But they congregate, especially in the subways.
Now as part of a campaign to remove rats the transit workers union has picked the subway's ugliest rat.
The picture is worth a thousand moans.
"He looks like he got electrocuted. He was really well travelled," said Maurice Jenkins.
End the rat travels! says Jenkins, and the Transport Workers Union.
No more scurrying through stations or along trains.
The TWU's photo contest: "New Yorkers deserve a rat free subway system" asks riders to see something and snap something.
That's what Michael Spivak did when he saw the winner beneath 7th avenue.
"It was disgusting and it would make a nice photo," he said.
He won a few laughs and free rides for a month.
The picture is an attention-grabber and union workers say it's proof that serious cleanup work needs to be done.
They want a commitment from the MTA to help minimize the rat problem.
"They've installed 2 more trains to pick the refuse up at night, but they still haven't put the personnel in place to keep it totally clean, but it's a start," adds Jenkins.
And since the rats remain, so too will the TWU contest.
The next winner gets a $500 gift card to a camera store.
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