New York Rats and Garbage

Here is a terrific little video by Assignment Earth on New York rats. It features State Senator Bill Perkins, Rodent Expert Stephen Frantz, and a lively cast of street rats. Frantz clearly and knowledgeably makes the point that NYC’s rat problem is caused by humans and can be solved by humans. The message is simple: cut the rats’ food supply, and the population will plummet.  This means changing the way we manage our garbage.

The latest in rat control is a practice known as Integrated Pest Management, an environmentally sound approach to pest control. The goal is to eliminate rats and other undesirables by controlling environmental factors (available food, water and shelter) that lead the animals to enter and thrive in habitats where they are not wanted –  like homes, playgrounds and subway stations.

The 96th Street and Broadway station offers particularly fine rat viewing.

And why not? There’a a perpetual source of food, water and shelter.

Why, there’s one of the little fellows now.

I’m surprised he doesn’t take his meal over to the lunch room.

Lunch Room

Meanwhile, over on Riverside Drive and 112th Street, Rat Palace continues to provide the perfect habitat for countless rodents. In the dark and grainy video below, rats slither in and out of the stones of Rat Palace, a pile of cobblestones on NYC’s Riverside Drive. If you think you saw something move…you did. The rats were everywhere. The strange sounds come from Esau the dog, who was eager to grab and kill.

Rat Palace at Night is best watched full screen (try double clicking on image to go to full screen, then click escape to return).


For more on how our garbage creates our pests, see articles from Out Walking the Dog’s archives:

Dirty Harry Dog Cleans Up NYC Streets
Feeding Wild Animals: Squirrel Man Calls to His Friends
Of Rats, Red-tails and Rodenticides
How Many Raccoons Live in Manhattan, Anyway?
If You Build It, Rats Will Come

The Hills Are Alive … with Rats

Thanks to Charlotte of The Rat’s Nest for sharing the Assignment Earth video in her response to one of my previous post on rats.
Explore posts in the same categories: 2011, Fall, In the City, November, Rodents (other than squirrels), Seasons, Wildlife/Natural History

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7 Comments on “New York Rats and Garbage”

  1. Adam Lang Says:

    My girlfriend’s introduction to San Francisco included us getting stuck at the Powell Street BART/Muni/Cable Car station at around 2 AM, and trying to catch a cab home. While we were there, the men with traps came and trapped a good hundred or so rats in the span of about fifteen minutes, in the outside area with all the foliage.

    Damn. That’s a lot of rats. I wonder how often they do it?

  2. Wild_Bill Says:

    Rats are simply rodents. Like any other rodent their populations will always rise and fall with food supply. In rural areas where I find my home the populations of chipmunks and gray squirrels rises and falls with the hard mast supply. A good acorn year yields lots of rodents. Some even find their way into our homes.

    In urban areas the food supply seems never ending and therefore the rat population seems never ending. Get rid of the waste and the population will crash….eventually. It will take some time, and there will be some discomfort during the crash. Rats, like all other rodents, get desperate during population crashes.

    An excellent and informative post!

    • Thanks for the informative response, Bill. Interesting that the population is tied so closely to acorn production. You’re right about urban areas being never-ending food supply zones. Just this morning, I watched a pigeon in the street, working away at a packet of cheese and meat from a deli that someone must have lost out of a grocery bag. The rats will be out for it later. My dog almost caught one on last night’s walk – he would have got it, if I hadn’t pulled him away.

  3. Mr. Mantooth Says:

    Lordy — mountain of rats is striking. Yum — can’t wait to eat at the 96th St. Lunch Room.

  4. mthew Says:

    I remember one winter night I was coming home from a holiday party in a palatial Park Ave. apartment (uptowning, the opposite of slumming) and the number of rats at the lower level express tracks at 86th blew my mind. I mean, they were all wearing mink! Well, practically.

  5. p hoey Says:

    Great post! I must remember not to wear my glasses when I walk these mean streets. Where are the metal/plastic garbage pails of yesteryear…?

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