The rats in Quebedeaux Park are so bold they walk right up you. One little guy ventured within a few feet of our cameras, in full view of downtown workers.
A closer look in the bushes reveals a half dozen or more baby rats and their mother, unfazed by removal efforts.
We asked rat control expert Norman Nelms with ABC Home and Comm. Services to show us why Quebedeaux Park is so popular with rodents.
"You are looking at food, shelter and water," he said.
Nelms says Quebedeaux Park provides everything rats need. The rodents live under the decking around the park, get water from the fountain, and trash canisters provide plenty of feeding opportunities.
Nelms said, "Keep in mind, when you saw these rodents it was broad daylight. That is not their normal act. They are nocturnal. They should be out at night. When they come out in the day you end up with a horrendous problem usually behind that scene."
Harris County Precinct 1 is responsible for the park. Officials say the rats are visible now because of the maintenance taking place in the park that started last month.
"When the construction began here July 24th, but before July 24th our office has never received any complaints from anyone about rats in this park," said Precinct 1 Park Superintendent Chambers Washington.
But those who work downtown say the rats have been around for a lot longer.
Harris County District Court Judge Denise Bradley said, "I have been in this building 25 years and they are the same rats that have been around for 20 or 25 years."
Now that rat reports are on the rise, Precinct 1 has decided to do more to get rid of the rodents.
Washington said, "We have spoken with our exterminator company to add extra bait and look other things that can be done to rid the park of the rats."
Experts say while it isn't unusual to see rats downtown, when they come out during the day, it indicates a bigger problem.