Rats love Paris and its boulangeries

There are four times as many rats as humans in Paris – perhaps eight million in total, according to this BBC article. Watch out New York!

Just in time for the tourist season, Paris is launching a two-month-long, city-wide information advertising campaign in the city, followed by inspections, aiming to reduce the numbers of rats on the streets. Apparently, tourists don’t like to walk past boulangeries at the end of the day and see rats or mice running around inside the shop. Go figure.

The main problem is that Parisians don’t realize that they are actually obliged to fight rats. That is what the campaign is supposed to change. Those who refuse to carry out the recommendations – on cleaning up their area, correctly disposing of rubbish or closing up access holes, for example – face a fines of between 90 and 750 euros ($1200).

My favorite part? Paris’ municipal rat-catching team is nicknamed “Le S.M.A.S.H.”

Rats ravage India, says China

Sometimes, it is fun to read the Chinese The People’s Daily newspaper. Among other entertaining things, I have noticed how they tend to over-report anything bad that’s going on with India. Do I sense a little competition for the world’s best new superpower?

Anyway, so I read in The People’s Daily newspaper that rats ravaged India and a million people face famine as a result of it. Specifically, they write: “Hordes of rats ravaged the forests of Mizoram, India, feasting on the fruits of wild bamboo that flower every 48 years, then ate the region’s entire paddy crop leaving about a million people facing famine, officials and aid agencies said on Monday.”

It gets better. “Their harvest lost to rats, some villagers are now working as daily wage laborers on a World Bank-funded road project. Farmers complained that they found work for only one day a month and earned just a little over 2 U.S. dollars.”

Now, can you believe that? That would NEVER happen in China!

How Many Rats Are There in New York, Exactly?

You have heard these urban legends: You are never more than six feet away from a rat in New York. There are as many as 96 million rats in the city. Even the least conservative reports suggest there are at least 250,000 of them. The truth is nobody knows how many rats there are, but everyone agrees that there is more than enough.

I, personally, don’t mind rats. I think they are kind of cool. They are the essence of what New York is: squirrels stripped down to their most efficient form. Who needs the cute furry tail, really?

Rats get a bad reputation. They are associated with poverty, dirt and disease. The video of rats scurrying around a Taco Bell/KFC in the Village don’t help. People are apparently afraid of rats biting them. Meanwhile, research shows that you are ten times more likely to get bit by a fellow human being. Makes you look at Suzy from Marketing in a whole new light, doesn’t it?