If you’ve walked through Dupont Circle on a warm evening, you’ve probably seen some of DC’s most vibrant wildlife in action: rats—as big as squirrels—cavorting in the grass and scuttling under benches, sometimes grazing unsuspecting people’s shoes. The Yelp community has noticed. People have been posting glowing business reviews for a tourist attraction that looks like the Dupont Circle fountain, yet someone has dubbed the Dupont Circle Rat Sanctuary.
The first review went up in February 2014 by a user (possibly the creator of the business listing) who awarded five stars for the experience of witnessing nature “up close, frightening and possibly rabid.”
Since then, including in an uptick in comments this month, most reviewers have praised the abundance, outgoing personalities, and energy of the rodents, who live in underground burrows and subsist on people’s discarded restaurant leftovers. The overall rating is 3.5 stars. That’s respectable, especially considering the one-star reviews from citizens legitimately trying to complain about the city’s rat problem—“How could you let this precious park sink so low?”—and one guy who was disappointed that he didn’t see any rats.
Thanks to the legitimizing power of Yelp, Dupont Circle Rat Sanctuary has been picked up as a destination on Apple Maps (where it’s marked “Kid Friendly”) and appears in business listings on districtofcolumbia.com and washingtondc.com.