Shocking video showed what appeared to be more than a dozen rats scurrying away from underneath a homeless person’s blanket in a New York City subway.
The video shared on TikTok by @six4bk718 showed a blanket against the wall toward the end of a subway platform.
From afar, it appeared that there was a person sleeping underneath the blanket, but not only that, a few rats were seen scurrying away.
The person recording the video approached the blanket and called out to the person underneath. When the person began to stir and lift the blanket, over a dozen rats ran out from underneath.
FILE - Still image taken from video where over a dozen rats scurried out from underneath a homeless person's blanket. (TikTok @six4bk718)
3.2 million rat sightings reported in NYC in 2023
Rats are a top public concern along with crime, homelessness and exorbitant rents.
In 2023, residents have called in almost 3.2 million rat sightings to the city's 311 service request line, just shy of the record number of complaints in 2021.
To combat the city’s rat problem, New York City Mayor Eric Adams introduced a new Rat Czar in April 2023 and even changed trash pickup times.
"Rats are smart, they are resilient," said Adams. "Many of us live in communities where rats think they run the city."
No traps nor poisonous bait have fully succeeded in reducing their numbers. Rats have thrived in subway tunnels and burrows within empty lots and city parks.
"Rats have proven to be one of the most formidable opponents that humans have faced. Here in New York City, we’re locked in a constant battle," said Councilmember Erik Bottcher, whose district includes Times Square.
In November 2023, New York City implemented a new carbon monoxide treatment with hopes of "smoking" out the rodents, FOX 5 New York reported.
The approach is in contrast to some efforts by animal-rights advocates in Paris, where there could be more rats than its 2.2 million people, perhaps twice as many, according to some estimates.
Ongoing battle with NYC rats
It’s not the first time a New York mayor has appointed a rat czar. Rudy Giuliani anointed one of his deputy mayors to handle the job — although Corradi will be the city's first director of rodent mitigation.
During his time in office, Giuliani established a task force, which spawned a boot camp called the "rodent academy" that still produces cadres of foot soldiers hoping to vanquish the city's army of rats.
Former Mayor Bill de Blasio budgeted more than $30 million in his own failed bid to conquer rats. One plan relied on dry ice to suffocate rats in their burrows. It proved comedic at one demonstration for journalists when workers chased — but never caught — one of the fleeing vermin.
"Everyone tried," Adams said, acknowledging the city's noble efforts — and ultimate failures.
"We needed someone that was going to put all the pieces together and all the players together to coordinate this entire symphony of fighters. We needed a maestro."
The Associated Press and FOX 5 New York contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.