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Tales Of Rat Hoarders You'll Wish Weren't True

Updated September 23, 2021 29.9k views13 items

There is hardly a sound anyone fears as much as the scratching of rats from inside the walls of your home. Even one rat can spell disaster for your pantry, but some rat hoarders invite the putrid outcome of an infestation by allowing their house to fill with detritus like old magazines and newspapers while leaving food out for their rodent roommates to eat. These true rat hoarding stories are among some of the most disgusting tales you’ll read all day.

Many rat hoarders begin as normal people who just buy a couple of rats as pets. They let the creatures roam the house, unchecked, and before they know it their house is filled with hundreds, if not thousands of scurrying, disease-ridden pests. Hoarding rats isn’t just bad for you, it can be bad for the animals. When they run out of food they begin to eat each other and before you know it your home is infested with mindless, cannibal vermin.

  • Photo: Liesel Elliott / flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

    The Twin Rat Hoarders Of Los Angeles

    Two shut in sisters turned the Pacific Palisades - a sublime, ocean front Los Angeles, CA, neighborhood - into a haven for vermin in the early 2000s when they grew too old to care for cats and dogs, and began to take in rats off the street. 

    The Barthel sisters were a set of animal loving twins who never married. Instead they locked themselves up in their palatial estate and began to feed the rats that bred freely throughout their home. When a hazmat team was finally called in to clear the house of the throbbing hoard of rats they calculated that in any given year there were close to 2,500 rats scurrying through the house. 

    Once the team was finally able to clear the bedroom, kitchen, and guestroom, they were tasked with hauling out bag after bag filled with the carcasses of hundreds of dead rats. 

  • Photo: moominsean / flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    Rats Fill Up A Wisconsin Trailer Home

    In 2013, Darlene Flatoff's Wisconsin trailer filled with an infestation of around 300 rats after she purchased a few domesticated creatures from a local pet store. Shortly after bringing them home, Flatoff allegedly allowed them to freely lived as they pleased. Many of her neighbors claim they often saw the woman kissing the rats, to which she responded, "They don’t have diseases. They’re sweet little babies." 

    After authorities were able to investigate the situation they also found that Flatoff had been improperly disposing of sewage, but they admitted there wasn't much they could do about the rats. According to the Huffington Post Flatoff maintained her rat collection after the investigation. 

  • Photo: Andy Polaine / flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    The Man With Thousands Of Rats

    One of the most memorable episodes of the A&E series Hoarders involved a man named Glen who allowed nearly 2,500 rats to roam freely throughout his home. After his wife died he began collecting rats and his "collection" soon grew out of control. 

    Glen's rats were a domestic breed but that doesn't make this huddled mass of vermin any less disgusting. There were so many rats that they began to fight and injure each other. One rat was so severely bitten its intestines were ripped out through its genitals. The rats had not only become a health hazard to Glen, but they were now at war with themselves. 

    Thanks to A&E Glen was able to clean up his home and donate all but one of his rats to homes and shelters.

  • Photo: novocainstain / flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    This Woman Was Pushed Out Of Her Home By Rats

    On a 2013 episode of TLC's Hoarding: Buried Alive, a woman named Michelle was shown "living" in her Tacoma, WA, home with piles of dirty dishes and thousands of rats. They ran the home as if it belonged to them, eating and leaving droppings where ever they pleased. 

    Before long Michelle was evicted from her home and given 30 days to get out before new investors took over the house. As she found herself homeless, the new investors discovered the new home they had purchased was populated by rats who weren't willing to give up their residence.

    Exterminators were called in to take care of the rat nest and found a close-knit community of creatures living in the home. Dennis Day told Today: "We pulled out big rats, small rats, medium-sized rats, spiders, and a bevy of other little flying creatures. And, of course, a possum."