New York City seems to be fighting a losing battle with the rat population. In truth, most big cities around the work have this problem. There have always been rumors circulating that there are more rats in New York City than there are people, that they are never more than five feet away and that they are becoming bigger. Some have been proven to be false, while others seem to be rooted in the truth.
Are they becoming bigger?
The truth of the matter is that any animal that is well fed will become larger over time. In New York City there is an overabundance of food available for the rats to feast on. If they can pick and choose what to eat without ever running out, it stands to reason that they will become larger. The sewer system in the city also allows them a safe space to live. They have no natural predators and are able to live longer. Even the cats that are in the city are no match for these massive rodents.
How big is too big?
Researchers have found that there are rats in the city that tip the scale at 1 ½ pound! That is a colossal rat. However, scientists don’t believe that there are rats bigger than that living in New York. One scientist states, that it seems as if the rats aren’t growing bigger than about 2 pounds. Even though the thought of a 2-pound rat may give you nightmares, it is better than a 3-pound rat. The study that was done to measure the size of the rats found that the average rat in New York City weighs around ½ pound.
Some photos have surfaced on the internet of Gambian pouched rats. These grow too much larger sizes than the regular sewer rats that live in the city. It is believed that these rats were initially pets that have been released by negligent owners. It is doubtful that there are breeding populations of them and they should not pose too much of a threat. They can weigh up to 3 pounds and have been found in Florida and even the Bronx. The importation of them has been banned and there are steps being taken to eradicate them.
Will bigger rats be dangerous?
It is highly doubtful that the size of the rat will affect how dangerous they are. They will continue to be an unpleasant sight in the sewers and subway but they will not become dangerous to human safety.
Even though the larger rats will not pose too much of a threat you still need to be careful when encountering a rat. There are many diseases that are spread through contact with rat urine and saliva. If you do get bitten by a rat, you should see a doctor so that they can administer an antibiotic to prevent the spread of disease.