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(Courtesy Landmark Pest Management)

Chicago’s recent designation as the country’s “rat capital” can be attributed in large part, a new study finds, to a particular type of home: rental units. 

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Chicago residents logged more than 50,000 complaints last year about rats, according to a new survey that ranks the city as the “rat capital” of the U.S. We separate rat fact from fiction.

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Pete Marra appears on Chicago Tonight with host Phil Ponce on Feb. 1.

Last month, ornithologist Pete Marra sat down with Chicago Tonight to discuss his book detailing outdoor cats’ impact on U.S. bird populations. It was an interview that stirred up emotions on all sides. 

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(Courtesy of the Field Museum)

A Smithsonian ornithologist says outdoor cats are devastating bird populations.

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New York and Boston have also experimented with dry ice as a rodent control technique. (Dry ice: Shawn Henning / Rat: National Park Service)

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Department of Streets and Sanitation on Tuesday announced a pilot program that uses dry ice to curb rodent infestations.

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Appearing at the site of the soon-to-be-demolished Children’s Memorial Hospital in Lincoln Park, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced initiatives to respond to the city's growing rat problem.

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Rat complaints are on the rise, according to city data. Find out what Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th Ward) are doing to address the issue.

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Like most big cities, Chicago has a rat problem. Exterminators and local municipalities do their best to make a dent, but now there's a new approach to rodent control that is actually quite old. 

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Chicago's Department of Streets and Sanitation says that requests for rat control services are down 15 percent this year.

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While Jay Shefsky tagged along with city workers to learn more about rat control in Chicago, we were curious to find out about other local organizations that had alternative ways of dealing with rats – aside from spreading poison to kill the pesky creatures. We spoke with Jenny Schlueter, Community Cats Program Director at the Tree House Humane Society, about a “green” approach to rat control in Chicago called the Cats at Work Project. Read an interview.

Rat Empathy, Tiktaalik, Viewer Questions

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Neil Shubin

It turns out that rats might not be such "rats" after all. Our science guy, Neil Shubin, talks about rat empathy and other stories on Scientific Chicago.