Talk:Rats in New York City

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Adding a picture[edit]

An NYC rat pic taken by David Shankbone.

This article should eventually get some form of picture to illustrate NYC rats. So far, I could only find this one at Commons, and I think one that shows a rat near some notable NYC landmark would fit better (there's no real indication that this rat is actually in NYC apart from the file name). Thoughts? --an odd name 16:48, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

Via Flickr search, some others that may work:

The first or fourth might be the most useful. --an odd name 16:59, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

Lack of actual rat census[edit]

I was actually brought to this article by happenstance while perusing Snopes where they consider the whole "One rat for every person" legend as a "Wild Innacuracy". Apparently the claim started from an article in the early 1900s and has persisted since then. It appears the only "rat census" was done in 1949 by a man who had done a similar census for Baltimore. Through trapping and individual identification across multiple boroughs he concluded the actual number was closer to only a quarter million rats total. The only source for this I can find is a book by Robert Sullivan called Rats, the same source Snopes used. Oddly I can't find any newer attempts at quantifying the actual NY rat population in any even semi-scientific source. Just a lot of articles all saying estimates vary or city officials estimate, etc. Has there been no better study since then? Personally, not that it matters my opinion, but I find the claim as "absurd" as the guy in 1949 did. It doesn't fit any recent behavioral studies that show rats react very badly to overpopulation even where food is abundant and actually cull their own numbers. 8 million rats in such a small area is a veritable sea of rats. This is all unusable OR in know but there must be some scientific studies out there that I'm unable to find. Even city or state sponsored ones? I'm hoping someone who has better access to scientific studies can find some sources that are a bit more concrete than what comprises the current article Capeo (talk) 19:18, 11 August 2014 (UTC)


The EL guideline states: "These External-link guidelines do not apply to footnoted citations within the body of the article." --Epeefleche (talk) 21:22, 5 May 2015 (UTC)

Verbage for rat young[edit]

The article uses the word "pup" currently. I kept rats for a while and I've only ever heard "kittens" used to refer to rat young. This seems consistent with the definition of kitten over at wiktionary and a handful of amateur breeding websites. I'm going to go ahead and make the change, but if anyone sees a reliable source contrary, give me a holler. Mr. G. Williams (talk) 02:41, 4 December 2015 (UTC)

Seems non-controversial, glad you came across it. JesseRafe (talk) 02:50, 4 December 2015 (UTC)


Unless there is serious disagreement, I propose that this image be added to the Species section. It is a better image of a brown rat than we currently have, though this one may well not be in NY. As the section is about the species, it seems appropriate IMHO. And we lack high-quality images. --Epeefleche (talk) 21:25, 5 May 2015 (UTC)

Leaping 4 feet sideways?[edit]

I added "clarify" tags on both instances of the claims of leaping four feet sideways. Is this how far they can jump? At maximum? Or only "sideways"? This implies they only leap laterally like a crab only walks laterally, though they walk forward. All in all more confusing than illuminating (other than as a scare tactic or "crazy fact" about the species). JesseRafe (talk) 20:15, 7 October 2015 (UTC)

Thank you, User:Epicgenius, but that doesn't clarify what was meant. If the source says "sideways" my question still stands. Also, there is a new problem. Both those passages make it seem that it is the brown rat being referred to, but that quotation from the LA Times makes it unambiguous that it is the Norway rat that has those properties, yet the preponderance of NYC's rats are brown rats. JesseRafe (talk) 12:59, 8 October 2015 (UTC)
I think the LA times intended "sideways" as "laterally", i.e. they did not mean simply breadth-wise, but any way horizontally. Also, we should clarify this rat confusion up. Epic Genius (talk) 14:43, 8 October 2015 (UTC)
I agree in interpretation, but I think the clarification is still needed. Whether the article said it or the source said it, it's confusing. Does this mean, say, the rat can only jump 2 feet forward but 4 feet sideways? (I've incidentally never seen a rat ambulate or leap laterally - nor any quadrapeds with that basic skeleton structure - don't even know if this gait is possible in terrestrial locomotion given their hip joints --that's why this phrase "jumped out" at me.) I think the distance a rat can jump is, if not important, at least functional and interesting in the space of those details about it being a super-creature, but should be very clear. And that the total distance it can leap is more interesting and relevant than a distance it can leap in one particular fashion. But this is all moot if this source is specifically about the Norway rat and everything else is about the Brown rat. Maybe a re-write or significant reduction in emphasis on this fact? JesseRafe (talk) 14:59, 8 October 2015 (UTC)
Yes, we should de-emphasize this fact. Maybe we can cut it completely, because that fact is misleading. It is the Norway rat that can jump sideways, but the brown rat is the most common in NYC. Epic Genius (talk) 15:30, 8 October 2015 (UTC)
 Done Epic Genius (talk) 17:33, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
Not done Norway rats and brown rats are the same thing. Epic Genius (talk) 14:17, 15 October 2015 (UTC)
I'm still dissatisfied with the change from "sideways" to "laterally". Yes, this "makes sense", but so did "sideways" -- it is still unclear what is actually meant. And as the original source did say "sideways" it is OR and not fully clarifying to change it to "laterally". JesseRafe (talk) 14:20, 15 October 2015 (UTC)
Maybe the source did mean "sideways," as in "like a crab." We don't know. Epic Genius (talk) 15:24, 15 October 2015 (UTC)

Copyright problem removed[edit]

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