D.C. Rats Go National

Uh oh. Don’t know if this is good news or bad news, but our local rats have gone national. That is to say, news about D.C.’s — and Georgetown’s — rats has increasingly appeared in the national media.

In the past month, feature stories have run in USA Today, on Fox News, even in the Seattle Times. Social media sites like Reddit, Mashable and the Interrobang have carried stories, some with clickable headlines like “Giant Rat Found Near White House.” Rush Limbaugh (of all people) featured capital rodents in a video on Sept. 16: “Rat Problem Out of Control on Dupont Circle.”

Both Fox News and USA Today channels featured stories on how rats had brought down the Whole Foods Market in Georgetown (actually Glover Park). “Now it’s really ugly,” the WUSA 9 headline read.

On Sept. 14, the Washington Post had something of an icky banner headline too: “Scurrying, Squealing, Gnawing, Multiplying.” The Post blamed the situation on population growth. “More people in D.C. means more rats, to residents’ dismay” read a couple of their September subheads. The Washington Times and local online news sites like Patch have increasingly followed The Georgetowner’s lead in covering the four-legged infestation.

When it comes to solutions, however, most of the media cite city officials and rat experts in pointing to trash control. In other words, it’s better to concentrate on cutting off the food supply than on — or in addition to — extermination.

Even so, Reddit featured the question: “Can I shoot rats in my alley with my air rifle?”


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