Just when you think that we have gotten to grips with what the COVID-19 pandemic means for the world; a new development in another corner of the world disquiets the little inner-peace we have established. Rats. Gangs of them. In New York. Dublin might have feral seagulls but New York City has warring rats.
While native New Yorkers, or even experienced tourists, know that when in New York you are likely to spot a rat or two. Typically, this is not an issue with humans going about their business with no interference from the New York rats who have better things to do. Though rats have been a growing issue for New York and other municipalities in the States. New York rats, like any native New Yorker, will try to stay out of your way if you stay out of theirs.
However, an unforeseen problem as now arisen in New York, and other American cities, with the lockdown. With all restaurants, cafes and bars closed or working in a much-reduced capacity the rat’s primary food source has been disrupted. According to Trip Advisor, there are 10,696 restaurants registered in Manhattan all of which are either closed or delivering food only. This change in operating means that the food is running scarce for our furry little friends, or foes depending on your viewpoint. This scarcity is causing rats to migrate from one neighbourhood to another.
Speaking with NBC News an American Urban Rodentologist, (rodent expert), Bobby Corrigan stated: “A new ‘ARMY’ of rats come in, and which army has the strongest rats is going to conquer the area”. An army of rats is a terrifying thought and has been witnessed to a degree in New Orleans’s famous French Quarter on Bourbon Street. This was filmed in March this year as lockdown began and quickly went viral.
New Yorkers are hoping to avoid this kind of sight with an increased number of pest control crews to battle the problem which has been getting steadily worse with each year now exasperated by the current crisis. Mr. Corrgian explained further that the rats are doing anything they can to get enough food to survive including cannibalism, infanticide, and rat turf wars.
While other countries have faced animal incursions, for example, Thailand’s Monkey’s who are also struggling to find sufficient resources resulting in violence amongst their numbers or Wales where the more benign Mountain Goats had set up shop in residential hedges, the rats of New York present a more disturbing image.
What would the worst animal infestation be? Rats, snakes, spiders, kittens? Shout out in the comments below!