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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

4/14/2014 (10 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Rodents as long as two feet in length turning up with greater frequency in bins

"Rats -- the size of cats" is a lyric in David Bowie's classic rock hymn "Diamond Dogs." It's a terrifying, dystopian vision that unfortunately coming true in Great Britain today, with rodents as large as two feet in length. Even worse, these monster rats have been found to be immune to poison.

Nationwide, councils have reported a rise in the number of rats being reported. Birmingham has the highest number of call-outs with 5,100 in the past year.

Nationwide, councils have reported a rise in the number of rats being reported. Birmingham has the highest number of call-outs with 5,100 in the past year.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/14/2014 (10 months ago)

Published in Europe

Keywords: Rats, United Kingdom, poison


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - One such giant rat was caught and photographed in Liverpool, measuring two feet long from its nose to its tail. Caught on an industrial estate by a brave pest controller from Whelan Services, the rodent was captured by one of the country's largest independent pest prevention companies.

All locations where Whelan Services has offices -- London, Liverpool and Hampshire have reported a rise in the number of super rats spotted.

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This is the giant menacing super rat caught by a brave pest controller from Whelan Services.

This is the giant menacing super rat caught by a brave pest controller from Whelan Services.


Similar rats are likely to become more common in the U.K. as more households get careless about how they throw out their rubbish, and discard left-over fast food. The giant rodents are becoming increasingly resistant to poison.

Conventional blood-thinning poison used to kill the rats is not working as it used to. Pest controllers are now calling on the government to tighten up its response to the monster-size vermin. They're asking the European Union to approve stronger "third generation poison" to kill them.

Monster rodent: Pest control experts warn that these rodents are becoming increasingly resistant to

Monster rodent: Pest control experts warn that these rodents are becoming increasingly resistant to poison.


"We're seeing an upsurge in rat call-outs, it's gone up significantly by about 15 per cent over the past year," Merseyside pest controller Sean Whelan from Whelan Services says.

"It's been very good for us. But I'm not entirely sure what's causing it, it could be the weather, it's been very cold and it's been very wet.

"They're twice as large as they once were. It's definitely not uncommon to see rats the size of a cat.

"The problem is that they're feeding more than they used to. They're feeding off leftover junk food that we throw away.

This huge rodent had to be removed by hand from the ceiling after the trap failed to work due to its

This huge rodent had to be removed by hand from the ceiling after the trap failed to work due to its size in Dublin.


"If there is vermin, 99.9 per cent of the time it's our fault. We're basically feeding them and they get used to it. So they keep coming around us to get more food," he added.

It's a rural problem that his since spread to urban areas. "The rats that we're seeing in the city used to be the ones roaming round  the countryside, in agriculture, out on farms, but they've migrated to towns - now they live in the city."

Whelan says the "monster rats" are in every town throughout the country but there has been an increase in sightings in Liverpool, Birmingham and London.

Rat poison, instigated in the Sixties was based on the blood-thinning agent warfarin. It worked by draining the blood from the rat and killing it.

The giant monster rat was found in a family residence in Kingswood, south Dublin last week.

The giant monster rat was found in a family residence in Kingswood, south Dublin last week.


Pest controllers today use bromadiolone, but both are proving to be ineffective on some monster vermin.

"We find that the rats are becoming resistant to poison," Whelan said. "We used to use Warafin when I first started out 23 years ago. It was the first generation of rat poisoning and used to work but doesn't do much now.

"We need new, stronger poisons as they've grown used to what we use."

Rats in the major urban center, the City of London have also developed a higher immunity.

Wildlife advocates have also raised concerns that it could wreak havoc on animal and birds.

Pest control experts warn that there will be even more monster rats found if they are allowed to feast on food near junk food shops, restaurants and household bin areas outside blocks of flats.

Rats also thrive in damp and soggy weather, of which the U.K. has seen plenty during the wettest year on record. Vermin are also swapping rural areas for the big city.

The government's austerity measures have been blamed for making the problem far worse - after cuts to the budget for pest control.

More alarmingly, rats can carry illnesses which can be passed to humans, including Weil's disease, which has flu-like symptoms but can lead to jaundice and kidney failure.

Nationwide, councils have reported a rise in the number of rats being reported. Birmingham has the highest number of call-outs with 5,100 in the past year.

Liverpool's city pest control officer, Colin Watts said that one of the biggest he's seen was 14 or 15 inches long but that was just the body, without the tail. He claims that it would have been over two feet with its tail and compared it to the size of a small cat.

Other huge rodents have been caught recently in homes in Stockholm and Dublin, where one rat was trapped by pest control after terrorizing an Irish family in south Dublin.

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