Behind the New York City War on ‘Croc Sized’ Rats Sweeping The Internet

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New Yorkers are officially taking the war on rats into their own hands, but how and why did it get this bad?


New York City is known for a number of things, its iconic yellow taxis, Times Square, the Empire State Building, and, regrettably, its rats.


Lamento desilusionarlos ???? #nyc

♬ original sound – LeendaDong

Rats have always been present in NYC, along with most large cities, but in the last few years, the rat problem has only gotten worse.

A Pest Ridden History

Rats arrived in New York in the late 18th century, likely brought over by international shipping. It’s assumed that at least half of the ships arriving in NYC ports were infested.

The Statue of Liberty stands in the foreground as Lower Manhattan is viewed at dusk.
NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 8: in The Statue of Liberty stands in the foreground as Lower Manhattan is viewed at dusk, September 8, 2016 in New York City. New York City is preparing to mark the 15th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

In recent years, there have been more and more complaints filed regarding the vermin. This is often attributed to the pandemic.



I wonder if it’s the unlimited rat food on the street? #newyork #newyorkcity #rat #trash #tax #satire #sarcasm

♬ Love You So – The King Khan & BBQ Show

Between more residents working from home, hence more trash bags on the sidewalk, and budget cuts to the Sanitation Department in 2020, the issue only worsened.

Attempts at Solutions

New York officials have made several attempts to curb the growth of the rat population.


Don’t mind me I was so scared ????????this is NYC for you tho ????????#nyc #fypシ #viralvideo #rats #foryoupage

♬ Her Way (Sped Up) – PARTYNEXTDOOR

In 2022, authorities requested residents to exclusively take out their trash during nighttime, aiming to restrict the hours waste remained exposed on the sidewalks. Additionally, they placed rat traps throughout the city, including in subways, sewers, and around businesses.


These things are demons ????. #fyp #foryou #subway #mta #train #rats #newyork #hacks

♬ original sound – Fleego


A number of Big Apple mayors have attempted to deal with the rat problem, but Mayor Eric Adams made headlines for hiring an official ‘Rat Czar’.

New York City mayor Eric Adams.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JUNE 22: New York City mayoral candidate Eric Adams prepares to speak after voting during Primary Election Day at P.S. 81 on June 22, 2021 in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn borough in New York City. Mayoral candidate and frontrunner Eric Adams voted in a crowded race where recent polls have him leading the pack in a bid to replace Mayor Bill de Blasio. This is the first year in the city for ranked-choice voting, which allows voters to rank their top five candidates. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Although ‘Rat Czar’ is only a nickname for the true title of Director of Rodent Mitigation, the woman appointed has one job: get rid of the rats.

Battling ‘Croc Sized’ Rats

Now residents are taking the matter into their own hands, to battle the “croc sized” rats.


♬ Who Can I Run To – Xscape

The first ever ‘Anti-Rat Day of Action’ took place in Harlem on August 12th. New York’s sanitation department, among others, showed up to teach residents how to keep the pests away.


Rats the size of Crocs?! #harlem #harlemnyc #nyc #newyork #newyorkcity #fyp #rats #rat

♬ Rats the size of crocs – CBS New York

This Harlem local told CBS New York about recent rodent sightings. Most notably, the concerned citizen said, “We’ve had rats the size of Crocs, just running up and down the street.” She continued, “Like a Croc shoe. An average size 8…”

New York City's first "rat czar", Kathleen Corradi.
NEW YORK, UNITED STATES – APRIL 14: Mayor Eric Adams appointed Kathleen Corradi as New York City’s first “rat czar” to combat the persistent rat population. She, along with the city’s top security officials, addressed New Yorkers’ questions during the briefing on “public safety in New York City” in the United States on Friday, April 14, 2023. (Photo by Selcuk Acar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The ‘Rat Czar’, Kathleen Corradi, spoke on her plan to curb the infestation, saying, “Rats need food water and shelter to survive. Today we’re gonna cut off their food source and reduce their habitat.”

Authorities have advised residents to utilize containers to prevent rats from accessing exposed bags, and they have recommended composting to decrease the volume of trash on the streets.


Must have been some great stuff in this garbage to attract sll of these rats ????????????. #rat #rats #animal #wildlife #ratsarepetstoo #ratsareawesome #newyork #nycrats

♬ original sound – Pied Piper of NYC

There is no easy solution to the rat problem in the Big Apple. Old plumbing, subways, and weather conditions make New York City the ideal place to start a rat family. 

Unfortunately, many remain unconvinced. However, a great deal of New Yorkers are hoping the Rat Czar will be able to help wipe the rodents out.

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