My Summary of Big Scary Ugly Dirty Rats by Mark Jacobson

In New York City, even a dead rat can draw a crowd. The rat described in the article was about seven inches long, weighing around a pound, which is a typical size for a city rat. These rats have been a part of the city’s landscape for centuries, colonizing various urban environments.

A peculiar incident occurred when a group of young men poured beer on the rat’s lifeless body, causing it to seemingly come back to life and startle onlookers. This event highlighted the rat’s surprising resilience, a testament to their adaptability in the bustling metropolis.

Rats, particularly the species Rattus norvegicus, boast impressive survival skills. Female brown rats can become sexually mature in just eight to ten weeks and can produce a litter of pups within 21 days of impregnation. They can even mate again within eighteen hours of giving birth, resulting in over 50 offspring per year. Their abilities are not limited to reproduction; they can swim for over half a mile and tread water for up to three days. Furthermore, they possess the uncanny ability to gnaw through concrete and lead, and they can shrink their skeletons to fit through holes no larger than a quarter. This adaptability allows them to thrive in various city environments.

Currently, New York City is grappling with a rat outbreak. Reports of rats overrunning public spaces, such as parks and playgrounds, have become commonplace. Even the homes of celebrities like Michael Cera and Rupert Everett have not been spared. To combat this surge, pest-control professionals have gained notoriety, with shows like “Rat Busters NYC” tracking their efforts.

The rat issue poses a significant challenge for the city’s administration, especially after the reduction of Health Department pest-control workers. While estimating the exact rat population remains tricky, what’s more crucial is how many rats people actually see.

The article concludes by emphasizing the deep historical and cultural connection between humans and rats in the city. It suggests that complete eradication of rats is neither practical nor beneficial for both species. Instead, managing the proximity between humans and rats is recommended for peaceful coexistence. The author shares a personal story about encountering a rat near Collect Pond Park, highlighting the uneasy but inevitable relationship between city dwellers and their rodent counterparts.

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December 12, 2023 10:26 pm

Dear Ayan,

Your post made me feel that bigger cities with a big population are the ones that have to deal with these types of problems involving rats. I feel like it is normal to some people in certain parts in the world to see rats everyday, but to others it is very rare. Something I wonder is how you could prevent less rats from appearing?

December 12, 2023 8:14 pm

Dear, Ayan

Your post made me feel like the big cities are the ones with this issue or with lots of rats and a city i can think of would be new york. Lots of people even say that it’s normal when seeing a rat on the street. I also think that this can be an issue to people everyday, which is something they deal with daily.

December 11, 2023 8:45 pm

Dear, Ayan

Your post made me think of big cities and how it must be an issue that civilians have to deal with. Something I wonder is how does this become an issue.


December 11, 2023 5:29 pm

Dear, Ayan
Your post made me think of how New york city has dealt with this issue for many years an has kind of became the norm. And it is mostly all big cities have this issue. Something i wonder is how can we limit these problems.
Juliana Cruz

Lucy Adamari
November 27, 2023 5:17 pm

Dear, Ayan
Your post made me think of how urban cities have a very large problem of pest outbreaks and the actions health pest control professionals take to reduce the infestation. Also how the rats have been in the cities for a long time that they have adapted to the environment and learned to live with all the harsh things around them. Something I wonder is how people learn to live with the rats, regularly see the rats and be okay with it.

November 27, 2023 5:12 pm

Your post made me think about the wide variety of functions that a rat has. I never realized how adaptable they can be, most creatures stick to one particular environment. It seems that rats can make it almost anywhere and remain a steady population with all of their unique characteristics. I wonder if rats are one of the largest rodent populations in the country, considering their reproduction opportunity and outbreaks.

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