Last night's season finale of Hoarders saved the most extreme for last. Glen is a gentle, pretty chill guy who has been hoarding rats. Rats! What started as three caged pets ballooned into a population of thousands, overrunning his house.
As someone who lives in NYC, it's difficult to understand how someone can view rats as pets and not pests. It's even more befuddling that someone could look at such a large number of rats as a community instead of an infestation. However, Glen loves his rats, and thinks of them as his children, despite the fact that they have completely destroyed his property—chewing away at the walls and furniture—and essentially elbowed him out of his own home, forcing him to sleep on a chair in his shed to avoid having his hair pulled out for their nests and his eyeballs licked at for their moisture. It sounds like many people's nightmare, but Glen finds the animals soothing, particularly when they're eating.
Although they are a domesticated breed, the amount of rats living in his home presented a health hazard—not just for Glen, but for the rats. Fighting over territory, they ended up mortally wounding each other, with some having such severe injuries that they needed to be put down. (One rat got bitten in the balls so bad, his intestines were ripped out). The Humane Society stepped in and safely removed over 2000 rats from Glen's home, which were then adopted out, an ongoing process, with over 500 rats placed in homes thus far. Because many of the rats were living in his walls, Glen found another 350 rats after the crew had left, which he then gave away. He kept one—his favorite, known as Commander Whitehead—as a caged pet.
Glen's issue with hoarding the animals began after he didn't properly confront and process the sudden death of his wife. You would think that having a pet—which has a finite amount of time on earth—would help someone deal with such an issue. However, due to the sheer number of rats, he couldn't even spot the deceased ones until the cleanup crew came in. Interestingly, that was a turning point for Glen, a cathartic moment that helped him deal with his grief.