NEW YORK CITY– A rat scurrying across the subway tracks in New York City was mistaken for a lion on Friday, causing widespread panic. Witnesses reported seeing the rat on the tracks at West 4th Street. Alan Trucy, 31, was waiting for the Brooklyn bound F train when he spotted the rat. “Out of the corner of my eye, I saw this enormous thing moving below me,” said Treacy. “There are always rats on the tracks, but this was the biggest God damn animal I’ve ever seen.” African tourist Shaka Moguto also spotted the animal, and he swore that it was a lion. “I was born and raised in the Congo,” said Moguto. “I’ve spent my entire life running away from lions, so I can say with absolute authority that that was what was on those tracks.” Moguto, who had been carrying a spear at the time, threw it at the rat, narrowly missing it. He then ran up the stairs and out onto West 4th Street.
But despite Moguto’s firsthand knowledge of lions, according to animal control expert Kieron Slattery, the animal that had caused such panic was nothing more than a humongous rat. Slattery, who had been called upon by the NYPD to help resolve the crisis, requested that the MTA temporarily suspend all Brooklyn bound F trains–as well as downtown V trains, which run on the same track–until order could be restored. Minutes later, Slattery shot the rat with seven tranquilizer darts, finally causing it to collapse. “It was a close call,” said Slattery. “Despite the fact that I kept shooting it, the rat continued to charge towards me. And I only had seven tranquilizer darts in my gun.” The rat, which weighed more than 400 pounds was removed from the tracks and later placed in the Bronx Zoo. When asked whether or not he’s ever seen a rat of that size, Slattery responded, “No, but you have to remember that West 4th Street is where that rat infested Taco Bell is located, so I’m not surprised.”
April 30, 2007