NYC rat sightings are surging. It's the most rats we've seen in a decade.
There have been calls into the city's 311 service request line for about 7,400 rat sightings. This number is up from 6,150 that was reported around the same time last year. This is more than 60% from the first four months of 2019, the year before the pandemic.
This is the highest number we've seen in the first four months of the year since 2010. Those records indicate there were about 10,500 sightings in that whole year. It is uncertain if the rat population has actually increased but the pandemic has definitely made the rats out and about more than usual.
Matt Frye, a pest management specialist for the state of New York, who is based at Cornell University said that when we returned to pre-pandemic routines it “is exciting after two years of COVID-imposed lifestyle changes,” but “it also means business as usual for rat problems that are directly tied to human behavior.”
Rats aren't only bad for people who don't like rodents but they can also be a concern for public health. Last year 13 people were hospitalized with 1 death from leptospirosis, a condition that attacks the kidneys and livers. An infection for humans that are associated with rats.