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Erik Bottcher unveils ‘fang-tastic’ rat-control plan

BY THE VILLAGE SUN | One of Erik Bottcher’s top issues is sanitation, so perhaps it’s not so surprising that he is proposing a groundbreaking new rodent-control program.

On April 1, Bottcher, whose Council District 3 includes Greenwich Village, Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen, unveiled a rodent control program that will, as he put it, “harness the raw power of nature” to combat the city’s persistent rat infestation issue.

In a bold move aimed at reducing the reliance on traditional pest control methods, Councilmember Bottcher announced he will partner with leading wildlife experts to introduce a large-scale local deployment of natural predators in the form of nonvenomous snakes.

Under the innovative scheme, between 10,000 to 20,000 corn snakes will be strategically released in parks and residential neighborhoods throughout District 3, where they will prey on rats, as well as their smaller cousins, mice, controlling the rodent population in an environmentally friendly manner.

Rats will be on the run once Erik Bottcher’s plan goes into effect.

With finely tuned hunting instincts honed over millions of years, thousands of serpentine predators will methodically penetrate every nook and cranny of City Council District 3 and reach every place that rats and mice have been known to nest, including tree beds, flower boxes, parked cars and interior apartment walls.

Local small dog owners need not fear that the voracious “Rat Patrol Pack” will target their Chihuahuas and mini-Rotweilers.

Per a press lease on the new initiative: “Through a rigorous training regimen overseen by expert herpetologists and animal behavior specialists, the snakes will be taught to distinguish between rats and other animals, ensuring that they exclusively target rodent populations, which will help address concerns expressed by small dog owners.”

In situations where hard-to-reach interiors of city blocks cannot be accessed easily by the snake SWAT team, drones will be utilized to drop the ravenous reptiles into the backyards of apartment buildings.

Mayor Adams has often urged New Yorkers to “step up” and pitch in on key issues facing the city, and Bottcher is doing the same for Operation Corn Snake. In cold winter months, residents will be encouraged to welcome the critters inside their homes. In an added benefit, the slithery visitors are expected to control mouse populations within residences.

“I don’t know about you, but if I had to choose between coming face to face with a rat or a snake on Horatio Street, I’d probably go with the snake,” Bottcher stated. “I’d like to thank the snakes for giving us a hand with the rat problem, but I won’t, because they don’t have hands.”

In the case that the plan is too successful, Bottcher’s initiative has a provision for that, as well.

“To be honest, we have concerns, because a mature female corn snake can produce as many as 100 offspring per year, and they are extremely aggressive when approached from behind” said Karen Rattlebottom, executive director of the National Organization of Python Enthusiasts (N.O.P.E.) “However, we appreciate Councilmember Bottcher’s commitment to introduce turkey buzzards to Manhattan to help control the forthcoming snake infestation.”

Bottcher has secured support for the snake scenario from a key Council ally.

“I encourage all New Yorkers to show our new reptilian allies a warm welcome — while also maintaining a safe distance from them at all times,” said Shaun Abreu, chairperson of the City Council Sanitation Committee. “The next time a rat wants to rifle through someone’s trash, they better think twice, because there’s probably gonna be at least one snake in there.”

A first-of-its-kind communication system is being developed to interact with the snakes and provide them with necessary instructions and feedback. While snakes to not yet understand human language, they can respond to certain sounds and vibrations. The system under development will emit signals that guide the snakes and encourage specific behaviors.

The program will commence on April Fool’s Day 2025.


  1. Carol Frances Yost Carol Frances Yost April 5, 2024

    I think a lot of people would be scared by the snakes–especially out-of-towners who won’t know what’s going on. At least, signs should be posted to let people know what’s going on. I think people would be frightened.

  2. Barry Drogin Barry Drogin April 2, 2024

    A very clever added bonus was that the URL for their press release strung together “program” and “using” to say “amusing”. I have to presume that was intentional.

  3. n pasley n pasley April 2, 2024

    April fool! very clever.

    • Snkes, typos, rats, oh my! Snkes, typos, rats, oh my! April 12, 2024

      Am I the only one annoyed by the typo? “While snakes to not yet understand human language, they can respond to certain sounds and vibrations.”

  4. Jo Jo April 2, 2024

    This sounds too much like the Cane Toads of Australia, that were brought there to control a similar problem. Now the landscape is covered with millions of these hugh creatures. And I don’t much like the idea of the turkey buzzards, because who’s to say that they won’t go after small dogs? I think more targeted use of individual corn snakes that could be rounded up after they’ve done a specific job sounds more reasonable.

    • Carolyn Carolyn April 16, 2024

      It’s an April Fool joke.

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