The latest rodent-themed social media content to go viral is a video of a rat fruitlessly attempting to climb a descending escalator as the Rocky theme plays in the background. TikTokker Jimmy James uploaded the video, taken in a NYC subway, in mid-January. Online commentors compared the rat’s plight to that of Greek mythological figure Sisyphus, who was forced to roll a boulder up a hill for eternity. Luckily for NYC’s newest subway rodent celebrity (sorry pizza rat), the journey eventually ended. James shared a follow-up video that showed the plucky rat eventually hopping its way to the top of the moving staircase.
Last month, NYC Mayor Eric Adams pointed to a recent report that listed rats, along with the cost of living and COVID-19, among reasons New Yorkers are leaving the state. Adams established the city’s first-ever “rat czar” in April 2023 to help eliminate the vermin problem. In the meantime, one resident is making the most of the situation by offering late-night rat tours for visitors and locals alike. Kenny Bollwerk, also known as “Rat Daddy,” gave around 50 rat tours in 2023. He founded “RatTok,” posting short videos of rat activity around NYC on TikTok. Bollwerk uses his platform to not only provide entertainment, but also for awareness and accountability purposes. Speaking to Vice, he said: “We’re making sure that the city is really following up on all those policies that they’re putting in place.”
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