What's the last thing you'd want to find in your apartment? A rat. Even worse than that? A lot of rats. But what if there was a way to turn your rat infestation suffering into cold, hard cash? If you're living in NYC, you're in luck.
It's a known fact that New York City has a serious rat problem. It's estimated there are at least two million rats scurrying around the city, and they don't all live in the "wilderness" of Central Park. These rats are basically the Rat Kings of the city, but they won't be for much longer. Scientists and researchers are trying to figure out how these rats operate in hopes it might curb their rat behavior. In return, they're offering to pay up to $1,000 to people and businesses who have rat infestations inside their buildings. That could cover, say, two weeks rent? Great, great.
Long live the Rat Kings.
Researchers Are Paying $1,000 To Learn About Rat Behavior
Researchers from the US and Australia teamed up to tackle this rat study. The main question? What are rats even about? Specifically, what influences their behaviors, and why do they choose to live where they live? "City rats are among the most important but least-studied wildlife in urban environments," researchers told the Journal of Urban Ecology.
But to study city rats is easier said than done. Researchers needed access to rat-infested places, and to entice people to offer up their homes and businesses, they offered to pay $1,000. And, as an added bonus, once they were done studying the rats, they would give you a free extermination.
Guess What? Rats Run NYC Now
In their initial research, scientists found rats truly do run the city. Specifically, rats adapt well to living with humans and can outsmart people in close proximity. Another huge problem is that people aren't willing to admit they have a rat problem, because, well – that would be admitting they have rats.
This means rats can take over small spaces – pilfering food and carrying disease – and get out of hand really quickly. And, in New York City, they're out of control. Researchers estimate there are two million rats living in the city, and the problem is only getting worse. That's why researchers believe a monetary offering will allow people to be more forthright about their rats, and it will give researchers a better understanding of how they move around, how they thrive, and what – if anything – humans can do to curb their proliferation.
We Don't Know A Lot About City Rats Because No One Has Ever Really Studied Them
We know a lot about rats – but we don't know a lot about city rats. The habits of rats in urban populations are not as well known because scientists don't have easy access to them. This makes them a less than desirable object of study, and, until this most recent study, no one has set out to track the movements of city rats.
"We neglect to study them at our own peril," said Michael H. Parsons, lead author on the NYC rat study and a Fordham University researcher. "No war has ever decimated one third of the human population. Rats have."