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.