New York City is taking on rats like never before. We're trying out new high-tech methods to control them in the Bronx, and just this week we launched a website that gives you – the New York City public – access to a wealth of information and advice on how to get rats off your property and out of your neighborhood.
You have to understand rats to defeat them. My goal this week is to bust many of the myths about rats that keep us from effectively reducing their numbers. When I'm out the street, gathering data or educating exterminators, I often hear myths like: "The rats are getting bigger…they're they size of cats!" Not so. The rats in New York City all belong to one species, the Norway rat. A full-grown Norway rat is typically 16 inches long (including the tail) and weighs in at 12 to 16 ounces. A rat may occasionally grow bigger, but "super rats" are pure myth. If you surprise a rat, it may "raise the hackles" to appear bigger and more intimidating, but it's a bluff. The extra size is all fur.
Another common fallacy is that only filthy properties attract rats. This is not so. Rats infest whole neighborhoods, not just individual addresses. And it takes neighborhood action to get rid of the food, garbage, and nesting places that rats need to survive. We're asking residents, business owners and community leaders to join in our efforts to control them. So please send me questions about rats, their behavior, and the best strategies for fighting them.