Recently in Lincoln Park Category

After reading today's column about Chicago's rat troubles, several people have emailed asking to contact "Rat Man" George Manning, who is Chicago's foremost expert on all things rats.

Some people will say Manning is just out to stir up trouble, but that's the farthest thing from the truth. He knows his stuff and wants the city to do more to curb the rat problem They don't call him Rat Man for nothing.

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.

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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