A resident on West 76th Street put up a “Rat Xing” sign a few years ago to protest a construction site they said was infested with rodents.

Rats have not just been spreading on the Upper West Side, but all across the country. Houston, Chicago, Philadelphia and Boston are all inundated, according to a report in The New Republic. And some experts say that global warming is helping fuel the rise.

“The reason the rats are so bad now, we believe, is because of the warm winters,” said Gerard Brown, program manager of the Rodent and Vector Control Division of the D.C. Department of Health, at a 2016 rat summit.

Rat pro [Bobby] Corrigan agrees. “Breeding usually slows down during the winter months,” he said. But with shorter, warmer winters becoming more common—2016 was America’s warmest winter on recordrats are experiencing a baby boom. “They have an edge of squeezing out one more litter, one more half litter,” Corrigan said.

One more litter or half litter makes a serious difference when a population boom is not only a nuisance, but a public health and economic crisis. Rats breed like rabbits; as this alarming Rentokil graphic shows, two rats in an ideal environment can turn into 482 million rats over a period of three years. Urban rats caused $19 billion worth of economic damage in the year 2000, partially due to the fact that they eat away at buildings and other infrastructure. Imagine how much they’re costing now.

The writer suggests that the federal government should step in, like they did up until 1982, when Ronald Reagan cut the Urban Rat Control program. “Rat-plagued cities are now left to their own devices. And they’re not exactly doing a great job.”

NEWS | 29 comments | permalink
    1. OriginalMark says:

      There can’t possibly be global warming. It’s not hot today.

      • GG says:

        Can’t argue with that logic.:) Reminds me of that Senator that brought a snowball to the floor and was like “where’s your global warming now!” So ridiculous.

        I’m thinking of buying some real estate on a glacier in Antarctica. When the global warming kicks in and it all melts down, it’s gonna be prime oceanfront property!! Gonna make a fortune.

        Your move, environmentalists.:)

    2. sam says:

      It’s gotten much worse since the De Blasio and the rest mayors rats got into office!!

    3. Jct says:

      I wish my investments had that rate of growth.

    4. Jeff says:

      The Federal government should help cities promote clean streets, pick up garbage regularly, and generally do what city governments are supposed to do? Heck I pay City income tax!

      We live in a filthy city, poorly maintained. Its an embarrassment, but its our own fault. Its a wonder its not worse.

      • ScooterStan says:

        Re “We live in a filthy city, poorly maintained.”

        Oh, definitely! THAT’s :

        why 2016 saw 60 MILLION (a record number) of domestic/international visitors;
        why it’s near impossible to walk on Fifth Avenue, in the Times Square area,or in Lower Manhattan;
        why dozens of films/tv series are filmed here every month;

        Could go on and on, but doubt if it would change your pre-conceived notions and baseless generalities.

      • Woody says:

        That’s because we live among savages.

    5. Darwin says:

      If the city would adopt rational policies for garbage, i.e., require enclosed hard receptacles rather than plastic bags, then the problem would abate. As long as we pretend the bags are OK, we will have rats. Nothing anyone can do until then.

    6. Jim says:

      Every Saturday morning at around 7:30 am a woman drives up in SUV and dumps a bag of bird feed on the sidewalk in front of the FedEx office on Broadway between West 78 & West 79. I wonder if she knows that she is just providing a feeding ground for rats.

      • Jim says:

        Sorry, I meant between West 79 & West 80.

      • Zulu says:

        A local building super had a similar problem. An older woman from the building liked to feed the pigeons in front of the building entrance by spreading seed all over the floor. In spite of neighbors asking her to stop the practice for sanitary reasons she simply refused.

        The super started squirting a little bit of BBQ starter fluid around the feeding area. Apparently pigeons (maybe all birds?) hate the smell and wouldn’t show up to feed. She eventually gave up or took her seeds somewhere else but the sidewalk now stays clean for much longer.

        • Cat says:

          Do people still smoke in public? It’s only going to take one tossed match or cigarette butt to light up your entryway. 😮

          • GG says:

            Great point, Cat. Nice call. I could imagine the WSR headline if that happened…and the subsequent crazy comments and maybe even video.:)

            I think the ammonia idea is a little less dangerous but that makes me nervous as well. No one knows how all these chemicals are going to react with each other and all the stuff on the sidewalks.

            For example, bleach is often used to clean in restaurants, etc. Now, I don’t remember much from one semester of high school chemistry a million years ago but BLEACH & AMMONIA together can cause a very very dangerous gas. Will someone who knows something about this please comment because I plead total ignorance. Thanks.

          • Zulu says:

            It’s only a little bit in an open area. Even if by chance it caught on fire by way of a cigarette butt it would burn off and that’s it. Concrete is not combustible.

        • B.B. says:

          Ammonia works well for rats and mice; they apparently cannot abide the smell.

      • Barb says:

        Perhaps you can call 311 to report this issue.
        This is definitely a feeding ground for rats.
        I called 311 about trash and was directed to the Sanitation Dept.
        Although I was told I would get a response in 3 to m7 days I received a call the next day. The over-flowing trash was removed.

    7. AZ says:

      Every night I dodge multiple rats as I walk my dog down the street. It’s horrifying.

    8. When the city tore down the old Yankee Stadium, the excavation set off a monumental rat migration into the stores and buildings across River Avenue.

      If the museum of natural history is allowed to blast into Teddy Roosevelt Park, we’ll see the same explosion exacerbated by global warming.


      • GG says:


        Good morning, “Doctor”. Just curious, is there any topic that you can’t make about the museum expansion?? How about that swastika on the church??

        Personally, I think you and Neil DeGrasse Tyson should have a cage match, WWE-style, to determine the fate of the museum once and for all. No holds barred…and the winner gets their museum plan approved.:) What do you think?

        Actually, it doesn’t matter because it was already approved and is happening. Hallelujah! Maybe you would be polling better if you were more concerned with the actual thoughts of UWS residents and THEIR issues in the community instead of your own selfish “agenda”. We get it!! you don’t want construction across from your home. None of us do but we all deal with it.

        • Mark says:

          I agree with you GG.

          • GG says:

            Thanks, Mark.

            Despite our bickering on some issues I think most of us agree that we love the museum and support the expansion. (and NOT tearing down the Teddy Roosevelt statue).

            We all deal with construction at one time or another. I have been dealing with the constant air horn blasts on the site near my apt. Every morning at 8:30AM or so and all day. Life in the big city.

      • Mark says:

        I agree with you Dr. Cary Goodman

    9. Nukleopatra says:

      Agree with the comments about improper trash disposal and such. When you see piles of bags on 110th street between Broadway and Amsterdam, there are rats present. It’s like an open invitation for them to have dinner. Also, I said it in comments on a similar article a few weeks ago… Definitely the people feeding birds need to realize they are contributing to the problem. Just last night (as I also mentioned in the prior comment) the tray of bread/pastry someone leaves at the corner of 109th Street and Amsterdam was there, clearly already gnawed on by pigeons or rats. Can’t they just throw it in the garbage? And where is someone getting an entire tray of this from? Surely it’s not a restaurant willfully discarding unsold food at this particular spot. There’s a garbage can right there! The placement is very deliberate. Anyway, I wish everyone doing things like this would stop. Certainly, not the only reason for more rats, but it’s not helping.

    10. Barb says:

      Trash has also become worse on the UWS since DeBlasio became Mayor.
      This week I saw a huge pile of trash ( illegal dumping) in front of Zabars.
      I called 311. Trash was removed by the next morning.
      Today another big pile of trash in a shopping cart at 83rd and Broadway. Really disgusting.

    11. Janis Totham-Davies says:

      We have a king rat as president, so it’s no wonder rats are rife everywhere!