Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Rat Infestation of NYC Subways

The NYC budget cutbacks has meant less garbage removal in the subway stations and lo and behold more rats. So, the MTA employees want to work and clean up the stations. They have concocted a photo contest and the winner of the nastiest rat gets a metrocard. This is to gain public support for them to get more work.

I find it fascinating that Washington DC's subway doesn't have a rodent infestation and NYC's does. What is the difference? DC prohibits food or beverages in the subways, and they will ticket you for violations. DC's subways are much cleaner than NYC. And, that simple as it is, is the solution to rat infestation. Don't feed them and they won't hang out.

Honestly, NYC has a bigger problem than just starving the rats out of the subways. Apparently, the underground of NYC is a great maze of abandoned areas and even if they cleared the subways of food, they likely would still have a rat problem, but it would be smaller. Also, I have yet to see a rat in the NYC subways, but I've seen loads of trash, and there is always food trash on the rails.

As for the contest, I like how they are emphasizing clean up rather than extermination. Exterminating rats is not a solution. It results in only temporary reductions in rat population.

And, of course, wild rats are not pet rats. My rats have been selectively bred for generations to be friendly, domesticated, to not bite, to not be skittish, etc. Domesticated rats die when they are set "free" in the wild.

On a related subject, I live near NYC, and it is fascinating to see the response of New Yorkers to my rats. New Yorkers tend to have intense extreme dislike of rats. One of my friends from New York City so dislikes rats, he becomes physically disturbed to even talk about them. He can handle seeing pictures of my partly white rats as they don't remind him of a sewer rat, but Mabel and Doctor are just too close. He calls them battleship grey which is apparently the color of a NYC rat. Every picture of a NYC rat, to me, looks like an agouti. So, poor little Doctor gets discriminated against despite his legitimate domesticity.

Anyways, I cheer the MTA workers on. They want to work more and clean up the subways, and if public support gained through the fear of rats works. Awesome.

But pet rats are cute, not nasty.

Baby Mabel. This is her picture from her Mainely Rat Rescue adoption paperwork

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