Skip to comments.Where Did NYCís Rats Go In Superstorm Sandy?
Posted on 02/22/2013 6:09:17 PM PST by Red Steel
At the height of Superstorm Sandy, city residents watching seawater pour into the subway system couldnt help but wonder: What will become of all the rats?
Four months later, thats still a mystery.
And experts arent so sure about stories of hordes of displaced rodents fleeing the flood zone and taking up residence in buildings that were previously rat-free.
TV stations and newspapers have been rife with reports about rats infesting parked cars and fleeing the East River waterfront for the brownstones of Brooklyn Heights and exterminators enjoying a boom in business.
For some city officials, the last straw came a week ago when a rodent problem forced a two-day closure of Magnolia Bakery, a Manhattan landmark often credited with starting a national cupcake craze. Within days, a city councilwoman floated a proposal to create a $500,000 emergency rat mitigation program for storm-impacted neighborhoods.
But the citys health department, which collects reams of data about the rat population and maps infestations looking for trends, said rodent complaints actually had declined since the late October storm, which was spawned when Hurricane Sandy merged with two other weather systems.
The Health Department conducted extensive inspections in flood zones after Hurricane Sandy, provided guidance to home owners and baited the area. But we did not see an increase in the rat population, the agency said in a statement. Large storms can flush out rats, but they also drown many rats, and the net effect of large storms is often a decrease in the rat population.
The number of rodent-related citations issued by health inspectors has dropped as well.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs the citys subway system, the nations largest, also dismissed tales of rats being stirred up by Sandy.
We noticed no unusual rat activity or rodent activity in the wake of the storm, agency spokesman Charles Seaton said.
He also said that when water was pumped out of flooded tunnels and stations, there werent large numbers of rat carcasses left behind.
The idea of a mass rat migration drew ridicule from Richard Reynolds, who leads a group of dog owners who conduct urban rat hunts.
What happened to the rats? Nothing! Were finding rats right where weve always found them, he said. I think this whole idea that there has been some kind of major relocation of rats is just good news media fodder.
He noted, as did other experts, that Norwegian rats, the species found in New York, are known for being especially strong swimmers.
I have seen them dive over 70 feet, swim 500 yards, give me the finger and head for the hills, he said. Hurricane Sandy is not going to affect these critters.
Hard scientific data, though, is still largely lacking, and there is plenty of room for debate.
Retired pest control expert Dale Kaukeinen, who spent 30 years in the extermination business, said his first instinct was that Sandy probably decimated the rodent population in some neighborhoods. But he said he couldnt rule out the possibility that displaced rats had moved into new territory.
They are adaptable. They can swim. They can move distances, he said, citing radio telemetry studies showing that rats can move several miles if displaced by environmental conditions.
Also, because rats live in a world of smell, their former homes might have been rendered unfamiliar by a flood, he said, even if the buildings, parks or tunnels they had been living in suffered little permanent damage.
To a rat, it wouldnt look the same, it wouldnt smell the same, he said.
Jessica Lappin, the councilwoman who proposed the emergency extermination program for flood-damaged neighborhoods, said she was skeptical when she first started hearing stories about rat infestations since the storm but has come to believe the problem is real.
We are used to seeing rats. But it definitely seemed to be getting worse, Lappin said.
She noted that even though the health departments citywide rat complaint numbers show no increase, there has been a rise in select Manhattan neighborhoods near where flooding occurred.
Those neighborhoods include the West Village, where mice first turned up in a basement storage area at Magnolia Bakery in the weeks after the storm, company spokeswoman Sara Gramling said Thursday. The bakery was cited by city health inspectors in January, then was closed down Feb. 14 after a follow-up inspection. It reopened two days later, with lines even longer than usual.
Where did the Rats go?
DNC headquarters in Washinggton, D.C.?
They went back to where they belong: Washington DC.
Re-located to a red state, where they will be voting at least twice in each election.
They like it when the SHTF...that is when they do their best work.
Americans used to be like that...that is how we conquered this wonderful land.
Perhaps it is time for us to get back to being rats.
See the tagline...(and buy lots of spam...and ammo.;-)
I suspect that their reproductive and mortality timetable was disrupted.
“The brown rat can breed throughout the year if conditions are suitable, with a female producing up to five litters a year. The gestation period is only 21 days, and litters can number up to 14, although seven is common. They reach sexual maturity in about five weeks. The maximum life span is up to three years, although most barely manage one. A yearly mortality rate of 95% is estimated, with predators and interspecies conflict as major causes.”
Hurricane Sandy wiped out vast numbers of nests, scent territories, and reliable food sources, without which the rats were hesitant to reproduce. Likewise mortality probably jumped.
Maybe the big RINO scared them off...(as if!)
CNN headquarters in Atlanta?
I knew it! I just.....knew.....it. Charlie don’t surf, but Ben does.
“Ben, you’re always surfing here and there
You hang ten on the Pipeline without a care
If you ever look behind
And a tsunami wave is what you find
There’s something you should know
You’ve got a sewer with Michael Bloomberg.”
Yeah, I know it doesn’t rhyme, but it’s the thought that counts.
I thought this article was going to be about the DNC establishment.
My first thought when I saw the headline was that all the politicians probably headed for their homes in the Hamptons. Had to read a few lines before I discovered they were talking about the four-legged ones.
Quick, somebody write the grant proposal, I am thinking about $650K would be adequate to study this.
You forgot Willard.
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