Lincoln Square Block Being Overrun By Rats

CHICAGO (CBS) — An invasion in Lincoln Square is making local residents’ skin crawl. Rats – some say up to 20 at a time – have been scampering through people’s yards.

As CBS 2’s Mike Parker reports, city officials said it’s been baiting alleys because they’ve received so many complaints.

Lincoln Square residents said that, all summer long, an upscale 4800 block of North Seeley Avenue has been overrun with rats.

Sara England said she counted 15 to 20 rats in her yard one night last week.

“And they were the big ones,” she said, placing her hands more than a foot apart.

She said she and her dinner guests were stunned.

“So we brought out some flashlights and looked at all the rats underneath us and it was like an urban safari,” England said.

In Becky Gillespie’s back yard, two rats have been snapped up in traps since Tuesday night.

“So now I can’t let my kids play out here at night,” she said.

She said she was worried about possible diseases the rats might be carrying, as well as the chance the rats might bite her children.

“I mean, you never know,” Gillespie said. “About two weeks ago in a 15 minute period, I counted 20 running through my back yard.”

In the alley, there are warning notices that the city baited the area on Tuesday.

“I just want to see what happens with it. I’m a little concerned about … my children and my pets,” England said.

The move to bait the alley came after residents like Gillespie complained to the local alderman and his staff.

“They were all sort of horrified at what we are telling them,” Gillespie said.

The city has issued a cleanup order to the owner of a garbage-filled garage in the neighborhood. The suspicion is it’s a haven for rats.

The complaints come nearly six months after the city began cutting back rodent control efforts. In March, the Streets and Sanitation Department moved rodent control and the forestry bureau to garbage control.

But the city does offer some advice for keeping rats away.

As the city points out on its official Web site, rats have an average lifespan of 6 to 12 months. Females can produce four to seven litters per year, and came become pregnant again within 48 hours of giving birth.

While rats prefer fresh food, they will eat pet food, dog feces, garbage and plants too, the city pointed out.

The rats in Chicago are Norway rats, which prefer to live in burrows in the ground, and can climb and swim easily. They can also chew through wood and plaster, crawl through holes the size of a quarter, tread water for three days, and land safely after a five-story fall.

But the most worrisome aspect of wild rats in Chicago is the risk of disease. They carry a variety of infected fleas and ticks that can be passed on to people, and if cornered, they can bite, the city points out.

More from Mike Parker
  • matt

    Hiya reporter Mike. I’m the guy that was taking photos while you were talking. Sorry if i interrupted. Funny story. I live a few blocks down and never saw a rat in my alley for nine years. I guess they like to hang out at Seeley.

  • thor

    not only rats but skunks all over lincoln square but exstream west rodgers park
    too .my dogs have been skunked 2 times in the last month and this is not a new
    problem here call the city and they tell you we don’t have the man power or traps anymore.

    • Sue

      @ Thor, first that’s funny,second what are you going do about the two legged variety of RATS and SKUNKS who Live up there.HA,HA,HA!!!

  • Joe Friedman

    Wow…rats …and skunks. You’all must be real slobs up there.

  • royalfuzziness

    Send a note to the slob either clean up your garbage or they will be cleaning you up off the street ,sign the neighborhood!

  • j

    Corrupt DEA where stealing drugs from evidence vaults and reselling them to cover extensive credit card debt.

    They also are creating suspects by planting evidence just so that they can steal from them.

    Given the choice of suspension or dealing with their debt most DEA are thinking outside the box.

  • Pested

    The city’s services are getting worse and worse. Lincoln square had to wait all summer to get rat baiting from the city. Really? That’s ridiculous. I live north of Six Corners area and we are having rat problems also; residents having been catching them in traps daily, and complaining to city and aldermans’ office for weeks. Still no action here. I guess we’re not posh enough to warrant a news story or attention from the media or the city. I have a garbage can that the garbagemen broke and no longer has a lid. Alderman’s office said it’d be over a month to get a replacement. Thanks, the rats will love that.

    • Posh enough?

      The CBS news truck was at their house from afternoon to past 10 pm—another CBS news truck is back today. I suspect this goes beyond calling the alderman.

  • Rats

    She’s an author:

  • Patty Bray-Plumley

    Funny how they’re all blaming the guy with the filthy garage yet they have 10 to 20 rats in their yard. Tells me that they don’t pick up their dogs messes….they aren’t too far off the “pig list” either.

  • hp

    Oh, they meant real rats, not the human kind that scurry under cover of darkness in the cesspool that is Chicago. Too bad, the others need exterminating as well

  • w5.1.5a – the wages of sin are death – gay marriage is a sin – and it reproduces nothing in good seed but bad carbon « Arthur2rcasc's Blog

    […] accident injures 90 in Buenos Aires who ordered that one ? Osama or me ?  Block overrun by rats with or without […]

  • Guest

    I just got here.Did they blame Obama yet?

  • rita

    welcome to our never-ending nightmare in englewood! one of mayor daley’s parting shots before he left office was to eliminate chicago’s “rat patrol.” the city’s answer to your rat problem? “buy your own rat poison”.

    rat swarms? we got ’em. huge rats? we got ’em – two legged & four legged.

    home invasions? we got ’em. rats on the back porch? rats in the basement? rats in the house? we got all a that.

    rats want food. take away the food sources, they’ll travel somewhere else. got a restaurant or grocery store near you? chances are you’ll have rats.

    seal up everything around your home, metal, bricks, cement work because those [bleepers] chew and tear thru wood. shut the doors!

  • upscale"what a joke"

    It’s upscale but I bet dirty as hell. I bet money that the people dont use garbage bags, clean up their alleys when their dirty, etc. These “upscale” people expect the city to do everything for them. What does it hurt to keep your property clean including alleys? Does everybody use garbage bags at home when they throw out their garbage? Your your own problem. You think the city has to do everything for you include cleaning up your alleys. Fine they come and pick up garbage and yes it’s city property but don’t you have enough brains to say, ” there is garbage all around my property in the alley let me clean this up so there are no rats and so my property doesn’t sustain damage from rats” NO, your all probably saying, ” that’s not my job.” Now you got RATS. GOOD LUCK!

blog comments powered by Disqus
Daily Weather Reports Delivered To You!SIGN UP NOW: Get daily weather reports every morning from meteorologist Steve Baskerville!
CBS Sports Radio RoundupGet your latest sports talk from across the country.

Listen Live