The city will be starting the Integrated Pest Management Academy, aka The School Where People Will Learn How To Get Rid of Rats, with a federal grant from the CDC. The college will teach "exterminators, rodent inspectors and other city workers better ways to get rid of rats." In the press conference, Assistant Commissioner for veterinary and pest control services, Edgar Butts, said that the biggest misconception of catching rats is that you leave bait by a rat hole and then seal it up: "Rats are intelligent animals. You have to put the bait deeply in the hole as far as you can put it - [otherwise] the rat will throw the bait back out."

In other ratty news, the city is working on a "Rat Index" where inspectors go to targeted neighborhoods, searhing for vermin and rat burrows block by block; they've already started in the Bronx, and will head into northern Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn. The Daily News reports that City Councilman Bill Perkins wants a separate agency that would deal solely with rats. Rats Commissioner, now that would be some title. Gothamist hopes that the rats won't adapt once again and open their own school, How To Stay in New York College, although at this point, rats probably run Ph.D. programs in that.

Gothamist highly recommends Robert Sullican's creepy but fascinating book Rats: Observations on the History and Habitat of the City's Most Unwanted Inhabitants.