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A problem with rats is that they are smart

SHARE A problem with rats is that they are smart

A problem with rats is that they are smart. Check an encyclopedia and you find that they will just nibble at poisoned food, maybe get a little sick, and then know never to touch that stuff again. Traps seldom trap them. Most of what people devise to kill them fails because they are quick to figure out what's up.

That's one reason there may be as many as 70 million of them in New York City. According to published accounts, they have become a real terror there, emerging from sewers that are undergoing repairs and, for still other reasons, appearing all over the place at night in packs. One city council member is reported to have avoided a swarm of them only by climbing on top of a car.

It's not a trifling matter because they carry all sorts of diseases and they do in fact bite people sometimes. The city, it's reported, will spend $12 million this year to contain the rodents, mainly by depriving them of access to garbage and also by using poison. Although results so far have been less than spectacular and the rats will never entirely disappear, the city will undoubtedly reduce the menace in time. People are smart, too.