City Rat, Country Rat

1221228818The Globe has been at the forefront of city-focused rat journalism for a while now, and as we all know, there’s nothing newspapers loves more than reporting about mundane problems afflicting the fabulously wealthy. (It’s surprising because it’s ironic! Get it!?). So today the broadsheet investigates the vermin problems in Nantucket, that magical land of lobster-print pants and cocktail hours.

Which made us wonder—would we be more disturbed by a rat in Boston, or a rat on Nantucket?

Water Terror
Boston: In a 2007 story, a writer described disassembling the corpse of a dead rat to get it out of her washing machine. The image still comes to us in our nightmares.

Nantucket: Families who want to feed the ducks at Consue Spring are warned not to, since the rats also benefit from their generosity. Everything is definitely not ducky.

Method of Elimination
Boston: “The most efficient weapons are the Victor Snap Traps, especially when baited with a slice of pepperoni, which Norway rats can smell up to 30 feet away.” Just like a college freshman after a night of drinking.

Nantucket: “The island health department goes so far as to give out free rat poison to residents in an effort to keep the problem in check.” In the land of multi-million dollar mansions, can’t residents buy their own poison?

Danger to humans
Boston (and elsewhere): “[R]odents can infect humans directly with diseases such as tularemia, leptospirosis, arenavirus, hantavirus, ratbite fever, lymphocytic choriomeningitis and salmonellosis (food poisoning).” And the plague!

Nantucket: [Nantucket health department director Richard Ray] said he was bitten while setting a trap in a resident’s barn, causing him to jump and fling the rat into the air.
The rat landed on a horse, which then “stomped the bejesus out of me,” he said.
“It took about a month for the horse marks on my [posterior] to disappear,” Ray said.

Our verdict? We’d rather encounter a rat in the city. Better to deal with a bout of food poisoning than run the risk of being stomped to death by a horse.