Rats The Size Of Cats: Where Have These Beasts Come From?

An OMG RatLarger than Life Rats

In the past year, there have been a number of news reports concerning the rise of giant or ‘super’ rats. Some reports focused on Liverpool, where a pest control official took photographs of his catch: a 14-15 inch long rat. This has been joined by photographs of other rats, including one in Gravesend and another in Birmingham.

The stories are not just confined to England, however, as there are also stories of giant rats being found in Sweden, and in China. Pest control experts have said that these rats are now as big as a cat, and many have been resistant to the traditional poisons used previously.

Rats more than 10 inches long (not including the tail) have been spotted all over the country, and some have even been more than 2 feet long with the tail. Standard rats measure just under 1ft long from nose to the tip of the tail, so clearly there has been some reason why rats are suddenly much larger.

There have been some dramatic photographs showing how some homes have been affected by giant rats, and also tales of students coming home to find large rats feasting on left-over takeaway meals.

Are Floods to Blame?

Many rat catchers are connecting the recent rise in call-outs to the extreme flooding that has been seen across the UK. As traditional sources of food for rats are covered with water, they are travelling further into cities in order to survive. Flood waters have driven naturally larger rats from wasteland and abandoned houses, and caused them to move into homes and parks.

Rats will often congregate near water, so city ponds have become a particularly popular place for them to stay. Large cities have always been popular with rats, and certainly Londoners will confirm seeing rats in the Underground for many decades. Therefore, at least one of the explanations for the booming rat numbers is simply an event causing more rats to appear on the surface, or in crowded areas.

Certainly the connection between the floods and the rise in the rat population as a whole can’t be denied.

A Litter Problem?

Another serious problem, which has led to the rise of giant rats, is the amount of litter available on UK streets. Fortnightly bin collections mean that there is a lot more waste available for rats, particularly in crowded areas. Strong-smelling items attract rats, so takeaways and junk food are always likely to bring in more animals.

One of the reasons for the sudden spotting of much larger rats is that they have become obese: just like humans, the rats have been gorging on junk dinners and snacks and have become much larger as a result.

Litter also provides excellent breeding-grounds for rats. With cities packing a lot of people into small areas, and with bins overflowing, the rat population is growing naturally thanks to an abundance of food. Larger rats would appear as a consequence of this good nourishment – they are simply larger because they are eating well.

Tony Bond is the founder of North London Pest Control who offer a quick, reliable and professional service of the removal of pests from your home. 

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