It appears that news of “monster rats” found last week in the United Kingdom is a fake claim.
Pest controller Lord Dean Burr said he snared a family of giant rats in a housing estate, speculating that the pests grew so large by feasting on their smaller counterparts.
“Rats will eat mice and they will eat each other as and when they die. So it’s possible that these rats got so big by attacking and eating smaller rats,” he told the Daily Star.
Burr claimed getting six of those massive rats “in one swoop,” describing them as 1 to 2 feet long or the size of the cat. He was doing routine inspection of his traps in a property in Tooting in south London when he discovered them, he added.
The rats, however, were not trapped because of their sheer size and thus left unharmed, according to the professional rat catcher.
Not too quick, though, as a Mumsnet forum user dug deeper into the story and revealed that Burr’s photos of the rare sighting had previously appeared on the National Geographic website more than two years earlier.
They weren’t rats from the suburbs, too, but huge swamp rats in Louisiana in the United States.
“Slowly spreading further north with each year and multiplying at an unbelievable rate, these invasive creatures are laying waste to entire acres of plant life, destroying fragile ecosystems and driving out native wildlife,” read the image description on the NatGeo site.
Burr is yet to respond to these allegations.
The news came days after Jeff Sullivan, owner of SWAT Total Pest Control in the UK, confirmed that his company caught in a Grimsby, Lincolnshire home the biggest rat he has seen in 18 years in the industry.
Attributing the rat’s humongous size to a protein-filled diet, Sullivan warned of the serious health threat posed by rat infestation, and that these rodents are fast becoming immune to toxic pest control such as pellets.
The British Pest Control Association also urged homeowners to be on the lookout for these rats, which may invade properties as they become stronger and bigger because of the over-the-counter pellets that have become a welcome treat for them.
They can grow as big as cats, the agency added.