There's a silver lining to virus-related lockdowns in New York City. That is, the rat population is now starving. Just last year, New Yorkers were complaining about rats taking over the city -- now it seems these rodents have food security issues.
An urban rodentologist has told The Wall Street Journal that rats have become hostile and are resorting to cannibalism as food becomes scarce with restaurants closed.
Strict social distancing has confined millions of people to their homes as economic activity has ground to a halt in the city. Businesses have shuttered operations, resulting in cleaner streets and less trash.
"All of a sudden New York City to some degree is cleaner than ever before," said urban rodentologist Bobby Corrigan. "You end up with this group of disoriented, stressed rats foraging about."
Food security has become a significant issue for these rodents, forcing some to migrate to new areas. Corrigan said these scavengers are causing a ruckus among themselves, becoming hangry and causing fights, while some have resorted to cannibalism.
Gil Bloom, president of Standard Pest Management, said rats have been staking out opened restaurants as food choices have become limited during the lockdowns. He said restaurant operators had needed his extermination services as an "influx" of rodents at certain eateries has been seen during the pandemic.
"They have now realized who is serving the midnight buffet," Bloom said. "Those places that are putting out garbage that was secondary targets that are now primary targets."
New York City has had a rat problem for decades. One look, down Manhattan Avenue, in pre-corona times, and the streets were lined with bustling restaurants. In post-corona times, some of those restaurants remain closed, and others may never reopen again, a significant problem for rats.
Plunging economic activity because of virus-related shutdowns poses a significant food security problem for the rat population.
On the brighter side, for everyone complaining about rats in 2019 -- is rat starvation such a bad thing?