Even in New York City, your average rat home isn’t particularly fancy — a sewer, a trash can, maybe at best a trash can in a nice park. But after Hurricane Sandy drove rats from their normal haunts, in sewers and along the coastline, they found out that there’s a whole, big city out there, just full of abandoned Starbucks muffins and fancy trash for them to feast on. The New York Times reports:
Rodent specialists predicted that many rats would drown in submerged subway tunnels, but also that survivors would feast on the buffet of garbage strewed in the streets. Now, several exterminators say they know exactly what happened to the rats: Driven from shorelines, the rodents came inland, in droves … and once the rats were resettled, they grew accustomed to their surroundings, feasting on the garbage created by the hurricane as well as by the normal churn of the winter holidays.
The rats have moved into cars, schools, businesses, and luxury apartment buildings. Extermination companies have gotten so many complaints about rat infestations they can hardly keep up. Even worse, the rats are now taking up coveted slots in exclusive uptown preschools.
This is just one more reason to fear storm surges, which will only become more common as the sea rises. We don’t blame the rats for taking advantage of the situation, but we also don’t want to share our living quarters with them, no matter how cosmopolitan they’ve learned to be.
Storm’s Toll Creeps Inland, 4 Tiny Feet at a Time, The New York Times.