While rats in New York City are nothing new, reports are indicating that the rat population is increasing around the world. Rats thrive in warmer weather, and due to climate change, the world is getting warmer.
Global warming effects are becoming more apparent every year and as the Earth gets warmer, those consequences will be felt in different ways. One of the biggest effects warmer weather will have is on wildlife. Animals behave differently as the weather changes and warmer weather will benefit some species more than others.
How is Global Warming Increasing The Rat Population
Typically rats will slow down reproduction in the winter months because it is too cold, but that is changing. As winters are getting warmer, the period in which rats can reproduce increases which will naturally lead to higher populations.
However, that is not the only reason why global warming is increasing the rat population. Humans are also more active when it is warmer outside and more human activity means that more waste is produced. Human garbage and leftover food have been feeding the rat population for decades.
Not only are rats reproducing more, but humans are producing more food for them to support their population growth. The increase in rats is not an exclusive New York City problem, but a problem around the world.
Global Warming is Not Under Control
While there is a lot of positive news in regards to the issue, the actions of countries around the world are not always positive. The Emissions Gap Report 2018 revealed that the world is very far off from achieving the Paris Agreements goal. In fact, for the first time in four years, carbon emissions are on the rise.
The goal of the Paris Agreement is to limit global warming to 1.5C by the end of the century. If the world continues on its current path, the Earth’s temperature will rise by 2-5 degrees by the end of the century. At that rate, rats will be reproducing year round.
AreThere Any Other Factors
Absolutely! One of the biggest factors that have been plaguing New York City, has been the waste disposal methods. If you go down an alleyway in the city, you will find trash, a lot of trash and if you go down one that is next to a restaurant, there is going to be a lot of leftover food that feeds the rats.
Leaving food out to feed the rat population is a serious problem, but there are still others. Rats have been in the city for decades and they take full advantage of the paths left by their ancestors. Old buildings and houses already have holes in them that support rats and unless their owners decide to start closing them, they will always have easy access.
An Increase in Rats Can Lead to More Diseases
It’s no secret that rats are very far from the pinnacle of cleanliness, but the diseases they carry can be deadly. In 2017, a rat related death was recorded and while this is rare, the odds will only increase as the number of rats continues to increase.
Of course, you don’t need to get attacked by a rat to be infected by a disease. Rats travel through buildings all the time and sadly, they get into restaurants and food prep areas. Just like any other living creature, rats leave behind their own waste in these areas, which can contaminate the entire area.
Thankfully, NYC conducts a lot of rat inspections and all of the data they find can be found online for public viewing.
What Can We Do
Rat population control and removal are taken very seriously in NYC and millions are spent every year to exterminate and increase safety measures. Unfortunately, none of these measures will fix an increased reproduction cycle caused by warmer winters.
Any work done to combat these rodents will end in failure as they continue to breed faster than they are removed. The biggest change that needs to happen can come in the form of fighting climate change.
Using less energy at home, driving less, and recycling are some of the easiest things anyone can do, but they have a huge impact when everyone participates.