The National Pest Management Association estimates that America’s largest city, New York, has as many as 32 million rats, making it the most rat-infested cities in the Western world.
For many Africans, the continent is home to the highest number of rats and other pests.
This perception owes to Western classification of Africa as a “third-world” continent, adding to high levels of under-development.
But when it comes to rats and related pests, some of the world’s most renowned cities are flag bearers.
According to data from the National Pest Management Association, one of the world’s largest cities, New York, in the United States, is the topmost rat-infested city in the Western world.
Some of the cities the NPMA cited in its study have as many rats as the number of people living in it.
This proliferation is based on a number of factors, including the city’s climate, sanitation system, and food supply.
Based on the NPMA’s data, rats are particularly attracted to warm, humid climates, and they thrive in areas with plenty of food and water.
Here is a list of the top 10 cities in the world with the highest number of rats, according to the NPMA.
1- New York City
New York City has a long history of rat infestation. Brown rats arrived in the city in the early 1800s, and black rats arrived in the early 1600s.
Over time, the brown rat has become the dominant rat species in New York City, thanks to its larger size and greater aggression.
It is difficult to estimate the number of rats in New York City, but some experts believe that the population could be as high as 32 million.
The city has traditionally taken a reactive approach to rat control, responding to complaints by placing poison.
However, in recent years, the city has also begun to take preventative measures, such as geo-tagging, focusing on the structural integrity of properties, improving waste removal, educating city employees, and advising residents to be on the lookout for signs of rats.
In 2013, the city announced a controversial plan for widespread chemical sterilization of rats.
The program aims to reduce rat fertility levels and curb population growth.
2- Houston, Texas: A Rat Paradise
Houston, Texas, has a warm and humid climate, which is ideal for both black and brown rats. In 2013, a local news outlet reported that black rats were becoming increasingly common in the city.
Black rats prefer elevated and dry conditions, and they can gain access to properties through tiny gaps.
They can cause significant damage to wires and electrical systems.
Homeowners were advised to check their residences for holes and to trim nearby foliage to make it less attractive to rats.
In 2012, a group of vagrants set up a camp in Quebedeaux Park in Houston. The rats were attracted to the food waste, and they eventually overran the area.
After the vagrants were relocated, the city had to take steps to control the rat population.
Rats are not uncommon in downtown Houston, but it is a cause for concern when they are seen in daylight hours.
This suggests that the rat population is large and that the rats are not afraid of humans.
3 – New Orleans: A City Besieged By Rats
New Orleans has long had a rat problem, but it was exacerbated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The storm caused widespread flooding and damage, and many people were forced to evacuate their homes.
This left the city’s rat population with less competition for food and shelter, and they thrived.
In 2006, Erick Kinchke, owner of local pest control company Audubon Pest Control, described New Orleans as “a rat’s paradise.”
He said that the rats had “more to eat than before the storm” and that they were less likely to be trapped and killed.
In recent years, the state of Louisiana itself has been threatened by a new type of rat: the nutria. Nutria are large rodents that are native to South America. They were introduced to Louisiana in the 1930s for the fur trade, but they have since become an invasive species.
Nutria are voracious eaters, and they can cause significant damage to vegetation. They are also thought to be responsible for annual erosion covering a 40-square-mile area in Louisiana.
This erosion makes the state more vulnerable to flooding and storm damage.
4- Atlanta, Georgia, USA
The city of Atlanta, Georgia is said to have the second highest rat population issue in America. The city’s heavy mortgage foreclosure problem and a rising number of poverty-stricken neighborhoods are thought to be behind the issue.
5 – London, England, United Kingdom
When London was awarded the honor of hosting the 2012 Summer Olympics, it was believed that the Games would boost the city’s construction and tourism industries. However, some news reports dwelt on less positive topics while preparation was underway. In 2010 the National Pest Technicians Association (NPTA) reported a 38 percent rise in London’s rat population, attributing the problem to building work, deteriorating sewers, and trash.
6 – Baltimore, Maryland, USA
In June 2013 Washington Post writer Karen Houppert shone a spotlight on Baltimore’s rat problem, revealing that between 2002 and 2009, rat numbers increased from less than ten of the creatures for every 1,000 local people to as many as 60 per 1,000. She also mentioned a Baltimore City Health Department report that claimed, “The rodent infestation rate in Baltimore is six times the national average.”
7 – Chicago, Illinois, USA
Chicago’s most common rat is the brown rat, which is a species that can be traced back to Asia. The brown rat is a highly capable climber – a fact of which some Chicago denizens may be only too aware. In August 2013 North Center locals were reported to be considering moving out, as they felt overwhelmed by the constant battle against the rodents.
8 – Paris, France
Paris may have an international reputation for romance and culture, but the French capital is also swarming with rats. In 2008 the Paris police’s veterinary services chief Jean-Roch Gaillet told the BBC, “Paris is good for rats because of the River Seine but there is also a lot of stagnant water which is a very nice place for rats.” As a result, the city takes annual action against the unwanted rodents – which could number up to eight million all told.
9 – Boston, Massachusetts, USA
In 2012, rodents overran popular 22-acre Boston tourism and running spot Castle Island. And in August the same year, authorities were coming down hard on rat infestations in other parts of the city. A number of factors were thought to be responsible for the rise in rat numbers, including the relatively mild winter. High levels of garbage in one area were also listed as a reason, as well as a lack of consideration given to rat holes in the locality.
10 – Detroit, Michigan, USA
Detroit has a long history of rat infestation, and the problem has only gotten worse in recent years. In 2012, the Detroit Free Press reported that extermination companies were reporting a rise in the rat population in urban Detroit, with human behavior – particularly carelessness when it comes to household maintenance and storage of trash – pinpointed as the main cause.
Rat infestations are a problem in many cities around the world. There is no single solution to the problem, but a combination of prevention and control.
If Cameroonians think they have a lot of rats due to her unclean environment, what would one say about clean and well organized cities like New York, London, Paris and others?