Published November 01, 2012
First the flooding...now the rats???
Fears of a "Ratpocolypse" are growing among New York City residents after many of the city's subway tunnels were flooded by superstorm Sandy earlier this week.
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The floodwaters killed thousands of lab rats marooned in basement rooms at a New York University research center in Kips Bay, The New York Times reported.
But what about the hundreds of thousands of rodents who call NYC's maze of underground tunnels home?
While sewer rats are legendary swimmers, a handful of Metropolitan Transit Authority workers told Forbes they believe most of them drowned soon after Sandy's floodwaters breached the subway system.
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A mass rat exodus hasn't been spotted yet, and city officials haven't gotten a flurry of rat reports.
But other experts believe many rats did make it out alive, using the same subway steps people do, and now pose an infection risk as they scrounge for food amid overturned trash bins and flooded grocery stores, National Geographic reported.
"It's not just about the high winds and rain. A rat disturbance is something we should be concerned about," Rick Ostfeld of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Study in Millbrook, New York, told The Huffington Post.
Not convinced either way? Check out reported rat violations yourself using NYC's interactive map and Rat Information Portal.
Oh, and one other thing — watch your cheese.