HEALTH

Occupy D.C. has rats, and here's photographic proof

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(Photo: Joshua Yospyn)

On Monday, nearly every news outlet in Washington — and others quite far from here — reported that the rat population at the Occupy DC encampment in McPherson Square had, in the words of Mohammad N. Akhter, the director of the District’s Department of Health, "exploded." Exploded! I had visions of flaming rats hurtling from trash cans and sewer grates, bursting wherever they landed, their guts Pollocking tents, protest signs, and acoustic guitars.

Horrific, yes, but also something I had to see for myself. Not by going to McPherson Square myself, mind you, but by sending photographer Joshua Yospyn. His charge: to photograph rats, which, if indeed they are exploding, shouldn't be very difficult to do. And yet, rats are rats — they sneak, they hide, they skitter.

Yospyn prevailed.

"There are rats at McPherson Square," he wrote in an email to me. "I saw one this afternoon (wasn't fast enough to get it) and several late evening today. They are hard as hell to photograph and I look like I'm going the bathroom on someone's tent while I huddle on the ground, waiting to flash them, in various crevices." 

 

occupy dc rats

 

Yospyn said he "might need a minder" if he does this again, but fear not, Joshua. We won't ask you to do this again, unless of course the rats do begin exploding, literally. Seeing such a spectacle has shot to #1 on my bucket list. Until then, this video — which is not nearly as graphic as you'd imagine, or hope — will have to do:

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