Rat wars | WORLD
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Rat wars

BY THE NUMBERS | New York City’s surging rat census has city officials looking for a real Pied Piper

Illustration by Krieg Barrie

Rat wars
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The minimum starting salary for New York City’s next director of rodent mitigation, nicknamed the “rat czar” by a city spokesperson. COVID-19 restrictions that spurred prolific outdoor dining led to an increase in street garbage—and also rats. New York City Mayor Eric Adams has renewed efforts against the city’s most persistent four-legged foe.

2 million

The number of rats estimated to live in New York City according to an often-cited 2014 study by former Columbia University statistician Jonathan Auerbach.

$32 million

The cost of rat eradication efforts led by former Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2017. The campaign appears to have had little impact.


The number of young a female rat can give birth to within a year under hospitable conditions, according to the University of Michigan’s Museum of Zoology.


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