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This Popular San Francisco Playground is Crawling with Rats

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Although we have yet to see residents falling into rat-infested sinkholes, San Francisco has no shortage of rats. In fact, San Francisco ranks as the fifth “rattiest” city in the U.S., according to an Orkin Pest Control report released in 2020.

Just yesterday, several rat sightings were reported by families at Helen Diller Civic Center Playground, located at 55 Larkin Street near San Francisco City Hall.

Children at the playground reported seeing a “big, white rat” about 8 inches long. According to ABC7, “the white rat isn’t alone.” There have been several sightings of rats scuttling across the playground in the late afternoon hours, causing concern among parents.

“A little disconcerting, especially for the kids,” one father at the playground told ABC7. “Hopefully they can maintain or find some sort of sanitary practices.”

Parents are primarily concerned about the transmission of various diseases, as rats can transmit disease both directly through bite wounds and contaminated droppings, as well as indirectly through ticks and fleas.

(Although rare, parents should take note of symptoms that may be attributable to rat-bite fever, including rashes, muscle pain, headaches, vomiting, and fever.)

City workers speculate that the infestation may be related to the growth of bushes in the area, formerly trimmed by the San Francisco Recreation and Parks department.

If there’s an extermination plan in motion, it has yet to be publicized.

Meantime, I don’t think there’s any need to remind San Franciscans to watch where they step.

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Lydia Sviatoslavsky

Lydia Sviatoslavsky

Lydia Sviatoslavsky covers culture and curiosities for Bay City News and Broke-Ass Stuart. She publishes artist interviews and experimental writing at You can find her on Instagram at @rot_thought.

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