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The Nation's Most Rat-Infested City Isn't The One You'd Guess

The Nation's Most Rat-Infested City Isn't The One You'd Guess

New York City might be infamous for its massive -- and apparently growing -- rat problem, but it was a different city that took top honors in a new ranking of America's most rat-infested cities.

According to a Monday news release from pest control company Orkin, Chicago holds the distinction of being the nation's "rattiest" city.

And if the mere thought of a horrific rat problem isn't enough to make one's skin crawl, the rodents are about to enjoy a seasonal surge: "Fall is a prime time for commensal rodents to actively seek food, water and shelter when temperatures drop and before the winter weather arrives," according to Orkin. "Each fall, rats and mice invade an estimated 21 million American homes. It only takes a hole the size of a quarter for a rat to squeeze inside, and a hole the size of a dime for mice."

Below, the 12 worst cities from the new rankings, which are based on the number of rat treatments the company performed last year:

12. Denver
Jeffrey Beall/Flickr
11. Dallas-Ft. Worth
10. Miami-Ft. Lauderdale
9. Baltimore
8. Cleveland-Akron-Canton
7. Detroit
6. Seattle-Tacoma
5. San Francisco
Jeff Chiu/AP
4. New York
3. Washington, D.C.-Hagerstown
Ron Edmonds/AP
2. Los Angeles
Mastery of Maps/Flickr
1. Chicago
Nimesh M/Flickr

Ron Harrison, an entomologist and Orkin's technical services director, said in a statement that the ranking is dominated by major U.S. cities because they provide "ideal" conditions for rats and mice.

"Commensal rodents depend on humans and their resources to survive, so unless residents and city officials take proactive steps to prevent rodents, infestations can easily get out of hand," Harrison said.

Chicago, incidentally, has also topped Orkin's ranking of the most bedbug-infested U.S. cities the last two years in a row.

Read here for the full ranking.

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