Sheepshead Bay Rats Prefer Tropical Citrus Fruits

Last month, after learning about The Armory, where Sheepshead Bay High School students participated in track meets, I visited the place in Washington Heights.

The facility was a well-kept Harlem gem and inside there was a professional running track for practice and meets. Outside on the street nearby, I had my own little track and field qualifying meet when I encountered a huge rat. My own loud shriek was like the gun that gave me a running start.

When my heart finally stopped racing and the rat was safe in hiding, I remembered an incident an acquaintance told me happened to her last year. She was sitting on a park bench in Manhattan and a huge rat jumped onto her leg, rattling her for the entire day. At that time, I was so happy to be able to say that I live in Sheepshead Bay where we have mice who prefer to stay out of the streets.

Then a few days ago, I noticed this very strange sight in a busy supermarket in Sheepshead Bay. From far away, it looked like it was a huge dropping from a well-fed rat who managed to avoid an untimely death.

The area where the recognizable Victor brand rat trap was located appears to be an employee-only area (good for me, not so good for the employees), but I was able to get close enough to see that the “dropping” turned out to be a kiwi fruit that rolled in from California, not an egg from a chicken-sized, flightless kiwi ratite.

We can’t be sure if the rat they’re trying to trap has a craving for a tropical citrus fruit or if someone didn’t get the chance to move  the fruit away. Either way, it looks like with our neighborhood’s litter problem, bold, Manhattan-style rats are swimming into our shores.


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