Rats versus palmetto bugs

baltimore vs. miami homegrown mascot

December 31, 2008|By JILL ROSEN | JILL ROSEN,jill.rosen@baltsun.com

To live in Baltimore is to never live alone - thanks to rats. A recent study guesstimated that about 50,000 of them call Baltimore home. That's about one rat for every 13 people.

Furry, brown and rarely petite, they scamper furtively down dark alleys and brazenly along sidewalks, pulling leathery tails behind them. They tear into garbage bags and tunnel into rowhouse gardens. According to a recent city resolution - yes, an actual official resolution - the health department gets about 10,000 rat complaints a year. With 50,000 rodents in town, most of them are clearly well-behaved. Carpe diem, Rattus norvegicus, carpe diem.

Take a cockroach. Then imagine it bigger. And then bigger and bigger and bigger still. Now make it horrifyingly aerodynamic - think helicopter with antennae and a shell. Voila - the eerily prehistoric palmetto bug. The king of insects runs rampant in southern Florida, staging cunning home invasions and barnstorming sunbathing innocents. A brave soul might muster the courage to smoosh a mere cockroach. For palmetto bugs, shoes don't come big enough.

EDGE: : It's a tie. Both cities need to call an exterminator - now.

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