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Restaurants might be closed, but at least we have cannibal rats

Illustration for article titled Restaurants might be closed, but at least we have cannibal rats
Photo: John Downer (Getty Images)

We might as well get right to the point: Marauding gangs of rats have taken to the streets in search of food. Things have gotten so serious that the CDC has taken precious time away from their COVID-19 work to issue a warning about the rodents, because when rats get hungry, they’ll do anything they need to do to find a meal.

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During normal times, rats usually get their groceries from restaurant dumpsters, public trash cans, airports, and wherever else fine garbage is sold. But now, in our unprecedented times, rats are dealing with food shortages, just like us. Not only are they unable to find flour and yeast, they also cannot find... well, anything. With restaurants and other trash-generating, dumpster-filling businesses shuttered amidst the COVID-19 crisis, the rat clans that have built a thriving society beneath our own have been thrust into famine. According to the CDC, “Some jurisdictions have reported an increase in rodent activity as rodents search for new sources of food.” That is, groups of rats have been spotted wandering the streets in cities nationwide, from bustling metropolises to suburban strip malls, demonstrating unusually aggressive behavior.

When their food supply collapses, rats can turn to extreme and Swiftian measures, such as eating their young and cannibalizing other rat populations. The CDC is urging Americans to eliminate any conditions that may attract rodents; measures include putting lids on garbage cans and keeping the backyard bird feeders to a minimum. Even if the rats (which are surprisingly intelligent animals!) don’t organize within their ranks to rise up and punish humans for centuries of rodenticide, they are still a threat to mankind, as they are quite famous for spreading disease. Considering how insane the news cycle has been in recent months, would any of us really be surprised if we had to deal with coronavirus and the Black Death at the same exact time?

Allison Robicelli is The Takeout staff writer, a former professional chef, author of three books, and The People's Hot Pocket Princess. Questions about recipes/need cooking advice? Tweet @Robicellis.

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DISCUSSION

ubercultute
uberculture

Can confirm rodent activity is exploding.  I added more mouse traps/death hotels to my basement just this weekend, and as much as I love squirrels, the havoc they’re wreaking with my planting beds has me considering a Red Ryder BB gun.  I have more chipmunks around my house than I’ve ever seen, and the baby rabbits are everywhere.