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The guy gives tours of the most ratty places in New York: they are popular


Alina Prikhodko

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The self-proclaimed “daddy rat” from New York has taken TikTok by storm with his excursions. According to Independent, it raises awareness among residents and tourists about the rat infestation and thus puts pressure on city authorities.

In his “Rat Tok” video series, Kenny Bollwerk films rodents scurrying along sidewalks, climbing trash cans, occasionally crawling through store windows, and munching on avocados. He usually talks about the actions of the rats, accompanied by funny musical accompaniment, describing in detail what they are doing and where they are going.

There are approximately 3-4 million rats in New York, and these are just the ones that can be seen on the streets, there are many more underground. One female rat can give birth to about 88 pups per year. It's scary to even imagine what this could lead to. Bollwerk calls it the park of the rat period, by analogy with the Jurassic.

Rat stories

The guy even has a diploma from the Rat Academy. The New York City Department of Health opened such an academy, where you can sign up and learn everything about rats: what they eat, how they reproduce, how their teeth and jaws work.

In May 2023, Bollwerk began conducting tours of the city's most rat-infested areas and said that about 100 people have taken part so far. He says he has taken tourists from all over the world on these rat excursions, which usually cost $50.

He originally wanted to become a content creator in New York after moving from St. Louis in 2019, but rat excursions weren't part of the plan and became a happy accident.

“Everyone likes to do something fun and interesting in their lives,” he noted and admitted that although he does not plan to be a “rat daddy” forever, he still accepts his popularity. “Whether it’s playing fantasy football or watching The Bachelor.” I like to chase rats at night.”

On the subject: The NYC Transit app can track the number of rats in subway stations: it's like Pokemon Go, only with rodents

The guy conducts his excursions guided by “rat card” is a public database from City Hall that identifies areas with the most rat complaints and problems. Over time, the rodents have become accustomed to his presence and know it is him thanks to his headlamp.

“They hear me click and know that the “daddy rat” has arrived.

Rodent control

When he spots rats, he usually sprays them with a rodent repellent. This product masks the smell of garbage and thereby confuses rats so that they do not return to it.

Bollwerk explained that through his platform he wants to continue to raise awareness about rat infestations and put pressure on city officials to do more in the fight against rodents. In many of his videos, he encourages viewers to file complaints to 311 to force the city Health Department to address the problem. Pointing to places where rats have infested, he calls on the authorities to act.

“I'm not trying to destroy them all,” he noted. “But I'm trying to control the population in certain areas. Rats should not be running around in the food you buy. Look how disgusting it is!”

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