Rat carcasses wash ashore in New York City after Hurricane Ida | Smart news

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A dozen rat carcasses with erect bellies were found scattered in the sand in Canarsie Park, Brooklyn.
Neal Phillip

New York City residents may see fewer rats dodging subway commuters quickly.

Officials suspect hundreds of thousands of rats in the city were killed by the massive flooding resulting from torrential rains from Hurricane Ida earlier this month, Jake Offenhartz reports for Gothamist. The downpour brought six to eight inches of rain to the northeastern United States, from Pennsylvania to Connecticut, Barbara Goldberg and Nathan Layne report for Reuters. According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, rats can swim up to a mile but most likely couldn’t keep up with New York City’s record hourly rainfall of 3.15 inches.

“In that particular storm, all of the rats that were in the sewers were either crushed by the currents or washed into the rivers. I can’t imagine they would have survived,” said Bobby Corrigan, a pest control expert who was previously a rodent scientist for the New York Department of Health to Gothamist.

While cycling through Canarsie Park in Brooklyn, New York, Neal Phillip, an environmental professor at Bronx Community College, discovered the aftermath of the floods and a group of erect bellied rat carcasses in the sand, Alyssa Guzman reports for Daily Mail. “When I saw the first one, I thought it was strange. Then I saw them all over the place,” Philip said to Gothamist. “Seeing you so dead wasn’t very pleasant.”

There is no exact estimate of how many rats are scurrying around New York City, but estimates run into the millions, with many living underground in the subway systems and sewers, reports Jon Jackson of Newsweek. In the days following the record floods, parishioners found more drowned rats in the city’s five boroughs. Reports of drowned rats in different parts of the city suggest that many were carried away by the water and carried through sewer pipes. When heavy rains overwhelm the sewer system, its drains end up in local bays and estuaries, according to Gothamist.

Despite floods that drove rats out of the subway system, exterminators who spoke to Gothamist said complaints of rats had risen since the hurricane because surviving rats took refuge in private homes and public spaces. Calls tripled in the days after Ida’s strike, Timothy Wong, 20 year exterminator at M&M Pest Control, told Gothamist. He has taken calls of displaced rats rummaging in sheds and building nests in parked cars and dead rats swarmed by flies. However, the NYC Department of Health has not reported a similar flurry of complaints.

“Citywide, 311 (New York Hotline) complaints about rodent activity in the summer have not risen from previous levels, but we are monitoring our data and looking at the affected zip codes. We are not doing a rat population census in NYC,” a NYC spokesman said – Department of Health told Newsweek.

Many community members in the area have used social media to share photos and videos of not only drowned rats, but rats hopping around Central Park in broad daylight. Other videos show omnivorous wildlife taking advantage of the hurricane. In search of a quick meal, some look for dead carcasses and others for live rats, according to Gothamist. A viral video that’s making the rounds on social media shows a blue heron digging a rat hole found in a pond in Central Park.

“It has to happen everywhere,” Corrigan said to Gothamist. “This was a huge meat dump for all the scavengers – the raccoons, the hawks, the herons.”

Flood Hurricanes New York City rodents and shrews wildlife

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