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The Maryland Curiosity Bureau

What’s with the rat bumper sticker?

rat bumper stickers
An assortment of Baltimore Rat bumper stickers on cars round Baltimore (Photo credit: Aaron Henkin / WYPR)

How did the rat become Baltimore’s unofficial mascot? Who’s behind this ubiquitous image? Why is it so popular? And what exactly is it supposed to mean as a symbol?

This episode, we meet:

Matt Fouse, rat hunter and founder of Ratczar

Toya Sykes-Coates, Chief of Property Management and the Baltimore Department of Public Works and previous head of Baltimore’s Rat Rubout Program

Dawn Biehler, Associate Professor of Geography and Environmental Studies at UMBC and author of Pests in the City: Flies, Bedbugs, Cockroaches, and Rats

Aaron creates and produces original radio programs and podcasts for WYPR. His current project is The Maryland Curiosity Bureau. Aaron's neighborhood documentary series, Out of the Blocks, earned the 2018 national Edward R Murrow Award. His past work includes the long-running weekly cultural program, The Signal, and the Smithsonian Folkways Recordings series, Tapestry of the Times. Aaron's stories have aired nationally on NPR's Morning Edition and All Things Considered.