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New York rats are a lot bigger than you probably want to know

Written by
Marcia Gagliardi

Just how big are New York’s rats anyway? Big enough to carry a slice of pizza, at least. And definitely big enough to run up subway stairs and make humans scatter faster than a crowd running into Best Buy on Black Friday. Unfortunately, however, someone decided to actually study NYC's rats and provide us with an answer.

Matt Combs, a doctoral student from Fordham University, has been avidly studying rats for years. In his recent study, he found a rat that clocked in at 675 grams which, for all the non-metric math wizards out there (most of us), is just shy of 1.5 pounds.

That is one fat rat. Go ahead and click to see the picture.

And they can get even bigger: Combs says New York’s rat species, Rattus norvegicus, can grow to be as large as two pounds. Those Jabba the Hut-rats typically have a dependable food source nearby, like a dumpster. It’s kind of like eating ice cream in bed—you don’t expend much energy to get a pint from the freezer. The average-sized rat in the study was around half a pound.

And what about that old saw that says there are as many rats as humans in New York? Not quite. Fortunately, humans still edge out the rats with an 8.4 million lead to their estimated 2 million.

But still: 2 million rats. Ugh. 

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