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Number of Rats in New York City

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Rats Love New York; That Doesn't Make Them Welcome. New York Times. 12 July 2000. "No one knows how many rats live in the city. Some citizens have lamented that there have to be at least eight or nine rats per person. A more common conclusion is one rat per human. City health officials say these are all guesses. "We don't do rat tail counts,"a Health Department spokeswoman said." 64–72 million
DING DON, the Wicked Witch is Dead. Rudy Giuliani. 2002. "There is currently an ongoing 'Rat Summit' in NYC to discuss our 12:1 ratio of rats to human in NYC." 96 million
NYC Struggles With Millions of Rats. Agrizap. 9 July 2000. "New York's rat problem extends far beyond the halls of its public housing. Bill Perkins, chairman of the City Council's Select Committee on Pest Control, estimates that there are nine rats for every person in the city - a rat population of about 70 million." 70 million
Pests or Pet? Gotham Gazette. "Some estimates tell us that there are as many as six rats for every one New Yorker. If that is accurate (and nobody really knows), that means there are close to 44 million rats in New York City." 44 million
Heaven or Hell? 29 May 2002. NYC Rats. "And in just one year, a single female rat can produce as many as 285 brand new rats who are up and running in a matter of weeks. Rats, according to conservative estimates, outnumber human New Yorkers about 6 to 1." 48 million

New York is large and occupied by many people. New York is also infested with rats. No one knows the exact number of rats. Dr. Patrick Thomas, a curator of mammals at the Bronx Zoo states that "They are an extraordinarily adaptable and hardy breed."The population of rats will continue to increase if the city does not do anything about the poor garbage disposal, increased construction or the inefficient coordination of the city's response to this problem.

Why is the number of rats so large? In just a year, one female rat can produce 285 new born rats. After few weeks they are already roaming around the city. New York City is trying to decrease (and possibly eliminate) this infestation. It is imperative to address this problem because the rats are already outnumbering the number of people and is increasing year by year. Not only will they be overrunning the city, but it is critical for the safety of the people. They can carry bacterial diseases such as salmonella and many people report of rat bites. These rats are susceptible and able to carry disease. The city, in 1997, had a budget of 8 million dollars to spend on exterminators, toxic pesticides etc. By the year 2000, this budget increased to 13 million dollars.

Today, year 2002, it is estimated that for every person there are twelve rats. Considering that there are 8 million people, there are 96 million rats in the city of New York.

Jane Min -- 2002

Bibliographic Entry Result
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Robert Sullivan. Late Show with David Letterman. CBS. 14 May 2004 (11:35 PM EDT).
Letterman: [H]ow many of them do you believe are in New York City now?
Sullivan: Everybody says it's 8 million — one per person. Don't believe them.
Letterman: Well, that seems fair don't you think? Everybody gets a rat.
Sullivan: It's not true. It's not true. 1949, Dave Davis from Baltimore comes. Traps. Disproves the one-rat-per-person theory. Shows that there are 256 thousand rats in the city at that time.
Letterman: Aw, so we can sleep a little easier. There's only a quarter million rats.
Sullivan: Right.

Editor's Supplement -- 2004

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