Why Are There So Many Rats in New York City? | Explained!

One thing that would represent a dirty place is probably the presence of these tiny little dirty creatures— rats. You may have seen them crawling in the grubby edges of an alley, or worse, in your attic and walls! 

Rats are one of the most common urban pests in New York City. The city has always been a magnet for rats, but they have been particularly bad lately due to the prevalence of garbage, which attracts them because they can find food there.

New York City’s rats are mostly brown rats, which aren’t native to the city but have found a home here by traveling along with people. These rats can be found in buildings and tunnels, which are easy for them to get into.

They eat garbage, which means that they cross paths with humans who leave food out for them. This article will give you information about these crawling troublemakers that infest New York City and how to get rid of them.

Is There a Rat Problem in New York City?

Is There a Rat Problem in New York City

There is a rat problem in New York City. In fact, New York City has a long history of rat infestation. New York Times published news dated back in 1860 when an infant was mutilated by rats causing death to the baby.

Those times were also when these rats were feisty enough to come out from their hiding places, even in the daytime. In 1921, the NYC Health Department also engaged in different anti-rat campaigns to eradicate these pests. Even now, in 2021, reports about rat infestation do not cease to add up in numbers.

What Kind of Rats Live In NY?

The most common species of rat in New York City is the Norway rat, or brown rat for short. These rats are very common in the city because they can survive on the food from dumpsters and sewage pipes. The Norway rat has a short lifespan of 2-3 years, but its average life span is 6-7 years.

Are NYC Rats Smart?

New York rats are smart. Rats can navigate New York City with ease, even though they’re not native to the city. They have also adapted by learning how to survive on whatever food source is available at the time—like garbage or humans—and finding ways around obstacles like locks and fences.

Rats are also excellent communicators, which is why they can be mostly found in groups. They use different ways to communicate with each other using touch, smell, or sound. 

What Makes NYC Attractive to Rats?

What Makes NYC Attractive to Rats

Rats are attracted to NYC because of all the available food, water, and shelter. During summer, rats feed on an abundance of fruit, vegetables, and garbage that are left out for disposal. They also drink from the sewers and underground streams.

The rats have no natural predators in New York City, making them very successful at reproducing. They reproduce quickly and can create large colonies found all over the city.

Who Has More Rats Chicago or New York?

In a study conducted by Orkin, a well-known pest control treatment company, Chicago is the ‘rattiest’ city in the United States of America for the sixth time in 2020. This ranking is based on the total number of rodent pest control treatments conducted within different cities involving residential and commercial treatments.

How Common Are Rats in New York?

How Common Are Rats in New York

Rats are a common sight in New York. They are found in nearly every neighborhood and most areas of the city. Several types of rats live in New York City: Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus), roof rats (Rattus rattus), brown rats (Rattus norvegicus), and house mice (Mus musculus).

Norway rats are black-and-white striped animals that live in sewers and underground tunnels. Roof rats are gray with white bellies, and their fur is covered with black speckles. Brown rats have dark brown fur, and their tails have black tips.

House mice are small rodents that live near human settlements. They eat seeds and grains, fruits, vegetables, and fungi; they also feed on dead animal matter such as insects and spiders.

Where Are the Most Rats in NYC?

Where Are the Most Rats in NYC

In New York City, rats are frequently seen, yet their colonies can be found in different places. Most rats are found in Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan, with the Lower East Side being home to the highest rat population.

The Lower East Side is home to more than 18 million people; it is also where many people live in poverty and struggle with homelessness. Rats have adapted to this environment by becoming pests and spreading disease through droppings.

How Did the Pandemic Affect the Rat Infestation in New York?

During the pandemic, rats were seen eating each other alive, and there was even a study done to show how they would bite through their own skulls to eat their brains. News reported that many rats survived by eating each other alive. This is because they have evolved to be able to survive on very little food, and to do so, they have developed this behavior.

Did the City Officials Attempt to Control the Infestation?

City officials attempt to control the infestation. In 2017, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced plans for a $32 million program designed to reduce the number of rats by using a combination of rat poisoning and territorial sabotaging.

The program includes cementing dirt basements and implementing a better trash collection system that will help in mitigating the infestation. The plan also includes measures to promote community participation in preventing rats from spreading. 

Where Do the Biggest Rats Live?

The biggest rats are found in the rural areas of Africa, in the mountains and jungles. They are about 20-35 inches long from head to tail. These rats tend to live in very large groups and are often aggressive. They have big teeth and claws that allow them to eat almost anything—even other animals. 

Where Are There No Rats?

Rats cannot survive in cold temperatures like Alberta, Canada because they have a very low tolerance for cold. Rats are ectotherms, which means they are cold-blooded animals that depend on external sources of heat to keep themselves warm.

To survive in cold temperatures, rats must generate their own body heat through metabolism and movement. If the temperature drops too low, however, this process shuts down.

How Much Should Rat Removal Cost?

The price of rat removal depends on a variety of factors.

The first thing to consider is the size of the infestation. The more rats there are, the greater the cost will be to remove them. A smaller infestation may be able to be treated with traps and poison, but it will take time and care to get these rodents out of your home. Prices of traps range from $10-20, while the cheapest rat poison usually costs $14.

The second factor that affects how much you pay for rat removal is how long you have been dealing with them. If you have been infested for a short period of time, then this likely means that you will not need to hire professionals to handle the problem; but if you are dealing with large colonies that have been present for years or even decades, then hiring professionals will likely come in handy as well. Most exterminating jobs range normally from $300-500.

Can I Get Rid of Rats Myself?

You can get rid of rats. One of the best ways to keep rats out of your home is by sealing up any gaps or holes that they might use for entry. You may need to have a professional sealer come out and repair these areas if they are damaged or missing altogether.

Some people prefer using DIY tips like installing screen doors over their windows so that they can keep the outside world out while still allowing some ventilation. Others prefer buying rat traps from companies like exterminators who offer rodent proofing services for homes and businesses alike. These types of products work wonders at keeping rats out of structures.

Related: How to Get Rid of Rats From Your Yard? | Identification and Control Guide

The history of a rat infestation in New York City dates back to 1980 and is continuously pestering the city. The city has been invaded by these pests because of the amount of garbage the city produces that attracts them.

The infestation of rats in your home or business can be a big problem if left unchecked. When you have an infestation, you should either consider calling a professional exterminator immediately or try to handle it yourself by using traps and poisons as a solution. 

List of Sources

What Do Mice and Rats Look Like?

With Less Food Litter From Pandemic Closures, Hungry Rats May Resort to Cannibalism

Starving, Angry and Cannibalistic: America’s Rats Are Getting Desperate Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

De Blasio Administration Announces $32 Million Neighborhood Rat Reduction Plan