Chicago Rat Hole Becomes Viral Urban Sensation

The rodent-shaped sidewalk imprint has captured hearts and imaginations on social media but has proven a headache for neighbors.

2 minute read

January 30, 2024, 6:00 AM PST

By Mary Hammon @marykhammon


Rat shaped indentation on pavement, filled with coins

The Chicago rat hole filled with offerings, consisting of mostly coins and a dime bag with estrogen. | JunLpermode / Wikimedia Commons

All it took was one post on social media platform X in early January and within two weeks a “mildly interesting” pavement impression on a residential sidewalk in the Chicago neighborhood of Roscoe Village has become a viral, iconic local tourism site, writes Rhea Nayyar for Hypoallergenic. Dubbed the “Chicago Rat Hole,” the rodent-shaped imprint in a sidewalk panel is likely the result of a rat (or squirrel) falling forcefully onto recently-poured concrete.

Nayyer reports that hundreds of people have flocked to the pay tribute to the unidentified rodent, who has been been posthumously been named “Splatatouille” by the Lakeview Roscoe Village's Chamber of Commerce, according to Wikipedia, sometimes enough to form lines. It started simply enough, with people throwing coins into it like a miniaturized Trevi Fountain, but quickly spiraled into cigarettes, flowers, cards, and more. It has been the site of one couple’s wedding, another’s engagement, and—much to local residents’ consternation—regular parties.

“You can always count on Chicago to find something silly and pedestrian and celebrate it until it reaches sainthood!” one resident told Hyperallergenic.

“But considering that the Rat Hole sits on a residential street, the loitering, littering, and loud noises have become a nuisance for the locals. One neighbor even took to Reddit to bullet-point out how the Rat Hole frenzy has impacted their life, pleading with the public to stop honking, performing “weird-ass rituals,” partying, and leaving empty liquor bottles behind,” Nayyer writes.

Because of the disruption, the local alderman recently announced that his office is looking at replacing the slab.

Tuesday, January 23, 2024 in Hyperallergic

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