NYC Flooded Subway
October 31, 2012 by staff
NYC Flooded Subway, New Yorkers may see an unwanted group of refugees in the wake of Hurricane Sandy – the rats that live in the city’s subway tunnels. As of noon on Tuesday, seven subway tunnels under the East River had flooded due to Hurricane Sandy, and many of the other subterranean lairs the seemingly invincible creatures inhabit were also inundated. That may push the rodent survivors of the deluge onto the New York streets.
“Most of the rats that are living there will actually drown,” said Herwig Leirs, a rodentologist at the University of Antwerp in Belgium.
While rats can swim or float for up to four days, they may get trapped without air in small pipes and crannies as they seek higher ground, Leirs told LiveScience.
The rushing water will also work against them.
“Rats will be carried away by the current and won’t be strong enough to swim to the surface and breathe, or they’ll be pushed to grates, they will get stuck there and they won’t be strong enough to swim against the current,” he said.
Baby rats will perish unless their mothers can carry them to safety, wrote Robert M. Corrigan, a rodentologist who works with the city of New York on its pest problem, in an email. Even those who survive the flooding will be doomed unless they can find a safe shelter with lots of food, he said.
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