With all due respect to Templeton from "Charlotte's Web," who may be the only lovable rat in history (OK, maybe Ratatouille, too), I don't know anyone who wants rats running around in their city.

So when Orkin released it's Top 50 "Rattiest Cities" list last year, it was a roster that no one wanted to be on.

The best news for us is that Chicago seems to have a lock on the top spot. The Windy City might as well be called the Ratty City as Chicago has won the title eight years in a row (so besides taking over in recent years as the murder capitol of the world, Chicago has another fine feather in its cap with the rat title).

The list is put together by the Orkin pest control company and is reflective of the cities with the most call for Orkin's rodent treatments, so it's not entirely scientific, but it is pretty representative of who needs the most help when it comes to getting rid of rats.

The list reads like a major league list of teams from the NFL, NBA or Major league Baseball, with Chicago, New York and Los Angeles coming in at 1, 2 and 3.

There's no doubt that rats love the big cities and it's no surprise to see Miami, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Cleveland making the list.

But high population doesn't guarantee making it. Phoenix is the fifth biggest city in the country, but only ranks 46th when it comes to rattiest. Austin, Tex., and Jacksonville, Fla., are 10th and 11th in population, but aren't even among the top 50 rattiest cities.

So how about Utah?

I'm happy to write that neither St. George (pop. 108,535) nor Salt Lake City (pop. 202,272) made the list as the rattiest cities.

But we need to remain vigilant. Our neighbor to the east (Denver) is the 10th rattiest city, to the west (Los Angeles) is No. 3 and to the southwest (San Diego) is No. 18.

Orkin gives us with this ominous warning:

Each fall, mice and other rodents invade an estimated 21 million homes in the United States. They typically enter homes between October and February looking for food, water and shelter from the cold. And unique to previous years, with the influx of outdoor dining structures brought on by the pandemic, rodents have found the perfect place to dine, live and multiply, so consumers should pay extra attention to the attractants that entice rats and mice.

The list:

  1. Chicago

  2. New York (+1)

  3. Los Angeles (-1)

  4. Washington, D.C.

  5. San Francisco

  6. Philadelphia (+1)

  7. Baltimore (-1)

  8. Cleveland, Oh. (+2)

  9. Detroit (-1)

  10. Denver (-1)

  11. Seattle

  12. Minneapolis

  13. Boston

  14. Atlanta (+1)

  15. Indianapolis (-1)

  16. Pittsburgh

  17. Cincinnati (+2)

  18. San Diego (-1)

  19. Hartford (+2)

  20. Miami

  21. Milwaukee (+1)

  22. Houston (-4)

  23. Dallas (-3)

  24. Portland, OR

  25. Columbus, OH (+1)

  26. Richmond (+2)

  27. Kansas City (-2)

  28. Norfolk (-1)

  29. Nashville (+7)

  30. St. Louis

  31. Grand Rapids (+1)

  32. Raleigh (+3)

  33. Champaign (+4)

  34. Albany (-3)

  35. Louisville (+5)

  36. Sacramento (-7)

  37. New Orleans (-4)

  38. Charlotte (+4)

  39. Buffalo (+2)

  40. Flint (-6)

  41. Greenville (+3)

  42. Syracuse (+4)

  43. Tampa (+7)

  44. South Bend (+21)

  45. Portland (-7)

  46. Phoenix (-3)

  47. Charleston

  48. Ft. Wayne (+12)

  49. Orlando (+3)

  50. Burlington (-11)

Oh, and Orkin said if your not sure, look for these signs:


  • Droppings: Rodent droppings are often left behind in places where food is stored, such as kitchen cabinets or pantries, under sinks, inside chewed cardboard boxes, along baseboards and on top of wall beams

  • Gnaw marks: Mice are known to bite through walls, wood and wires. The damage to wiring within walls can increase the risk for a house fire.

  • Nests: Rodents prefer to nest in dark, secluded areas where there is little chance of disturbance. Be on the lookout for shredded paper products, cotton, packing materials and other fabrics, as house mice like to build nests out of these materials.

  • Rub marks: Rats tend to leave dark grease or dirt marks along walls and floorboards as they follow a trail throughout the home between their nest and food.

  • Strange noises: Scurrying in the walls or in the attic could mean a rodent family is present. Rodents are especially fond of attics as it’s an insulated area for nest building.

If you believe you have a rat problem, you're encouraged to call a professional.

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