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Giant 'super rats' resistant to pesticides invading urban communities

Super rats

(NaturalNews) Like something out of a Hollywood B movie, 2-foot long pesticide-resistant "super rats" are now terrorizing urban communities in the UK.

Reports of rats the size of toddlers have been in the news in several cities throughout Britain, and experts are confirming that the stories are true.

Jeff Sullivan, a pest control specialist in Grimsby, Lincolnshire, told the UK's Daily Mail in its online edition, that a rat he recently caught was the biggest he had ever encountered in 18 years on the job:

"There is a lot of misrepresentation with guys taking photos of rats with mobile phones and holding it out at an extreme arms-length to create the illusion that it's bigger than it really is.

"But this is the real deal, it's the largest rat I've ever seen."

Sullivan captured and killed the 2-foot rat after being called to a residence in nearby Humberston to deal with a vermin problem.

He said that the giant rats are feeding on a high-protein diet, which includes everything from dog poop to poison pellets actually designed to kill rats, but which are no longer effective since the rats have developed a resistance to the poison.

The rats have become resistant to the pellets due to a dietary intake that includes foods found in garbage bins, including maize, which contains vitamin K – an antidote to many of the poisons used to kill vermin.

The rats are also breeding more because of warmer weather conditions, and these combined factors are creating a "lethal" situation, in which the rats are growing in both numbers and size.

Rats carry 35 diseases

Sullivan stressed that rats are a serious health issue, and require extermination by professionals.

"Rats carry around 35 diseases such as leptospirosis and rat bite fever and urinate as they travel," he said. "Due to their tolerance of shop-bought poisons the only real way of tackling the problem is to contact a fully qualified pest controller."

However, Lincolnshire is not the only area in the UK with a super rat problem. And residents of Oldham, a community near Manchester, are being told by local health officials that they may inadvertently be making the problem worse by trying to kill rats with off-the-shelf poisons.

The British Pest Control Association (BPCA) warned last year that pesticide-resistant rats might begin invading British homes, and it seems their predictions were accurate.

According to the BPCA, attempting to kill rats with off-the-shelf poisons is killing off the normal rats and allowing a species of "mutant" super rats to take their place.

The Oldham Council is urging residents to use professional pest control services, but is also calling for government intervention to help deal with the problem.

"We have to recognise that Oldham Council and its resident[s] can only do so much," Councillor Howard Sykes said. "This is a national issue and our governments [sic] needs to take action."

It's a sign of the times, perhaps. It seems that many of modern society's problems stem from our wasteful habits – such as filling garbage bins with uneaten food – and our dependence on chemicals to solve everything from disease to vermin control.

Are stronger poisons really the answer?

In the long run, chemical solutions to problems often simply create more problems. We now have bigger rats that are resistant to poison, so the answer – according to some – is to use even stronger poisons.

At least that's what the Oldham Council seems to think. As Councillor Sykes put it: "Only a pest-control specialist has access to the most toxic poisons with the proven ability to eliminate even the most troublesome and largest rodents."

Of course, the problem with that thinking (even if the super rats don't develop resistance to the "most toxic poisons"), is that these poisons are also harmful to other animals and humans.

Maybe it's time to consider other methods of vermin control before we poison ourselves along with the super rats. The fact is, there's always a natural solution if we know how to look for it.

(Photo credit: SWNS.com)





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