Rats will continue to rule the New York underground, reports the NY Times, as budget cuts, straphangers’ crumbs, and their indomitable fortitude keep them a step ahead of traps and poison.
Says the Times:
Rodents, it turns out, reside inside station walls, emerging occasionally from cracks in the tile to rummage for food. The legend of teeming rat cities tucked deep into subway tunnels is, in fact, a myth. The electrified tracks, scientists said, are far too dangerous.
Not every station has rats, although plenty do. Of 18 stations examined in Lower Manhattan, about half of the subway lines got a fair or poor rating for infestation, meaning they exhibited the telltale culprits — overflowing trash cans, too much track litter — that can lead to a rodent jamboree.
But befitting a creature that has evaded annihilation for centuries, officials found no obvious solutions: poison packets and traps have proved no match for an agile mammal known to be diabolically clever.
“They jump two feet from a running start; they can fall 40 feet onto a concrete slab and keep running,” said Solomon Peeples, 86, a former director of the city’s Bureau of Pest Control Services. “We’re no match for them, as far as I’m concerned. Man does not stand no chance.”