Although it’s been around for years, a rat-shaped hole in a Chicago sidewalk, speculated to have actually been caused by a squirrel, recently went viral after it was featured in a post on X, the site formerly called Twitter.
The post, which has been viewed more than 5 million times, inspired residents and non-residents alike to make a trek out to the residential area of Roscoe Village, according to NBC News.
What do tourists do at the ‘rat hole’?
Visitors have begun making offerings to the rat, like candles, coins, flowers, cinnamon rolls and a small tomb with the photo of “the rat,” lovingly named Chimley, per The New York Times.
Visits to the rat have also included serious events. Molly Widstrom and Michael Obler, while planning a couples trip to Chicago, came across the photos of the rat online. Once they arrived, Obler proposed to Widstrom inches away from the rat hole, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
The two, who had spoken of marriage before the trip, decided engagement photos at the rat hole would be absolutely hilarious. “We know we’re gonna get married, we can have fun with a jokey engagement,” said Obler to the Sun-TImes, noting that a more traditional proposal is still in the works.
Another couple took it a step further and married at the unique landmark.
Raj Sarathy and his now-husband wanted to get married at an “iconic Chicago monument,” per the Chicago Sun-Times.
“At the end of the day it is just an imprint of a rat on the sidewalk, but I think there is so much more to it. The rat hole is a legacy of Chicago,” Sarathy said.
What do the neighborhood residents think?
Though the rat-shaped hole is a viral sensation, tourist traffic has tormented the people who actually live there, according to NBC News.
“People (are) out there drinking, yelling, playing music and taking pictures on the ground next to the rat hole for clout. I know they’re having fun, and I don’t want to be anyone’s party pooper, but also, get off my stoop. This is my house. I’m just trying to have a quiet weekend at home, and this is a residential area,” said a woman whose home is next to the rat impression to NBC News.
Due to complaints from neighborhood residents, and numerous calls to police, the rat hole may be removed. The Chicago Transportation Department was contacted about removing the concrete sidewalk slab and city workers were later seen measuring the sidewalk, according to NBC News.
“I’m sad that it’s probably going to be removed now. We liked the rat. We thought it was funny. We thought it was cute. I walked past I almost every day and smiled. … We just wanted things to go back to normal. But sadly, I don’t think that’s going to happen at this point,” one woman said.
The rat hole, which was recently filled in with plaster or concrete by an unknown party, has since been dug out by visitors, according to The New York Times.