Within every major city, there’s a hidden
population. Each day is a struggle for survival, but these
inhabitants have perfected the art. They’re unstoppable, indestructible, and
cities can’t seem to solve the problem no matter what they do. Oh Rats! No really, I mean rats — how on Earth do
they manage to thrive so well? The first question is, why are these rodents
the undesirables of the world? Well, every year, they devour a significant
portion of crops worldwide and are a threat to native wildlife and public health! Meeting one of them in the subway, or, even
scarier, in your own toilet, will unlikely bring you much joy. It’s no surprise huge cities have tried
different methods to get rid of them, and I’ll tell you about the most creative ones
a bit later. But for now, here’s a tip of the hat to
their incredible survival skills! Their biggest asset is their numbers. In New York City alone, there’s possibly
10 million rats, but some estimates put it up to 30 million! And those numbers grow exponentially. One mother rat can have 8 to 12 babies every
30 days if there’s enough food, water, and shelter. If you do some simple rat math, you’ll see
that one couple can have 144 babies each year. Those rat babies can have their own offspring
when they turn 2 or 3 months old. Add the amount their babies and grandbabies
can produce, and you’ll get an empire of 15,000 descendants from one rat couple in
a year! Multiply that by all the rat families in the
city, and the numbers skyrocket to the unimaginable. Besides that, they can eat just about anything. All the trash in the city makes it the perfect
real estate for rodents. They can climb brick walls, trees, and telephone
poles. They can walk over electric lines, get through
holes the size of a quarter, dive into plumbing systems, and walk away unscathed from a 5-story
tumble. Their teeth grow about 4 inches a year, so
they need something to gnaw on. Again, urban living has plenty of materials
for that! Finally, and most importantly, they’re very
intelligent. Plenty of studies show that rats can even
use tools. When they find some new food, they only take
a tiny bite first to wait and see if it’s safe or not. Hey there’s always winner in the Rat Race! Plus, they can even develop resistance to
different substances used against them. So, the struggle is real when it comes to
ridding the city of them. Now, remember, rats aren’t total villains. They’re just doing what any species is meant
to do: survive and multiply. Unfortunately for us, living near humans makes
that goal easier to carry out. Hoping to prove they can’t really be invincible,
New York City started a $32 million anti-rat campaign in 2017. They replaced traditional trash cans with
the ones that have mailbox-style openings. This would deprive rats of their favorite
food source. The attempt hasn’t been that successful
so far… 10 years before that, Brooklyn officials tried
a more extravagant solution. They let some opossums run wild and free in
local parks, hoping they’d lower the rat population. To their surprise, the opossums preferred
to keep peace with the rats and feasted on gardens and trash instead! So, soon enough, possums became the new problem! In Chicago, they went even further and let
coyotes roam the city streets! This was part of a research project to see
how the animals survive and behave in the city. Coyotes are natural hunters, so they won’t
take food that comes easily from a dumpster – they’d rather track down rats instead! And, to answer your question – no, the canines
haven’t been in any coyote vs. human incidents. And, no, they haven’t solved the rat issue
yet… In Paris, where there are about 4 rats for
every human, the “Le Smash” campaign takes place every spring. Special teams disinfect public spaces like
parks, and people take care of their own homes and businesses. The officials even encourage citizens to “ratatouille”
on their neighbors who don’t take good care of their trash and, thus, feed the rodents. They also have an interactive rat map and
hotline to inform of mass sightings. Since none of these solutions have worked
so far, I guess it’s fair enough to say you’re never more than 6 feet from a rat
in some places. Does that sound accurate for where you live? Let me know down in the comments! And while we’re here, let’s bust some
common pest urban legends! “Rats are dirty and smelly.” Rats might not smell like your favorite perfume
because they live in a pretty filthy environment. But they aren’t any dirtier than other animals. Anyone who’s had pet rats will know that
they spend more than half their day cleaning themselves and their pals! Yeah, just like cats! “They’re wild animals bent on survival.” Sure, they’re good at avoiding being wiped
out, but there’s a lot more to rats than you’d think. Like, that they feel empathy! Japanese researchers offered them an uneasy
choice: one door led to a chocolate treat, and the other allowed them to save their trapped
friend. Most of the rats, especially those who’d
previously been trapped themselves, chose their friends over food! Wow. “Cheese is the best bait for mice traps.” Because mice love cheese, right? Well, sure, mice will eat pretty much anything
you give them. But cheese isn’t the best choice as a bait. If you’re looking for a better alternative,
something sweet, like dried foods or peanut butter, will do much better than dairy. “Pests don’t live in clean homes.” You might see pests as something that automatically
comes with a filthy home, but they aren’t solely attracted to dust and grime. They’re looking for shelter, food, and water
to start nesting – they can find all that in a spotless home too! So make sure you don’t leave open food anywhere
in your house. Instead, cut off their access to it, and they’ll
be less tempted to live with you. “Adult moths can mess up your wardrobe.” If you open your closet and see adult moths
fly out, don’t panic. Your wool, cashmere, and silk are fine as
long as they haven’t laid larvae in there yet. The larvae are the real problem because they
need the keratin in those natural materials to grow big and strong. Sachets filled with dried lavender, mint leaves,
or peppermint oil will prevent them from doing so. Also, moths aren’t great fans of cedar dressers
and wardrobes. “Bees can only sting once.” When a bee stings someone in the room, and
you think you and others are safe now since it only does it once, don’t let your guard
down so easily. Only honey bees sting just once. Other bees, wasps, and hornets can sting repeatedly,
so watch out! “Boiling water will help you get rid of
ants.” Nope, that’s just cruel and ineffective. It won’t do anything to solve your ant infestation
because the queen and the rest of the colony will remain somewhere else untouched. If you mix vinegar and water in a 50/50 ratio
in a spray bottle and clean the floors, windows, and countertops with it, the whole colony
will probably pack up and move somewhere else. “Fleas need a host to survive.” Fleas can live up to 155 days without any
food source whatsoever. They’ll do fine even in a totally deserted
home! “If you can’t see them, they aren’t
anywhere near.” Even if your house looks pest-free, it doesn’t
mean they aren’t there. Termites and carpenter ants hide and feast
inside the walls. Bed bugs are active at night, so you won’t
see them during the day. To be sure you don’t have unwanted little
roommates, you might have to spend some extra money on pest inspections – it’s worth
it, though! “A bug zapper will get them all, including
mosquitos!” Well, here’s the buzz on that. No, it won’t. Mosquitos aren’t attracted to light. They, like a lot of biting insects, use their
sense of smell to detect a food source. (More specifically, the carbon dioxide you
release with each exhale!) You might’ve zapped a mosquito or two in
one of those things, but, overall, they’re useless against these and many other insects. Finally, there’s this about rats. If you spell “rats” backwards, you get
“star”. So does that mean that rats come from outer
space, because Mickey Mouse was a Star? Only if you’re a conspiracy theorist. Sometimes, rats are just rats. And before you write something, yes, Mickey
was a mouse. Hey, if you learned something new today, then
give the video a like and share it with a friend! And here are some other cool videos I think
you’ll enjoy. Just look to the left or right, and choose
one. And remember: stay on the Bright Side of life!