Rats are living large in tony Philly neighborhood
PHILADELPHIA — Since Barbara Freedman moved to the exclusive Rittenhouse Square area two years ago, she's increasingly found herself running into an unexpected neighbor at the park: Rats.
Freedman and others who live near the Center City park, or visit it, say they've been sighting the vermin more frequently. City officials acknowledge the problem and say efforts have been taken to curb the square's rat population.
“I think it's horrifying,” Freedman said. She said she frequently spots the critters on the northeast end of the park, near the trash cans and bushes at 18th and Walnut streets.
“I never realized that this would be in my neighborhood,” she said.
Sitting in one of the city's wealthiest neighborhoods, blocks around the six-acre park contain a wide range of shops and eateries.
An influx of rats at the park was first noticed in late spring. Since then, the city has cleaned the ground under all 60 trash cans at the square. Trash pickup has increased. Garbage cans now have metal liners, after vermin destroyed the existing plastic ones. Bait is being put in burrows more frequently, and officials say the dead rats are being removed and the holes closed quickly.
“I think we're making very significant strides,” said Mark Focht, first deputy commissioner for the Department of Parks and Recreation. He said the city is aware of the rise in rat sightings.
Oddly enough, the success of Rittenhouse could be part of the problem.
Rittenhouse “has historically been more problematic with rats” than other parts of the city, Focht said, in part due to the number of restaurants and Dumpsters — which make it easy for rats to find food — in the area.
Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the National Pest Management Association, said measures like regular garbage removal and trash cans with metal liners and tight-fitting lids can help control the pest population. It's also important to educate people to throw away trash instead of littering, she said.
Rittenhouse-area residents say they most commonly see the creatures in the early morning and evening hours, though they're increasingly sighted in daylight.
Jordan David Fennimore, an artist who has lived in Philadelphia for 16 years, says he's seen a marked increase in rodents at the park this summer.
“It kind of worries me,” Fennimore said. “Why is there a rise in rats?”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Corbett to speak about hunt for suspect in state trooper ambush
- Gas industry remedies ‘brain drain’ in Western Pennsylvania
- State Dems take back seat to political committee in gubernatorial election
- Pa. transportation system ranks 41st in nation, study shows
- Ambush suspect’s rifle found
- Search for trooper ambush suspect centers on dense woods
- Pa. judge identified who denied Trib request to view sexually explicit emails circulated in AG’s Office
- Manchin, Toomey to seek greater flexibility for veterans’ career counselors
- Pennsylvania teachers sue union over nonmember fee donations
- Judge lifts order blocking racy state emails