06
Feb

Mutant 20-inch super rats ‘closing in’ on Wiltshire town and can’t be killed with poison

A swarm of mutant  rats that are immune to poison is ‘closing in’ on a Wiltshire town, pest exterminators have warned.

The rodents, which have been seen elsewhere in the UK over the past year, are twice as large as normal species and cannot be killed with traditional substances.

It comes after the discovery of one rodent at a food establishment measuring 20-inches, the largest on record for the town of Swindon.

This rat found in Swindon is the largest on record for the Wiltshire town. Pest exterminators have warned an influx of super rats may be on its way, with the rodents immune to traditional poisons
(This rat found in Swindon is the largest on record for the Wiltshire town. Pest exterminators have warned an influx of super rats may be on its way, with the rodents immune to traditional poisons)

‘It’s a growing problem, and at the moment there’s no sign it’ll go away,’ said Justin Holloway who found the rat in Swindon, told MailOnline.

‘Unless you can extinguish all of the genetic line the rise of super rats is on the horizon.’

At longer than 20-inches, it is the largest to have ever been found in Swindon. Though the rat was killed using traditional anti-coagulant poison, Mr Holloway warned others that are immune to the substance will become ‘a greater problem.

‘One particular strain of rats were not so susceptible to rodenticides or the anti-coagulants served and, as a percentage of the total rat population, they become greater over time.

‘As far as resistance is concerned, it is a growing issue and over a period of time I expect this to be a greater problem than it currently is, but establishing a time-frame is harder. 

‘The implication is if you are a rat and you’re not being taken on, you might enjoy a longer life and grow to a larger size, because you are not being taken down.

‘If there’s a good source of food and water it becomes a larger rat.’

Another of huge rodent is the width of a shovel. The rat was discovered near a river in Gravesend, Kent, last April
(Another of huge rodent is the width of a shovel. The rat was discovered near a river in Gravesend, Kent, last April)
This mutant rat was found hiding in the walls of a home in Dublin. Experts have warned the breed of giant rodent is on the rise
(This mutant rat was found hiding in the walls of a home in Dublin. Experts have warned the breed of giant rodent is on the rise)
This rat discovered in Cornwall last year measured 50cm. Unless the entire genetic line is killed, the population of super rats will continue to increase
(This rat discovered in Cornwall last year measured 50cm. Unless the entire genetic line is killed, the population of super rats will continue to increase)
A map details where notable rats have been recorded across the UK since 2010. The rat discovered in Swindon this week was giant at 20-inches, but not considered 'mutant' as it was killed traditionally
(A map details where notable rats have been recorded across the UK since 2010. The rat discovered in Swindon this week was giant at 20-inches, but not considered ‘mutant’ as it was killed traditionally)

Mr Holloway added while he had not found any mutant rats in Swindon, their population will continue to grow across the UK. 

‘Most counties have shown there are some strains of genetically different rats however it’s whether they have a particular control problem that’s the issue. 

‘We haven’t had any major control issues but companies like ours need to adapt new strategies for new rodents.’  

Earlier this year a number of abnormally large rats were recorded across the UK. 

Worried homeowners shared photographs of the rodents, some of which were as large as small cats. 

One, found on an industrial estate in Liverpool, measured two feet, while another in Gravesend, Kent, was the width of a shovel. 

Researchers at Huddersfield University performed studies on the rodents, with some parts of Britain more severely affected than others. 

In Gloucestershire and Shropshire, around 20 per cent of rats tested were immune to traditional poisons, while a third in Kingston could not be killed using the substances. 

In Southampton, 75 per cent of the rodents were found to have the genetic mutation. 

Speaking at the time, scientist Dr Dougie Clarke described the giant species as ‘a time bomb’.

‘I think people should be concerned about these resistant rats because of public health concerns – because they carry disease and various other bacteria and viruses.

‘They also damage buildings…they cost billions of pounds of damage worldwide.

‘With the use of rodenticides, that will kill off the normal rats, and then the resistant ones will remain.

‘So it’s a sort of time bomb of resistance building up over generations of rats.’

‘The fact we’ve tested 17 counties and every single one of them has got resistant rats was an amazing find to us. We didn’t expect to have every single county having resistant rats.’ 

An exterminator holds up a giant rat discovered last year alongside a host of other huge rodents
(An exterminator holds up a giant rat discovered last year alongside a host of other huge rodents)
A Jack Russell carries a giant rat it killed while on a walk in Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent, last year
(A Jack Russell carries a giant rat it killed while on a walk in Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent, last year)
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