Dear PoPville – Is DC’s Rat Problem Getting Worse? Video from Dupont Circle

“Dear PoPville,

The rat problem in Dupont Circle is the worst I have ever seen it in 20 years. This video was taken July 9th.”

Have others noticed an increase too?

68 Comment

  • YES. I live btw Ust and Dupont and it’s the worst that I’ve seen it in the last 5 years. They’re not even scurrying anymore…leisurely crossing the street

    • Sounds like the rats I encountered when I lived in downtown Baltimore–so nonchalant they would tip their hats and ask me how my day was going.

  • …. ben, the two of us need look no more.

  • oh man, I was walking around McPherson Sq around 11pm the other week and there were rats EVERYWHERE!! Running in and out of trashcans on the side walk, frolicking through the grass, running right out in front of me as I walked and then running back… it was awful

  • “Alright, everybody tuck your pants into your socks!”

  • I’ve lived near U st. for more than 10 years. This is the worst year for my yard. The number of active burrows is staggering. I can’t garden any more. The field at Harrison Rec Center is a big problem too. Rat Hotel. Children shouldn’t be allowed to play there.

    • Have you requested a rat abatement? I believe the D.C. Department of Health — in addition to providing baits — can shoot a special kind of poison powder into the rat burrows. The powder gets on the rats’ paws and they ingest it when they clean themselves.

      • To my surprise – DC has stopped providing that service on their site. It used to be that you could fill out a service request for rodent abatement, tree service, etc. It’s beyond me how they could cut this service and get away with it. Anyone else had this experience?

        • I’ve only ever made requests by calling 311. Did they completely get rid of the 311 function on the website?

  • When you see rats, please call 311 to request that the D.C. Department of Health do a “rat abatement.”
    The video is from the actual Dupont Circle, not the neighborhood, correct? I think the National Park Service might have jurisdiction over the park in the circle, so I don’t know if the Department of Health can do an abatement there, but maybe they could contact whoever in the NPS would handle it.

  • This spring/summer has been the worst I’ve seen it in my 5 years in Park View. I’ve called for rat abatement and they have, to their credit, been responsive about baiting the area.

  • Hah, that video is nothing. I was sitting on the outer ring of the circle one night recently and watched as a group of 8 to 10 rats repeatedly ran between the inner-circle bushes/trash cans/etc. It’s certainly the worst I’ve ever seen.

  • Sequestration!!

  • I live near 11th and P and it’s always terrible….I tried to call rat abatement, but nothing. So word to the wise – never, ever get take out from that Chinese restaurant on the corner – they loooove that place.

  • Allison

    Oh that’s just Remy from Ratatouille collecting morsels for Dupont Circle’s next big small-plates hit.

  • Yes! The rats are worse this year. I suspect it is all of the construction. When they broke ground for the new Safeway at Georgia and New Hampshire, the surrounding neighborhoods were flooded with rats.

    • Yep, it has to do with new construction destroying their underground homes. All the construction on 14th, in Shaw, and the U Street area has sent rats scattering into the adjoining neighborhoods. It’s awful.

  • On my block in Columbia Heights, rats are no worse than usual. There may be less. In the spring, all of us on the block got together and had the city do rat abatement on our properties and in the alley. This does make a difference.

    • We must be neighbors. I do think the rat abatement really helped. I think I have seen far fewer rats on our alley this year than in past years. Kudos to the folks who organized all of our neighbors to do the rat abatement!

      everyone should do this – we just got everyone on the block to agree to do rat abatement at the same time. A couple people went around to all the houses around the alley and got us to sign the papers, then DOH came and did it. The rat problem has been SO much better since then!

  • Yes. I was at that park where Pennsylvania Ave and H Street connect and it was still light out, like 8pm and it was basically a rat playground. There were about 6 just hanging out around the path. The people hanging out on the benches might have been feeding them.

  • I had to leave my apartment in Trinidad because the infestation of mice was so bad I was getting physically ill. I could no longer cook, they had taken up residence in my stove. My landlord was extra cheap and kept filling in the holes the mice were creating, said that was how you kept them out. Well, I broke my lease and bailed after he told me EVERYWHERE in the city has mice. I am at 13th & Rittenhouse NW and guess what? NO RATS/MICE in the alley. When I moved out the movers lifted my bed, not one square inch of floor space beneath did not have mice dropings. The mice were so bold, they would come out when I had company, IMMEDIATELY after I finished cooking, and greeted me daily when I came home frome work. It was a DISASTER!!! I saw DC performing abatement, however, it did not help. In the backyard, they had a whole community running the block.

  • Yesterday, I had a rat offer to sell me a basket of puppies. I wasn’t sure if I should call the Humane Society or not though. Any ideas?

  • The population seems to have decreased significantly from last year – the reason is that we had a harsh winter last year which killed many of them off.

  • They have gotten worse because people spend more time video tapping them then stomping them with their shoe. I got my last one with a bottle :-)

  • Sounds like the city needs to hire Charlie Kelly: King of the Rats.

  • I live in a purely residential neighborhood in Mt. Pleasant, and after going for years without seeing a single rat it seems the rat population has exploded in the last two years. It may be related to the unusually warm winters we’ve been having.

  • When we went to the the Dupont Circle’s showing of Indiana Jones, we left early because of the rats.

  • andy

    Watch out for the rat kings!

  • i’ve been in dc 17 years and i’ve seen fewer this year than ever.
    i guess it really depends on the neighborhood.

  • Emilie504

    This was why I hate walking around after dark. I’m not afraid of being mugged or attacked by humans but rats. I’ve already been attacked in the daylight by a rat (It touched my shoe, I considered cutting my foot off). I cannot stand rodents. I’m going to go shake in the corner for a bit now.

    • i’m with you!

    • saf

      A musician friend of mine lived in the french quarter.

      She was sitting outside of her apartment one night waiting for a ride to a gig.

      She was late to the gig. A rat ran up her pants and bit her. So she instinctively reached down and broke its neck. Then she had to go to the er.

      That was almost 10 years ago. She still refers to it.

  • I just consider them Fraggles now.

  • Do you think it has anything to do with the fact that there are no cats in America, and the streets are paved with cheese?

    • I realize you’re joking, but our alley used to have a colony of feral cats that lived in peaceful coexistence with the rats. DC rats are badass, and not even wild cats would hassle them, especially when there was plenty of garbage to around for all.

      • +1. D.C.’s rats are big and bold. Plus there are so many of them that I suspect the stray and indoor/outdoor cats just can’t keep up.

    • +1 for the Fievel reference. I loved that movie when I was a kid!

  • RELEASE THE CATS!!!

    I live up near Brightwood Park, and we have several neighborhood strays that keep the rats at bay.

    I’ve not noticed an increase this summer. Also, that is a grainy video of one rat near an overflowing trash can. I don’t think that qualifies as an infestation.

    • Good point, there are lots of cats in my neighborhood in Mt P and I almost never see rats like you do around Adams Morgan.

      • I’ve seen very few rats this year in my part of AdMo, but I think there was an abatement effort in Kalorama Park earlier in the year.

        • No mo’ “AdMo”!

          • Sure. I typed the comment on my phone and it’s a matter of convenience, not hipness. “Your” will always be “your” unless I’m typing on a phone and “Adams Morgan” will always be “Adams Morgan” unless I’m typing on a phone. In any case, I think we’re reaching a point where the anti-abbreviation police come off as douchier than the abbreviaters.

  • Haven’t noticed any difference. People have been complaining about rats as long as I’ve been here. I once saw what I can only assume was a multigenerational clan that numbered in the dozens around Rat Park (16th & Harvard) back in 06 once.

  • The Glover Park listserv had a mention of this a few months ago – and folks noted it was about 5 years since the last city effort in the neighborhood to kill the rats.

  • It’s all about the amount of construction in Shaw and 14th St corridor disrupting their nests. The number of rats exploded near me in Petworth when the GA Ave reconstruction project was going on, but has since died down. When they were tearing up the sidewalks and replacing the sewers last summer (or 2 summers ago… can’t remember), I would see several in my backyard/alley each night. This summer… maybe seen 2 or 3 all summer.

  • Franklin Park is absolutely overrun with them at night. I’m at a point where I don’t even jump when I see one scurrying across the path from one garbage can to another. Totally gross.

  • D.C. government info on rats:
    Flyer – “We All Need to Work Together for a Rat Free DC” – http://occc.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/occc/publication/attachments/RATS_6_6_05.pdf

  • I haven’t seen any rats, but on Monday I got the following email from someone on my block:

    “If you were home around 11:30 and heard a shrill yell, it was I. I had just discovered a dead rat, about 8 inches long without tail, on one of my garden pathway stones. Thankfully, my gallant husband rode to the rescue. He thinks one of our community cats or perhaps a raccoon may have killed it because he saw a major wound in its side.

    It has been 4 years since I have either spotted a rat in the back yard or had a rat die in my yard. I believe the excessive thunderstorms and rain we’ve been experiencing may be the culprit. I remember that Phyllis used to organize us to lobby DCPW to bait the sewers and when it we could get them to do it, there was a marked reduction in rat sightings. In the intervening years, rat abatement has been transferred to the DC Department of Health. I called 311 and requested service–namely that the city bait the sewers. While the operator was pleasant, it was clear that my request was viewed as unusual. I was told that if they come and bate the alley and/or the sewer, we won’t get any feedback, but I can call back and ask for a status report. My confirmation number is 162328.

    Would you please call or make an online service request (www.dc.gov/DC ) for sewer baiting as well? Tell them you live in the 200 block of 8th Street SE and that because of the heavy rains and overflowing sewers, rats are showing up in the neighborhood. Ask that they bait the sewers. Also ask that, if they do not bait the sewers, they call you back and tell you why not. If you want to mention my confirmation number 162328, that’s fine. Just make sure that you get your own confirmation number and then let the rest of know when you’ve requested the service.

    Business Neighbors: I’m copying you on this message so that you know of the service request. If you’re seeing an uptick in rodents, please join us in requesting that DC DOH bait the sewers.”

  • This is my personal first time we visit here. I ran across so many enjoyable stuff inside your blog, especially its discussion. From the a lot of comments in your posts, I assume I am not on your own having all of the enjoyment right here! Keep up outstanding work.

Comments are closed.