Fact Check: The Truth About That 'Giant Rat' Supposedly Caught on Film in New York City Bodega



A video shared online in June 2024 authentically showed a giant rat on the loose in a New York City bodega.


Rating: Miscaptioned
Rating: Miscaptioned


Rodent experts told Snopes the large rodent in the video is either a muskrat or a nutria, not a rat.


On June 12, 2024, an X user posted a video purportedly showing a giant rat on the loose in a New York City bodega.

The caption read: "Rats in New York City are built different."

Similar posts appeared elsewhere on X in June, as well as on Facebook. The claim was also in numerous TikTok videos in September and October 2023.

One Reddit user called the animal a "New Yorker Rat" in October 2023.

Together, the posts had amassed more than 11 million views at the time of this writing.

However, although the video is genuine and the creature in the footage is unquestionably a rodent, four rodent experts told Snopes it is not a rat, which is why we have rated this claim and video as "Miscaptioned."

Kansas State University Associate Professor Adam Ahlers, who had researched muskrat populations, told Snopes via email the animal was a muskrat, an amphibious rodent.

"That is a muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus). I'm 100 percent sure of this," Ahlers said.

Likewise, Siena College Associate Professor Tom Giarla, who studied the evolutionary history of rodents, told Snopes via email it was "definitely not a rat (Rattus norvegicus)."

He said the video quality made it difficult to be certain, but it could be a muskrat or, due to its whitish whiskers and large body size, a nutria — another amphibious rodent and an invasive species in North America.

Professor Jane Hurst of the University of Liverpool, who had also researched rodents, told Snopes via email: "This is not a brown rat (Rattus norvegicus) but looks like a muskrat from the tail which looks hairless and keeled in the video (Ondatra zibethicus)."

Meanwhile, Steven Belmain, professor of ecology at the University of Greenwich's Natural Resources Institute, told Snopes via email the creature "looks most like a muskrat." However, he added, some people loosely define large rodents, such as muskrats, as "rats," despite them not technically being rats.

Snopes also contacted the American Veterinary Medical Association, the United States Department for Agriculture and other ecological experts for confirmation and will update this article if we receive responses.


Adam Ahlers, PhD. https://hnr.k-state.edu/about/people/faculty/ahlers-adam/. Accessed 12 June 2024.

Ahlers, Adam A., and Edward J. Heske. 'Empirical Evidence for Declines in Muskrat Populations across the United States'. The Journal of Wildlife Management, vol. 81, no. 8, Nov. 2017, pp. 1408–16. DOI.org (Crossref), https://doi.org/10.1002/jwmg.21328.

Muskrat | Description, Habitat, Pictures, Tail, & Facts | Britannica. 30 May 2024, https://www.britannica.com/animal/muskrat.

Nutria | Description, Invasive Species, Muskrat, & Facts | Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/animal/nutria. Accessed 12 June 2024.

'Thomas Giarla'. Siena College, https://www.siena.edu/faculty-and-staff/person/thomas-giarla/. Accessed 12 June 2024.


June 13, 2024: This report was updated to include a comment from Professor Jane Hurst.