41-lb. Rat Captured in New York City-Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
A photo that supposedly shows a 41-lb. rat caught in New York City has gone viral.
There are lots of tales (and photos) of monster rats, but the one about a 41-lb. rat caught in New York City appears to be false.
A photo of a gigantic, well-groomed rat popped up on a Facebook group called “New Yorkers”a in November 2015. There’s no photo credit, but a caption that appears with the photo says, “41 pound rat recently caught in NYC.”
The first giveaway that the rat wasn’t “recently caught” in NYC is that it appears to be well groomed and cared for. One person commented that the rat looks “freshly washed & blow dried.” Another person comment that there’s no way a wild rat would be that cooperative with a human holding it in the air like that.
So, even though we can’t track down where the photo came from, we can safely say that the photo does not show a 41-lb. rat caught in NYC.
The most common type of rat in NYC is the Norway rat, also known as the brown rat. These rats typically grow to seven to nine inches in length and weigh less then a pound. As of 2004, the largest brown rat on record weighed about 2.5 pounds. Other breeds of rats can weigh up to 4.5 pounds, but they typically aren’t found in the U.S.
The alleged 41-lb. rat shown in the viral picture fits the description of an African giant pouched rat or a Gambien pouched rat. They can grow to be up to three feet long but weigh nowhere close to 41 lbs. A description of the two species of rats on Animal Diversity Web indicates that the giant rat in photo is probably an African giant pouched rat because it has “soft, grey coats and white fur on the belly.”
Pouched rats are not native to NYC, but they’re commonly kept as pets and sometimes are released into the wild. There have been scattered reports of Gambien pouched rats being caught in NYC over the years. Back in 2012, a gigantic Gambien pouched rat was found in a footlocker in the Bronx:
It’s true that gigantic rats have been caught in NYC, but the “41-lb. rat” from the picture does not weight 41 lbs and it was not captured in NYC.