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Big City Rats And How To Get Rid Of Them

A Norway rat shot with a pellet gun in the alley behind University Book Store in Seattle. There are more rats in Seattle, and warmer climate means a longer breeding period -- and therefore more rats. (Mike Kane/KUOW)
A Norway rat shot with a pellet gun in the alley behind University Book Store in Seattle. There are more rats in Seattle, and warmer climate means a longer breeding period -- and therefore more rats. (Mike Kane/KUOW)

Many U.S. cities have a rat problem. Besides freaking most people out, the rodents also devour food supplies or contaminate what they don’t eat. Rats also spread harmful viruses and bacteria, and they can eat through almost any obstacle in pursuit of a meal or a safe haven to breed.

Seattle ranks high on the list of cities with a big rat problem. Households there are more than twice as likely to report rat sightings than the national average.

Reporter Ashley Ahearn (@aahearn) from EarthFix at KUOW in Seattle tells us why the city has so many rats, and one way the city is trying to control them.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.