Invasion of the Big A** Rats !!!

After returning from the holidays break, "I was disgusted at finding not one but two rats nests in my room. There was poop all over the place: under our beds, on top of our beds..." So said Julieanna Pinto to Quaker Campus' Matthew Grant Anson ('Rodents Invade Harris dorm', Q C, 1-26-12). Pinto had to sleep in a dorm lounge, finally getting into Wanberg Hall only after her mother got involved. Pinto's roommate, Rebecca Cruces, went back to their room after traps had been put in place and saw yet another rat. "We pay so much money to live here. They need to take the necessary measures to protect their residents," added Pinto, referring to the Whittier College administration.

Fellow student Carsen West said, "Until we actually found the rat and called [Facilities and Campus Safety] they didn't come. After the whole room was destroyed, I was surprised they weren't up here right away. Their whole room, they couldn't live in it anymore." Yet again it proved to be the Health Department, no stranger to Whittier College dorms, that finally compelled the College to act, ordering corrective measures, most importantly sealing various exterior walls cracks and openings, which orders Area Coordinator Ted Bogue claims have been satisfied. Nevertheless, rats, bigger than the traps set for them, continue to make appearances... Bogue described one of the rats found in horrible fashion: "When [a rat] came out from behind the stove, [it] was burnt badly."

Rats are associated with bubonic plague and murine typhus through fleas and feces, rabies, trichinosis, Lassa Fever, and salmonella, among other health problems, some fatal. It goes without saying that where there are rats there are diseases. But Whittier College has let the entire rat-borne health issue go without saying. Students - President Herzberger lives in the President's mansion off-campus - don't have that luxury. The newly introduced Gambian Pouch Rat, even now moving west, grows up to three feet long and carries and spreads monkey pox, which will cause the CDC to quarantine everyone in the vicinity immediately upon discovery. A rat invasion is a potentially deadly problem, one difficult to resolve, and one requiring the most stringent cleanup process.

Predictably, Whittier College attempted to counter the Q C rat invasion expose with a planted article ('Administration points out causes of rat invasion' by Kaitlyn Baldwin, Q C, 2-9-12). Spokesperson Delaphine Hudson, making the dubious claim that the College called the Health Department (when dorm ceilings caved in, it was students who had to call in the Health Department, and that would again appear to be the case), said, "...Facilities worked extremely hard to close up holes and cracks in the (exterior) walls." If Facilities worked let alone worked extremely hard, there wouldn't be any holes or cracks in exterior walls, and there'd have been no rat invasion. Rats strip electrical wiring with their teeth while literally destroying buildings, if they don't start them on fire first. Rats are estimated to gnaw through more than $1 billion of property a year in the U.S. alone.

To whittiergate: "Whittiergate, a champion, maybe the only true champion, of Whittier College housekeepers being overworked, underpaid, and under supplied by Sodexo, and used as pawns by the SEIU, should be careful to avoid taking out understandable frustration on our maintenance workers. Our maintenance workers were sold out to be exploited by Sodexo, too. Sodexo and their on campus straw boss Ken Bohan are responsible for maintenance deficiencies as well as housekeeping problems on campus.

"Otherwise, keep up the great work!"

whittiergate Note: Thank you. Agreed. See whittiergate's 'Whittier College Exploits, Disrespects, (Latina) Housekeepers' page for more on this College's sellout of workers, Sodexo and Ken Bohan...

Yet even as Hudson claimed the College is now in compliance with the orders the Health Department was obliged to issue because of Whittier College's negligence, she blamed students for the rat invasion - because, according to Hudson, students have filthy habits. To whittiergate's knowledge, the Health Department didn't order dorm residents to be more cleanly, they ordered the College, as Hudson admits, to seal the invaded dorm. This projection of responsibility for the College's negligence and failures is typical. Campus Safety, for example, blames students for carelessness when their possessions are stolen, from their dorm rooms as well as from cars and public areas, rather than admit Campus Safety's failure to protect campus residents' property, and improve in that regard. We're not impressed that Pinto or Cruces or other students whose rooms were taken over by rats have lower cleanliness standards than do students whose rooms were not occupied by these big a** rats.

Matthew Grant Anson noted in his Q C article on the 2011-2012 campus rat invasion that the rats who turned Pinto's and Cruces' Harris Hall room into a rats' nest gnawed through their room door once in the building. Rats can gnaw through doors because they can exert 7,000 - 8,000 pounds of pressure per square inch - compare with lions and great white sharks capable of exerting just 600 pounds of pressure per square inch. Rats have 16 teeth, 12 molars and 4 sharp incisors, teeth that are harder than copper, platinum, and iron, that are roughly equivalent to strength of a steel nail. Rat tooth enamel is one of the toughest materials on earth, which is why rats can gnaw through not only wood but also plastic, wire mesh, lead, and iron piping.

Rats were inadvertently introduced to North America around 1775, and the rat population has remained fairly steady for the past 50 years. Rats can drop 50 feet without injuring themselves, can jump 36 inches vertically and 48 inches horizontally, and can swim across a half-mile of open water and tread water for up to 3 days. Rats have been found to have entered buildings through water or sewage pipes, even emerging from toilet bowls, but their usual means of access is through cracks and holes due to poor exterior maintenance.

Country folk and largely abandoned inner city residents know rats, they know that rats don't eat only garbage, that they also eat crops and produce, and of still greater concern, attack and eat fowl (chickens, ducks, even geese), young lambs and pigs, small pets and any human beings lying around. New York's Daily News, as just one example, reported a rat attack on a woman in her 20s waiting for her train at the Brooklyn Bridge-City Hall subway station this past February. The rat ran up to the woman and bit into the flesh of one of her feet. Authorities speculate fewer scheduled trash pickups and poor storage room seals are attracting rats. A single rat is capable of killing prey twice its size.

The press periodically reports infant and elderly deaths due to rat attacks. Nor does it require famine for rats to cannibalize their own. When rats attack (for the purpose of eating) humans, they go first for soft tissue like the eyes. It seems infants and the elderly are at risk for rat attacks for the very young's and very old's limited abilities to defend themselves, rather like a passed out college student...

Whittier College student Laurel Pinkley says, "It kind of freaks us out at's...scary."

To whittiergate: "You appear to be quite right about rats eating eyes first. See this link to 'North Korea Prison Camp Drawings', "Dead bodies storage - because rats eat the eyeballs first, most corpses don't have eyes"

"Now I'm afraid to sleep let alone pass out on this campus!"

And these big a** rats are not going away any time soon. Science Daily ('Rats Are Loyal to Neighborhoods', May 27, 2009) synopsized a Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health research project - nearly 300 rats were trapped in 11 residential areas of a large city and were subjected to genetic tests to determine how the rats were related. It turns out that rat families form communities, each encompassing about 11 city blocks, with each community composed of rat neighborhoods about a city block in size.

Rats migrate only when forced to do so, and usually live out their entire lives within their one block neighborhood. The urban description of 'hood rats', females who stay home and breed indiscriminately, is based on 'hood' residents' familiarity with the evident breeding habits of rats.


'Hood Rats' begin breeding at around 3 months of age and live for approximately 3 years. Urban rats go into heat every 4 or 5 days (country cousins reproduce seasonally, but hood rats are pretty much always in heat), and deliver litters of 6 to 12 offspring. (Octomom, give it up!) A single female rat can release thousands of offspring into her hood.

While prevention is easy, getting rid of rats is damned difficult. Poisons are apparently more dangerous to human and other beings than to rats - rats are already adapting to poisons used against them. Warfarin, for example, a chemical that prevents blood from clotting, causing death through internal bleeding, no longer works on adapted rats, such rats now deliberately consume Warfarin to keep their adapated blood from clotting too much. Rats, by the way, can detect contaminants in their food as low as 0.5 parts per million. It seems rats have the capacity to develop effective immunity to all known rodenticides. You've heard this before, but it seems Whittier College hasn't: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Catching rats the tried and true way...

...with a lilttle help from our friends

Again, the rats invading the Whittier College campus are bigger than the traps used to catch them. This really is the invasion of the Big A** Rats !!!

Carsen West summed up this sobering experience as well as anyone: "When we first applied [for the hill top dorm]...we were so excited... But now it's like 'rats!' It's not what we expected at all."

Welcome to the real Whittier College...

See more on Mason's Rats at