New York does NOT have as many rats as people – but has 2 million

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Nov 11, 2014 in Rat News | Subscribe

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It is one of New York’s most terrifying facts – that for every resident, there is a rat.

However, researchers say that, in fact, it isn’t true.

However, they do say that while they don’t outnumber the 8 million human residents, New York is still home to two million rats. 

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while they don't outnumber the 8 million human residents, New York is still home to two million rats.

while they don’t outnumber the 8 million human residents, New York is still home to two million rats.

The analysis classified rat sightings by city lot, of which there are roughly 842,000 in New York City. The researchers estimated 40,500 rat-inhibited lots in the city. 

Rats that inhabit New York City are all the same species: Rattus norvegicus or the Norwegian rat,  the same species as pet rats and laboratory rats.  

They grow to approximately 16 inches long and weigh about a pound.

‘New York City’s rat problem is infamous,’ said Jonathan Auerbach, author of the Significance study winner of the YSS/Significance Young Statisticians Writing Competition. 

New York does NOT have as many rats as people - Researchers say population of pests is far smaller - but there are still two MILLION of them. This map shows the estimated percentage of New York City rat-inhabited lots by neighbourhood (NTA) as estimated by lot comparison for the 2010–2011 study period. Washington Heights (1), the East Village (2) and Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village (3) are identified as having large concentrations of rat-inhabited lots

New York does NOT have as many rats as people – Researchers say population of pests is far smaller – but there are still two MILLION of them. This map shows the estimated percentage of New York City rat-inhabited lots by neighbourhood (NTA) as estimated by lot comparison for the 2010–2011 study period. Washington Heights (1), the East Village (2) and Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village (3) are identified as having large concentrations of rat-inhabited lots

By assuming that 40 to 50 rats belong to a typical colony and that one full colony occupies each rat-inhabited lot, the researchers concluded that 2 million would be an extremely generous estimate of the city’s rat population.

‘While the rat population remains a serious problem in New York City, there appears to be no evidence supporting the 8 million number,’ said Auerbach.

In problems like this, the city’s open data is invaluable for challenging rumors, evaluating community need and establishing government efficacy,’

NEW YORK RATS 

Rats that inhabit New York City are all the same species: Rattus norvegicus or the Norwegian rat. This is the same species as pet rats and laboratory rats.  

They grow to approximately 16 inches long and weigh about a pound.

Rats stay close to their burrows, which are often at ground level in apartment floorboards, alleyways, sidewalks or basements. 

They are nocturnal and survive by mastering their surroundings, sticking to familiar areas within 450 feet of home.

Rats live in colonies of around 40–50 members and can be seen travelling in herds, passing down successful feeding paths to younger generations. 

Solitary, wandering rats, especially those found during the day, have often been displaced from their burrows.

Rats have a phenomenal rate of reproduction, mating up to 20 times in 6 hours. 

A female rat produces 4–7 litters of around 10 rats each year. 

Rat populations fluctuate based on factors such as food availability and the weather.

Rats are hard to kill. 

They are neophobic, meaning they avoid new objects introduced to their environment. 

They generally avoid traps and can smell poison, avoiding bait unless other food sources are unavailable.

New York’s human and rodent populations have cohabited uneasily since colonial days.

Professional rat exterminators in the city date back to 1857 – but counting all the creatures has long proved as difficult as killing them all.

The one-rat-per-person hypothesis originated from W. R. Boelter’s 1909 book, The Rat Problem, which assumed that there lived one rat per acre of land in England. 

A visual example of lot comparison estimation using the area east of Bedford-Stuyvesant in the Brooklyn borough between January 2010 and July 2011.Rat sightings are coloured by sample period

A visual example of lot comparison estimation using the area east of Bedford-Stuyvesant in the Brooklyn borough between January 2010 and July 2011.Rat sightings are coloured by sample period

Boelter concluded that there must be one rat per person in England, since the country had, at the time, both 40 million residents and 40 million acres. 

The hypothesis was erroneously applied to New York City and is widely quoted to this day. 

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene does not estimate the total

number of rats in New York City. Instead, it tracks the number of properties amenable to rats.

The Department’s Pest Control Service reports that, in 2013, 10800 prop

 

 

 

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Article source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2819403/New-York-does-NOT-rats-people-researchers-TWO-MILLION-five-boroughs.html

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