Rat Trapping in Hudson River Park with Jason Munshi-South

Here we go! Or and I accompanied Jason Munshi-South on a Rat Trapping adventure in Hudson River Park. We were joined by two of his students and a British film crew making a documentary about the ways that animals are mutating in response to man-made changes to the environment. Apparently there are some NY rats that have developed a resistance to rat poison. Let’s just call them SUPER-RATS!

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You should wear dainty gloves when rat trapping.

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Or not so dainty gloves just in case one of the rats is still alive.

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Our location is very close to a baseball diamond and a dog park. As Jason tells the film crew (below), rats love human scraps and can eat dog poo, so this is an ideal spot.

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Jason is half-scientist, half-storyteller. A big part of his job is interfacing with a curious public about his work.

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Here are some curious Upper-West Siders! If only they knew the community that they actually live amongst!

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Here’s what a trap looks like, kind of inconspicuous. Inside is space for bait (they are using newspaper-nesting material- and food) and the plastic snap trap that yes, will kill the rat. The parks department told Jason that if he was going to trap the rats, he might as well kill them.

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Beneath these huge leaves are large holes that lead to the rats’ burrows. I had a dream about these after going rat trapping. It was not a great dream, but it was not a bad dream either.

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Here’s the one rat that they caught for the day. Rats are surprisingly hard to catch as they are very street savvy. Jason says that they like peanut butter the best and actually will go for healthier foods when given the option.

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Here is the mama rat that they trapped. After weighing it, taking a bit of the tail and a toe for genetic sampling, the rat gets disposed of unceremoniously. I thought I would be completely nauseated by the rat, but I just felt very sad, maybe because this one was a mamma.

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