NYC unleashes new weapon in war on rats: buckets of alcohol

Photo: johnandersonphoto (iStock)

I was born, raised, and spent 86% of my adult life in Brooklyn, which means I am more than familiar with New York City’s rat-control oeuvre. During most of the 1980s, it was understood that the rats were in full control of the city, as NYC had closed out the previous decade with a woman being attacked by a marauding gang of vicious rats. They’re still around, of course, but the city now has a new tool in its rat-fighting arsenal: booze.

Before we get there, though, let’s explore rats’ rich history in New York. In the 1990s, future MTA chairman Joe Lhota was named “Rat Czar”, heading up the new Rodent Task Force created by former mayor and sentient gargoyle Rudy Giuliani. It seemed as if the rat population decreased in the aughts, likely because my neck of south Brooklyn was invaded by aggressive, mammoth-sized possums who feasted on rat meat and threatened to eat our small children and elderly as well. The rampant gentrification of the past decade has ushered in a new reign of rat terror, as high-rise construction digs up their centuries-old network of burrows, forcing the rats up into the streets to seek revenge.

Now, on the verge of the 2020s, CNN reports the city is deploying a new plan, and it involves alcohol. A fleet of new carnival dunk tank-inspired traps will be rolled out across Brooklyn’s most infested neighborhoods. The Ekoville Rodent Control System emits a wafting scent of rotting food which coaxes rats into climbing an adorable little ladder up to a platform where, instead of tasty rat snacks, they come face to face with the jaws of doom. Upon entering, the rats trip a sensor which releases a trap door, plummeting the poor bastards into a bucket full of a non-toxic, alcoholic substance, where they drown. This brilliantly scored video explains it all:

Each trap conceals a bucket that can hold up to 80 dead rats, which can easily be carted away for disposal by someone who is not paid nearly enough to do that job.

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About the author

Allison Robicelli

Allison Robicelli is The Takeout staff writer, a former professional chef, host of The Robicelli Argument Clinic Podcast, the author of three books, and a swan meat influencer.