History Channel - Original Air Date 7/2/08
Are rats growing larger and more aggressive? Some people claim to have seen rats as big as cats -- 24 inches more more long. Prehistoric fossils show that rodents were once much larger -- one in Uruguay was as large as a small car. Monster Quest goes looking for modern giant rats in -- Where else? -- New York City, interviewing eyewitnesses and using "rat cams" to track their prey. The largest rat on record is only (!) a foot long, though a picture from the West Coast purports to show a 2 foot monster. Unfortunately, the photo lacks scale, so who knows how big it actually was? In 1972, a garbage strike set packs of rats loose in the NYC streets. An attack on a woman prompted police and exterminators to take out that huge colony over the course of a week, in which "bags" of rats were hauled out of a large pit the creatures called home. Homeless people sheltering in the train tunnels beneath the city have some scary tales as well. One claims to have seen a rat as big as a medium-sized dog, and tales from WWI indicate killer rats preyed on fallen soldiers. In the city, an exterminator turns up a black & white hybrid rat -- from escaped domestic stock. The search for the giant rat proves less successful -- the rat spy wriggles free from rat cam, and the expert hunter doesn't find any giants, either. One expert opines that people fear rats, and New Yorkers exaggerate the size of their local rodents -- in NYC, even the rats have to be bigger and better than anywhere else.