A four-foot-long rat was recently discovered hiding near a British children’s playground and now authorities are warning there may be massive infestations of super rats by the end of the spring break holiday.
The rodents of unusual size are thought to be immune to poison and pesticides and are drawn to empty homes and office buildings where they can root through trash to find food while remaining undisturbed.
The warm, wet U.K. winter has led to a massive infestation of super rats and now the rodents are thought to outnumber humans by three-to-one, Justin Holloway, founder of U.K.-based Prokill Thames West Pet Control told the Express.
“Super-rats are those that have genetic variants that are far more tolerant to the most commonly used poisons. They often end up being bigger simply because their resilience leads to them living longer and eating more.”
A massive four-foot long, 25-pound super rat was found earlier this month lurking near a children’s playground by 46-year-old gas engineer Tony Smith, reports the Express.
“This is the largest rat I’ve ever seen in my entire life. I’ve got a cat and a Jack Russell and it was bigger than both of those put together.”
Experts think the four-foot-long rat may have been an African pouch rat brought into the country as a pet, which later escaped its home through some accident. The massive rodents of unusual size are extremely intelligent, and are so big they are usually kept on a leash when kept as pets.
More concerning to U.K. residents, however, is the massive number of two-foot-long rodents thought to infest the country.
The giant rats have developed immunity to over-the-counter poisons and pesticides residents have put out and now the creatures sometimes eat them as snacks, which only helps them grow bigger and stronger.
Pest control experts fear the U.K. giant rat population will soar to more than 20 million by the summer, Simon Forrester, chief executive of the British Pest Control Association, told the Express.
“The rodents have become resistant and, in some cases, immune to off-the-shelf poisons to the point where they’re actually feeding off the toxic pellets, which means their size and strength is increasing.”
British scientists are now encouraging the European Union to authorize stronger poisons to contain the poison immune giant rats.
The super rats carry diseases including Weill’s disease, which can cause jaundice and kidney failure. The giant rats were first seen in Southern England in the 1990s and have now spread across at least 17 counties in the U.K.; they’re especially fond of farming areas, Forrester told the Express.
“It’s only natural that their numbers are expanding and there could be a significant risk to public health if their population is left unchecked.”
The monstrous rodents can sneak into a home through unscreened vents or gaps in roof edges; they often use plumbing and toilet pipes as a way to gain entry to buildings and then nest under the floor or in the walls.
One British landlord in central Grimsby found five of the two-foot-long giant rats in his home after they chewed through the floor boards of the house, reports the Express.
“The damage they did was something like you see on Tom and Jerry.”
[AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa]