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Giant Rats of New York City


I remember, as a kid, hearing about giants rats in the tunnels under New York City. I was happy that I didn’t have to worry about huge rodents attacking me on my way to school. Although, as much as I hated school, that might have been a good excuse to not go!

According to experts in the city’s pest control businesses, and the homeless, of New York City, the rats in the area are getting progressively bigger, and more aggressive, even vicious. Numerous rats, the size of full-grown cats, have been spotted frequently under and above the streets of the city. They are becoming resistant to the poisons currently in use.

Rats are very resistant. The rats living on the Marshall Islands during the nuclear bomb testing programs, went underground, and did very well.

There are giant rats reported from other parts of the world. There were also prehistoric rats that grew as big as cars, with incisors over a foot long, according to fossils found 65 miles west of Montevideo, Uruguay. Recently in New Guinea, a giant rat five times normal size was found in the jungles.

Near the west coast of Madagascar, giant rats, the Malagasy, over a foot long, and two feet with the tail, and weighing about three pounds, live in underground tunnels of their own making. These rats are not aggressive, and prefer to stay away from mankind.

The African Gambian Pouch Rat doesn’t bring a rat to my mind, so much as a squirrel. It can grow to about nine pounds, and has cheek pouches for gathering nuts. They are friendly rodents, and make good pets. Invasive in the Florida Keys, the pouch rats are believed to be responsible for the outbreak of “monkeypox.” They were subsequently banned from the United States in 2003.

Put to use in Mozambique to sniff out land mines, the African Gambian Pouch Rats are nocturnal in nature, and sometimes have trouble getting started in the morning! According to writer Michael Wines, rats are “outfitted in tiny harnesses and hitched to a ten-yard clothesline” to use their acute sense of smell to help their boss, Frank Weetjens, sniff out the treacherous mines. Although giants, they are still small enough to not detonate any of the mines.

The rats in New York City aren’t friendly, aren’t helpful, and are starting to scare many of the people in the area.

In 1979, tugboat workers went on strike, preventing barges from taking the trash out of Manhattan Island. Rat problems go to be so terrible, that the feral rodents would attack in the middle of the day. One witness described a lady being attacked by six or seven rats jumping and climbing all over her. A man started hitting the rats with a newspaper to get them off of her. A big pit of rats was found nearby, and it took weeks to clean out the pit by truckfuls. Thirty years later, the same alleyway is littered with the corpses of dead rats appearing to have been chewed on by other rats.

A maintenance man in the New York City area sees giant rats outside his apartment every night. He was terrified. Now he goes out, with a hockey stick “every day to kill rats before they kill his children.”

Several homeless men living under the city report that the rats are getting bigger and meaner. One homeless man, Jose, says he never brings food into the tunnels for fear of attracting the rats. He uses ammonia to keep the rats away from where he sleeps. There are some sections of the tunnels that he will never venture into. In a cave in one of the tunnels, he heard a terrible growling noise that still scares him to think about.

The Lower Manhattan area has more complaints than other areas, probably because of the older neighborhoods.

A building manager in the city, Gino, was called by one of his tenants complaining about a rat in the toilet. He said the thing was gigantic, and he killed it with a baseball bat.

When I was living in West Palm Beach as a child, my best friend, Margaret Tibbs, called me one Saturday morning to tell me she had discovered a rat in her toilet that morning, when it tickled her rump. She really didn’t seem as upset as I thought she should have been. The entire town would have heard my reaction to a rat tickling my behind!


References/Sources/Additional Information and Reading:
http://www.animalinfo.org/species/rodent/hypoanti.htm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7149569.stm
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/science/article3193462.ece
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/17/science/17rat_web.html?_r=1&oref=slogin
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coypu
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gambian_pouched_rat
http://floridakeystreasures.com/creatures/pouchrat/
http://www.acs.appstate.edu/~kms/classes/psy3202/RatsLandMines.htm
May 18, 2004 For Sniffing Out Land Mines, a Platoon of Twitching Noses
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cricetomys_emini
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giant_pouched_rat
Monsterquest Episode 206: Super Rats
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Content copyright © 2014 by Deena Budd. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Deena Budd. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Deena Budd for details.

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