMBO, Brooklyn Heights, and Lower Manhattan, found new shelter that they liked, and have stayed put long after the floodwaters have receded.

Large packs of rats have taken streets and apartments by storm, feasting on debris from Sandy to the point that exterminators are having a hard time keeping up with apartment infestation complaints, reported the New York Times.

“There’s so much garbage out in the streets these days. Renovations because of the flood. Christmas trees. These things make it worse. For them, it’s Restaurant Week,” Timothy Wong, a manager of a New York City pest control company, told the Times. He said he's received countless calls from schools, businesses, and luxury buildings.

Another exterminator told the Times that rat-complaint phone calls have doubled in the past few months.

Before the storm, many thought a rat genocide would be a good thing, as innumerable rodents would be sucked out to sea through tunnels and waterways. However, rats don't just inhabit places like that, one expert told the Daily Beast.

“People think where it’s dark, they can’t see anything, there are rats there,” Bob Sullivan, author of a book simply titled "Rats" told the website. “But the number-one thing rats want to be around is people, people who drop garbage on the ground."

Though Forbes reported that millions of rats likely died after the storm without a proper "rat exodus" from the city's tunnels, it appears that enough survived to cause a massive infestation.

Rats are capable of swimming, Scientific American clarified, and it appears they made it out of New York's flooded subway tunnels and took shelter with humans.

In the contentious $50.7 billion Sandy relief package recently passed, there was no spending dog-eared for rat habitat recovery.

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