More ‘giant rats’ appear to have been spotted, after pictures of sizeable rodents discovered in or near the homes of people across England have emerged.
The over-sized rats can grow up to two feet long and have already made appearances in Sweden and Iran, before being found in Liverpool and then Birmingham, where the city has been plagued with “rats as large as small cats”according to The Birmingham Mail.
City pest control officer Colin Watts told the newspaper he had seen a 2 ft-long rodent, which was as “wide as a brick”, prowling the streets, while the number of calls made by homeowners to report rats on their property rose by almost 300 over the past 12 months.
In Cornwall, a rodent measuring roughly 48 centimetres (19 inches) from nose to tail was also discovered in a family’s back garden. It had been feasting on the family dog’s dry food which had been kept in their shed in Penryn, Kirstie Rollason said.
Ms Rollason said the creature was so big, even the dog was scared to approach it. “Luckily, we haven’t come across any of its siblings,” she added.
Meanwhile, a giant rodent discovered in Gravesend on Tuesday may in fact be another animal all together, according to The News Shopper.
A picture of a ‘rat’ so big it barely squeezed into a shovel was tweeted by BBC Radio 2 but Ben Johnson, who is director of Direct Pest Solution said: “I don’t think it’s a rat, I believe it’s a coypu, a bit like a beaver.”
The first giant rat to hit the headlines was a 15-inch rodent caught in a Swedish family’s kitchen which had gnawed its way there through cement and wood.
Signe Bengtsson-Korsås told the Swedish edition of The Local that first contact was made when she went to empty the bin under the sink, only to be faced with the huge creature.
“It was right there in our rubbish bin, a mighty monster. I was petrified. I couldn’t believe such a big rat could exist,” she said.
However, experts are attempting to quell fears surrounding the “plague” of super-sized rats, after it was reported that the animals are apparently resistant to poison.
Instead, a bigger dose of the lethal stuff is needed, according to Oliver Madge, chief executive officer of the British Pest Control Association, who said the rodents are bigger because they have more access to food waste building up in cities.
“It’s not so much [a] super rat in terms of being 2ft long and two stone in weight,” he told The Guardian.
“Food is the key. They have a better reproduction rate and a better chance of survival. [The new rat is] not super – but it’s certainly a strong species coming through because they’ve got the food and the climate is milder.”