The Rat Hunters of New York

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  1. EvilEyeFleegle
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    EvilEyeFleegle Platinum Member

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    I thought this was a great read...

    The Rat Hunters of New York - Narratively - Pocket

    "Staring at a bulging garbage bag resting against a pole in the scaffolding, Reynolds raises his cane just an inch above the ground. Then, with a booming “HO!” he releases Dudley. The terrier shoots into the alley towards a massive pile of garbage bags against a wall. Reynolds waves a hand out to signal Friedenberg, and in the next moment Tanner is streaking down the path too, gaining on Dudley with every step. They jump on top of the mountain of trash, clawing at the bags as their owners run after them.

    Reynolds seizes a plump white bag, spattering droplets of brown liquid against the aging brick. Dudley lunges where the bag had been, as shrill squeaks fill the alleyway. Panting, Dudley emerges from the pile, his jaws wrapped around something that he dragged across the cobblestones. Reynolds grabs the dog by its collar and crouches down beside it.

    “Stop munching on the head,” he says.

    Reynolds stands up slowly, holding his hand up to the light. Dangling from his thumb and forefinger is a limp, lifeless rat, its fur matted with blood.

    ***

    Richard Reynolds is not the “rat guy.” Yes, he has a closer-than-normal connection with rats. Yes, he sees a lot of them, even spends his Friday nights seeking them out. But if you ask him, as many do, he’s not “that rat guy.” He is, he insists, a verminologist— the best verminologist in New York City, he is quick to add.

    But Reynolds knows a lot about rats. He knows that a rat’s gestation period is twenty-three days, its average litter size is ten to twelve, and mortality after birth is about a third. Start with two rats today, he tells me, and you’ll have 24,000 in a year.

    “Its been said that in New York City, you’re never more than thirty feet from a rat,” Reynolds, leader of the Ryder’s Alley Trencher-fed Society (R.A.T.S., for short), said. “If that’s not literally true, then it’s pretty near.”"

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