No, all the rats in the subway system of NYC didn’t drown during Hurricane Sandy, they have probably just relocated.
Rick Ostfeld of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Study in Millbrook, N.Y. told the Huffington Post:
“Rats are incredibly good swimmers. And they can climb.” Ostfeld added: “Rats are highly social individuals and live in a fairly stable social structure. If this storm disturbs that, rats could start infesting areas they never did before.”
The biggest problem here is that it could increase the risk of infectious disease. According to Huffington Post, urban rats carry several diseases including: leptospirosis, hantavirus, typhus, salmonella, and… the plague. These diseases are not only spread by bite, but are also in rat feces and urine.
And Ostfeld doesn’t think this is something we should take lightly:
“It’s not just about the high winds and rain. A rat disturbance is something we should be concerned about.”
More facts about Rats from Mother Nature Network:
- Rats can climb brick walls, trees, and telephone poles, and walk across telephone lines.
- Rats can safely fall from a height of 50 feet.
- Rats can jump three feet in the air from a flat surface and leap more than four feet horizontally.
- Some species of rats can swim more than a mile in open water, and can tread water for up to three days.
- Some species of rats can travel through sewer pipes and dive through water plumbing traps.
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