Has Seattle ‘ratpocalypse’ spread to Capitol Hill?

CHS reader informs:

Hey, CHS. I live on 10th Ave E between Republican and Harrison. I swear for the past 6 months or so I have seen a progressively worsening rat infestation on the block. I’m used to seeing a rat scurry across the side walk or under a Julia’s dumpster at night, but lately they have been frolicking in my backyard, brazenly lounging in the middle of the sidewalk in broad daylight, taking my turn at bowling, etc…I have theorized that this may be due to all the construction going on and displacing them from their hereditary underground estates, but it’s also possible that I’m just developing some weird rat paranoia.

Have you all noticed or had any other reports of a booming rat population here or elsewhere on the hill?

Yours truly,
Allergic To Cats

Last fall, the pest industry hyped a coming “ratpocalypse” from vermin displaced by the Seattle waterfront tunnel project. This summer, one pest control company claims it has caught and killed “double” the number of rats than normal around Pioneer Square.

On the Hill, we’ve heard about mini rat infestations before including displacements when Bobby Morris got it shrubbery chopped away. We’ve also seen freaky things like rats using powerlines as their own aerial tramway. City life.

Let us know what you’ve seen. Are downtown rats displacing Hill rats? Is the wave of construction on the Hill forcing more vermin into the streets? Are you secretly a rat commenting on a neighborhood news blog?

As with most things, we’re betting this comes down to the weather. The funny thing about reports of things like increased airplane noise or more mosquitoes on Capitol Hill than ever is they tend to coincide with the kind of weather we’ve had this summer — unbelievably gorgeous. The kind of weather that makes you want to walk around your neighborhood more — and visit your friendly neighborhood rats more frequently.

UPDATE: The City’s twitter voice says you can, indeed, use the Find It, Fix It app to report vermin issues on the Hill — and beyond. You can also call King County Health at (206) 263-9566 or check out the county’s “How to get rid of rats” page for more information.

22 thoughts on “Has Seattle ‘ratpocalypse’ spread to Capitol Hill?

  1. I’ve lived on the hill for 15 years and see no more, no less of them. I do get creeped out when I see them on the power lines. My main fear is one will come up and out of the toilet at night….

  2. The new sewer line that was installed in August on 11th Ave between Harrison and Republic due to the new giganto apodment building (with no parking it might be noted) might be one partial cause. Besides all the noise and vibrations from the digging, they also had this big hydraulic “tamping” machine to tamp down all the soil and asphalt once they covered over the new sewer. It caused our building at 11th and Harrison to vibrate considerably and this may have driven them from their holes. But personally I haven’t seen any increase in rats. Maybe the people who clean out the rat traps around buildings have some data?

  3. Well a family (or families?) of rats moved into my house (17th & Union area – so CD ish) within the last month. A most unpleasant experience. Rat paranoia is at an extreme high in the two units in my house.

    On another note, we are right under the flight path and plane noise seems remarkably high this year.. and helicopters galore in the evenings lately – what’s going on with those?

    • Yes I live on 20th and caught a rat in my kitchen with a trap. Thought that did it, but no one destroyed my oven. I’ve sealed off some entry points but one keeps coming around every day or two. I’m buying a rat zapper. I was told they work best.

  4. We’ve had much more rat damage to gardens (north capitol hill) this summer. I’ve heard one theory that the mild winter did not kill as many off this year.

    • Hadn’t thought about the effect a mild winter might have. That seems like it could contribute.

      In Florida after hurricanes come through they always have an increase in rats because of the brush piles left in vacant lots and people’s yards. The rats love to breed in those things. Too many variables. Must…let….go……..

    • I have a P-Patch plot off Broadway and I lose a decent amount of produce to rodents, but this year doesn’t seem any worse than past years.

  5. I’ve seen at least one of them scurry (twice now in less than two weeks) over the top of the fence dividing the apartment property I live in from the neighboring property. 14th and Mercer. The rat acts all honey badger, even though I am usually sitting less than 5 feet away from that fence when i smoke.

  6. Haven’t seen a rat in Seattle in years but just the other day I spotted a rather large semi-desiccated rat carcass on sidewalk on N Beacon.

  7. YES! I have seen a large increase in rats along Melrose this summer, where I run multiple times a week. Last year I’d maybe see one or two, but one morning I counted five rats (one deceased). That’s a lot of rats! The other day one ran alongside me for a minute. Dare I say it was kind of cute. I figured it had something to do with the warm weather. Not a ton of construction in that area at the moment.

  8. My condo building near 19th & Denny has had to hire a pest control company to set traps. This, after having seen them cavorting around on my patio on many occasions. Rat droppings followed. The pest control people have “harvested” 11 rats on my patio alone, and are recommending we step up our game using more effective methods. Bleeeechhh.

  9. I lived in a condo on Harrison and Bellevue for almost 5 years and never saw any rats until I recently interrupted some of their early morning dumpster buffets on my way to work. It definitely wasn’t a weather thing as evidenced by my fellow tenant comments.

  10. I was out on my deck in the evening last weekend, and TWO came up the powerline and peeked at me at different times. One was grey, the other black.

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