Oh, rats: How bad are they in your 'hood?

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I went out on a rat hunt with the Mayor Daley's Dumpster Task Force, you've probably seen these rat hunters on the TV news. When someone reports overflowing Dumpsters behind your favorite restaurant or grocery, the rat patrol checks it out, inspects the inside of the restaurant, searches for rat holes in alleys and fills them with rat poison. We were in Uptown, behind an African grocery. I saw a squirrel — which is pretty much a rat with good PR — climb out of a trash bin, but no rats.
The rat hunters seem like good people doing what they're told, and claim to be decreasing he rat population. Their mantra is: "If rats can't eat, rats can't breed." And we can win the rat war by picking up after your dog and keeping your trash bin lid closed, rats will starve to death.

But "Rat Man" George Manning says that's all propaganda. He insists rats are winning. He says rats use the sewer system as a superhighway and supermarket. He says rats are living in burrowed mansions under the street and could cause cave-ins that swallow your Jetta.

Or at the very least, scare you while walking the dog at dusk. That's when rats start to scurry around for food and sex.

Here's where you tell me your rat tales. How bad are rats in our neighborhood.

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Rats aren't bad here in Pullman on the South Side. Instead, we are overrun by stray cats. They seem to keep the rat population in check.

However, Lincoln Park on the North Side is another story. The Wife and I went to school at DePaul. I remember one of our first dates we were walking back to campus from a movie or bar (more likely a bar).

We were walking past an alley on Lincoln Avenue known for rats and piles of drunken barf. Just as we walked by a rat came rushing out onto the sidewalk. It scurried under her foot. As she stepped forward, the rat rolled under her shoe like those hot dogs roll under a truck-stop heat lamp.

The whole ordeal must have broken the rat's leg because all it could do was push itself around in circles in the middle of the sidewalk. She turned and saw the rodent piroette and leapt into the air. I could see the shivers running down her spine.

Pretty gross.

Howard Ludwig

Mark, I was just reading your article about the "Rat Man" and I truly believe what he is saying. My neighborhood is infested with rats. I live on Cermak and Spaulding and these alley rats are huge. It's like at night, they own the streets. Is there anyway he could come in our area and do something. We see these signs on the lightpoles saying rodent control, but the rodent's are in contol.


This article was pertinent to me. We have rats on the back of our property that we have been fighting for 3 years. We live in Lakeview. In spite of frequent baiting by the city, and may personal efforts [bombs, bait, cement in their holes] to rid ourselves of these rodents, they continue to live and thrive. It is disgusting. I am wondering what we have to do to win the war. Is Mr. Manning aware of some techniques that the city refuses to use? Can he be contacted at his place of employment? I am completely at a loss as to what else to try and would love to see a follow up piece on what the home owner can do to be rid of rats!!! Or I would love to contact Mr. Manning and see if he or his company can help us. Is there a contact for him?

The rat problem in Chicago will never go away. I have to accept that when, no one does anything to get these illegal basement and attic apartments and now garage apartments where garbabe overflows in the alley's and the smell will just make you sick.

One of the biggest rat problems are at the railroads. The hills along the railroad, where now its warming up, you will find high weeds that will never get cut and all the garbage along the railroads will never get cleaned.

The city should hire more laborers and place in Rodent Control, instead of placing more supervisors in that Bureau. Also, hire more more city Streets and Sanitation Inspectors.

Someone should ask why has the city not hired "Refuse Collection Coordinators" 15, I was told that is on the Budget since January 2007.

For god's sake, place the bids and lets get these inspector's out their in these infested wards and clean up Chicago's neighborhoods.

Ratt had 3 really good albums in the early 80's.

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Mark Konkol

Mark Konkol covers city neighborhoods for the Chicago Sun-Times. You can e-mail him or call (312) 321-2146.

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This page contains a single entry by Mark Konkol published on April 27, 2007 8:42 AM.

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