Animal Planet has published a list of the "Top 10 Worst Rat Cities in the World," ranking Atlanta in sixth place, beating worthy contenders Paris and London. Ever since bubonic plague
wiped out half of Europe in the Middle Ages, cohabitation between humans and rats has symbolized the end of civilization. While our spot on the list doesn’t exactly portend the Black Death, it does underscore other problems here.
In some cases, placement on the list is rooted in ancient history; Deshnoke, India, for instance, is home to a temple where rats are worshipped. In Atlanta, on the other hand, the staggering rat population is due to a more recent event: the Great Recession. According to Animal Planet, an already high rate of urban poverty, combined with rampant foreclosures, has left an excess of abandoned buildings here, attracting droves of vermin. Rats thrive in overgrown lawns and derelict structures. If this isn’t the beginning of a real-world The Walking Dead, then perhaps the list can at least draw our attention to the ecological effects of prolonged urban abandonment.
- New York City
- New Orleans
- Rat Island, the Aleutians
- Deshnoke, India
Read more about Atlanta and our rat-infested peer cities at Animal Planet.