As we noted earlier this month, New York City's rat problem is so out-of-control that the city is willing to pay someone nearly $200,000 to lead the war effort against the rodents.
Yet one soldier with decades of experience is warning that the fight is already lost:
Ernie Schicchi thinks like a rat.
And it's a valuable way to think right now, with New York City so overridden with rodents that Mayor Adams wants to appoint a "rat czar" to clean up the place.
Having spent 27 years in pest control — and focused on rats for the last 15 — Schicchi understands the rodent mindset. The bad news for humans, the 50-year-old from Freehold, NJ, told The Post, is that "rats are very smart, very resourceful and they learn very quickly." ...
"New York City will not win," Schicchi said of the war being waged against the rodents. "Too much has to happen everywhere at once. The rats are going to win."
This is emphatically not the kind of thing that the city government wants to hear right now.
But man oh man, the way Schicchi tells it, these rats are almost unstoppable:
"They are underground dwellers and live in sewers; they love anything that is linear. If you pull up a NYC street, you see it's all linear with sewer pipes, cable wires, electrical lines. They end up where the lines and pipes are abandoned, usually in front of houses. They like to dig and often surface through tree pits," he added. ...
"When you have a rat family and the pups become teenagers, they get kicked out by the dominant male. The dominant male will continue fathering litters — female rats usually give birth to around five babies every 21 days — and keep the offspring alive as long as there is enough food to go around," Schicchi said. "If there isn't, the mother or father bites the babies and kills the litter to prevent a shortage of food. They have no issues about being around their dead offspring — or eating them if need be." ...
"Their teeth are rated between steel and iron," said Schicchi. "They can chew through concrete."