If you live in New York, you have to develop a pretty high tolerance for rats. They're all over the city's underground subway stations and their glowing, beady eyes are often seen in the trash that has been put on the sidewalk for pick up. But even the most hardened New Yorker doesn't want a rat anywhere near their personal space.

And that's where internet prankster Ed Bassmaster comes in. Armed with a rat puppet, he took to the streets of Manhattan pretending to thrust his "pet" on unsuspecting pedestrians.

"It's a hand rat," he would say when asked why he was carrying around such a vile creature.

While Ed Bassmaster certainly startled a few Manhattanites, overall everybody handled themselves pretty well. One fellow even let the fake rat nuzzle his Santa Claus-like beard before questioning Bassmaster's mental health. In fact, the best rat-induced freakout may have come from a chihuahua.

But that just might be the canine's shock in realizing he wasn't looking in a mirror.