There is nothing to fear except fear itself. And rats.

I have never heard any human scream the way my husband does when he sees a rat. I like to save my fear-based anxieties for parties that have a dress code. He, however, fears rats. This kind of fear isn’t easy for a man that lives in Chicago. Which, by the way, surpasses NYC and LA for the title of “rattiest” city in the USA. CongRATS!

I always joked about this fear until I actually researched city rats. Then the laughter stopped and the dramatic gasps began.

Through all of my reading I learned one valuable lesson:

There is nothing to fear, except city rats — definitely fear city rats. They will outlive us all or take us down with them.

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Ready to learn more? Heeerrre we go!

Quick rat-stats

Average Weight: 8.1 ounces
Average Lifespan: Two years
Main Type Found In Cities: Brown rat
Scientific Name: Rattus norvegicus
Freak Of Nature?: Absolutely.

Let’s really sink our teeth into this.

Thank you for bringing up teeth. Rat’s teeth are stronger than copper or iron. They grow 4.5 to 5.5 inches every year. In order to keep them whittled down they chew on everything. I mean everything, from lead pipes to electrical wires. Because of all this chewing, rats cause an estimated 8% of household fires every year.

Even worse — rats ate my Barbies when I was a kid. I’m not ready to talk about it.

What happens if I get bitten by a rat?

In the spirit of not causing alarm — if you get bitten by an uninfected rat, all you’ll get is a little blood and a great party story. However. If you’re bitten by an infected rat you could contract Rat Bite Fever. Then you could experience complications including, but not limited to, Diarrhea, Vomiting, Arthritis, and/or Fever. You may be thinking “out of all of those I’ll take the fever.” Don’t. Don’t do that. The fever could be recurrent for years to come. All of this from a rat bite.

Am I safe in my house?

No. Nowhere is safe. They can and will climb up your toilet pipes. There’s probably ten in your toilet right now.* As shown in this video made by National Geographic, rats using their long claws to maneuver up toilet pipes is just another day at the office for them. Also, FUN FACT — rats can tread water for up to three days. They can survive on just an ounce of food and water a day. Meaning they could easily move in and enjoy your toilet for three days.

Now you might be thinking “there’s no food in my toilet.” That’s a great thought, but it’s simply not true. Rats are known to eat anything — even their own feces. Have you checked your toilet yet?

*This is a fear-based statement and not at all science.

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Tell us about ‘Sex and the City’ rats.

You got it! Rats become sexually mature by the ripe age of three months. A female rat can produce a litter of five to seven pups or kittens every couple of months. That’s right. Baby rats are called pups and kittens. A real slap in the face to cute baby animals everywhere. Anyways? Where was I? Oh yes! Rats having sex! There’s no need to get graphic, but know this: Rats have sex and they do it a lot. In fact, a male rat isn’t necessarily worried about whether or not his partner is even alive. Ah, romance.

Ok. We’ve had enough.

Nope. Nobody leaves.

Rats can fall 50 feet and land unharmed.


They started the Bubonic Plague.

Okay! We fear rats!

Thank you. That’s all you had to say. Now, as a reward here’s a fun photo of #pizzarat. Bye!

National Report