According to a recent report by BlackandBrownNews.com, Jose Rivera, an employee of the NYC Housing Authority, speared a giant rat as three of the monster rodents attempted to escape a rat hole he was clearing. Rivera speared it with a wide-flanged pitchfork, holding his trophy up for a cell-phone picture. The other two got away. The rat hole, one of several at the famous Marcy Houses, a famous sprawling public house project in Brooklyn with over 1,700 units. The rat was over 3 feet long with the tail and over two pounds, significantly larger than the standard wild rats, many of the Norway rats, that inhabit the city.
In interviews with BBN, residents declined to be named for fear of reprisals from property managers or NYCHA officials. However, they reported that the rat problem at Marcy Houses has been an ongoing battle for years, though the sightings of these mutant rats is relatively recent. Residents reported that, “In one day eight big size rats were killed." “They come out at night and the daytime,” said another. Yet another resident reported an instant in which an infestation of average-sized rats swarmed a playground in the middle of the afternoon. “Adults had to grab children and run because a lot of rats came on the playground," a resident reported, "The kids were screaming.”
Many of the residents blame poor management of the properties, but also blame specific residents that do not follow trash-disposal policies, leaving bags of garbage outside where rats feast on the contents rather than dropping them down designated garbage chutes. BBN contacted the local Wildlife Conservation Society, that said that the rat was likely a Gambian Pouched Rat, which were imported as pets, but have been banned for nearly ten years after an outbreak of monkey-pox sickened 100 New Yorkers. Another possibility, a veteran exterminator reported, was that it is simply a very large wild rat. Identifying it by its nose, tail, ears, and feet, the exterminator said it's possible for them to grow that large in areas where there are no predators and is not, "targeted and sustained extermination treatment." Rumors of these massive rats abounded during the excavation and construction at the Ground Zero site.
In addition to the many nuisances presented by rat infestations, there are major implications for public health, including a wide variety of disease carried by the vermin. The NYCHA released a statement in response to BBN's report, stating that an exterminator had been there to treat the property. "Our contractor treated the basements and grounds," the statement read, "at Marcy Houses for rodents during the period of June 10th through July 7th. NYCHA exterminators recently treated all basements and grounds at Marcy Houses on August 1st, 5th and 11th. When we treat our developments, notices are posted throughout the property.”