Sewer Rats!

I traveled to Greenbelt, Maryland a few weeks ago to give a plasma physics seminar at NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center. One day after work, I wanted to get some dinner. So, I walked from the Holiday Inn where I was staying to a nearby grocery store. I cut through the back parking lot, where each business in the shopping plaza had its own dumpster. After passing several dumpsters I heard some little squeaking, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw something surprisingly large scramble along the ground. A sewer rat! How do I know it was a “sewer rat”? Well it emerged from the sewer:

Rat emerging from the sewer

Rat emerging from the sewer

Sorry for the blur; these things move pretty quickly. This one was especially beefy:
beefy rat

I’d guess this beast probably weighed in around 2 lbs., and would occupy most of the volume of a small shoebox. I could not look away, and after a few minutes three or four more rats sallied forth from the sewer. Here you can see a brief instance of rat  socialization followed by scurrying:

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