City Council President Jerry Ryan may have said it best Thursday night when he joked that right now in Salem, "there are rats all over the place."
And according to the city's Health Agent, Larry Ramdin, a larger rat population is a problem facing cities and towns across the Northeast - thanks in part to last year's unusually warm winter.
Ramdin was on hand for the council's meeting at City Hall Thursday night to explain a in the Board of Health's rodent control budget.
"There has been a significant increase in the rodent population throughout the Northeast and my research tells me as far west as Chicago," Ramdin said.
In addition to baiting local storm drains, Ramdin said health department employees have been raising awareness about day-to-day measures city residents can take to help curb Salem's rat population.
Although he expects this recent stretch of frigid weather will help eliminate some of the city's rats, Ramdin told council members that Board of Health will still need money in their budget for when warmer weather returns.
The funding request was unanimously approved.
Here are some recent reader comments about Salem's rat problem:
Lucia Coale: yup...$350 later on exterminators, and still had them... pretty gross to clean up after when a trap actually works... never had them before - just this year...
Cwheels: Rats are pretty intelligent, they wont go nuts on a new food source. They take a nibble and move on,if they get sick they never come back. that's why the bait blocks the pros use rarely work.
chester suchecki: anytime you have waterfont construction you drive the rats out of their natural habitat. salems ferry pier has been under construction for some time now and the rats have to eat so they turn to the local neighborhoods for food. humans created the problem now we want them to go away. was the big dig any different in boston? why doesnt the health department consult with them about it before asking for more money? cant the animal control officer handle his job that he is never there for?
Carolyn Costain: The Salem rat problem from Bridge st to Howard st. to the common seemed to get worse when they built the By-pass road and were digging up Bridge street. I've seen live and dead rats the size of a medium cat. I use to visit a friend in that area and in the summer it's bad!
We also received dozens of comments on our Salem Patch Facebook Page.
Have you seen more rats in your neighborhood this year?
Let us know in the comments section below.