Fear not the Super Rat, crazy tunnel-dweller

Sara Havens & Aaron Frank

Fear not the Super Rat, crazy tunnel-dweller

MonsterQuest

Episode 206: “Super Rats”

History Channel, Wednesdays, 8 p.m., aired July 16. Narrated by Stan Benard.

Synopsis: Rats are the stuff of nightmares, and recent archaeological evidence suggests they once grew to massive sizes. Could these huge rodents make a comeback? Waves of huge-rat sightings are sweeping our cities, and animal experts say these mutants are getting bigger — and more dangerous. Rat experts journey into NYC sewers and meet the witnesses who tell of cat-sized rats that have appetites for anything … including human flesh. (www.history.com)

BY SARA HAVENS & AARON FRANK

Sara: OK, so your star witness for proving the existence of the “Super Rat” is José, a homeless man who has lived in New York City’s sewers for six years? Wonder how much change and Colt 45 they had to fork over for the interview.

Sure, I believe there are cat-sized rats in New York, probably some even bigger. Shit, the biggest rat out there is Donald Trump, right?

Aaron: From what I can gather, homeless tunnel-dwellers seem like some of the most reputable people to go to for stories about mythical creatures. I like the way Steve Duncan, “Tunnel Explorer,” enters the underground tunnel looking like the Indiana Jones of Rat Hunters and then explains how José “likes poking around” in the tunnels, almost like it’s a hobby. There’s a cast of some colorful characters on this show from the get-go.

Sara: I worked at a pet shop in my high school days, and for the record, rats were among the gentlest animals we had. If you really want to investigate devil-creatures, the hamster is a good place to start. I once witnessed one eat its own baby. I think rats get a bad rap because of their tails … and, as we learned, were unfairly blamed for the Bubonic Plague. It wasn’t the rodents or their apple-bottom jeans but the fleas in the furrrrr.

Aaron: Well, either way, I wouldn’t be excited about coming into close contact with a rat, be it wild or domestic. The reenactment of the girl getting attacked by a pack of rats was quite hilarious, but on second thought, it would definitely suck to be attacked by a pack of wild rats. I keep telling myself I’m not going to have nightmares after this segment.

Sara: Really? We need to get you rat therapy — they make great pets, I swear. Sure, I don’t want them around my food or biting off my toes, but fear of rat I do not have. Spiders, ghosts, praying mantises and the Amish — yes. Rodents — no way.

Aaron: The most hilarious thing about the show was that news clip featuring a guy who, after seeing dozens of rats run throughout a Manhattan restaurant, says, “I don’t think I’ll eat here again.” That shouldn’t be an issue anyone should have to “think” about.

Sara: What about those crazy scientists who tried to rig a camera to the alley rats? They were hoping to get a glimpse into the intricate tunnels that would lead to the Mother Mouse. Too bad the 10-pound Radio Shack camera kept falling off.

Aaron: Honestly, I’m surprised there are this many “rodent experts” out there willing to dedicate days to investigating rats and attaching cameras to them. RATCAM, unfortunately, turned out to be an utter failure, and the biggest rat they found was 8-10 inches. Steve thinks José’s “Super Rat” was probably a possum or a cat … or, dare I say, a bad acid trip?

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