ROSCOE VILLAGE — Chicago is the rattiest city in the nation — and has a rat-shaped hole in the sidewalk to show for it.
Local artist and comedian Winslow Dumaine was walking to Transistor, a shop in Roscoe Village that sells some of his work, when he stumbled upon what appeared to be an imprint of a rodent on the sidewalk.
He snapped a photo of the creature’s cemented outline and uploaded it to the social media platform X, along with the caption: “Had to make a pilgrimage to the Chicago Rat Hole.”
In two days, Dumaine’s post received nearly five million views, over 135,000 likes and hundreds of comments, with some arguing that the hole looks like it was made by a squirrel, but most united in amusement.
“Does it count as a fossil,” one X user pondered.
“Need coordinates,” another commented, racking up hundreds of likes.
The rat hole’s coordinates are approximately 41.9434047, -87.6768341 — or near 1918 W. Roscoe St.
Dumaine said he’s been on social media long enough to understand what kind of post might “blow up,” and this was one of them.
“I had an inkling of a feeling, that it’s such a universally funny thing,” he said.
Neighbor Regina Pearson, who moved to Roscoe Village in the summer, found out about the rat hole on social media. She walked about a half-mile through Tuesday’s sleet and snow to see the “cartoonish” imprint for herself — which she said is “absolutely” worth the hype.
“I could’ve driven here, but I was like, it’s not really a pilgrimage if I drive,” Pearson said. “It’s just a fun, silly thing to do.”
While Dumaine has had posts go viral in the past, he said they’ve never garnered quite this much attention — from old friends, neighbors, news outlets and even a local distillery for a rat hole-themed collaboration.
“I can’t say too much right now, but there have been a few times in my life where fortune has very strangely smiled upon me, and this is probably one of them,” he said.
Dumaine said the rat hole post has also had a positive impact on his artistic endeavors.
“Every time I have a tweet blow up, even if it’s a little thing, I’ll put a little post under it like, ‘Hey, look at my stuff,’” he said. “Because of that, I probably paid my rent in a day. It’s pretty silly.”
Dumaine isn’t certain how long the hole has been there, but he said he’s heard it dates back a few decades. One person on social media said they spotted it in 2016, and there’s a Reddit thread about the rat hole from 11 years ago.
“Somewhere a construction worker, who has a strange sense of humor and cares little for the quality of his work, keeps a rubber rat with his masonry tools,” one Reddit user surmised of the hole’s origins.
Dumaine has his own theories, all involving a rat falling from high elevation.
“It’s kind of like this perfect combination of factors. The cement was obviously very wet for a rat to be able to land that deeply in it,” he said. “It probably just landed and then was covered in cement and then crawled out. Because there are little scratch marks near the hole.
“The other theory … was that [a rat] was cast out of heaven like Lucifer and it landed in Chicago, which is rat hell.”
Prints like this can last for thousands of years, Dumaine noted.
“That rat hole is going to be there for a long time.”
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