Radio Sandwell Local News

Rats the size of cats spotted in Birmingham

2014-03-31 18:07:06


Huge rats the size of cats are prowling Birmingham's streets

Birmingham is battling a growing problem which saw more than 5,100 rat alerts recorded in the past year.

City pest control officer Colin Watts revealed he had seen a 2ft rodent - which he said was as "wide as a brick" - on the loose.

Birmingham is battling a growing problem which saw more than 5,100 rat alerts recorded in the past year.

Calls over rats in city homes were up by almost 300 on the previous 12 months.

The worst three districts were Ladywood with 982 calls, Hodge Hill with 739 and Perry Barr with 707.

Colin spotted the massive rat Belchers Lane, Bordesley Green.

"One of the biggest I've seen must have been 14 or 15 inches long," he said.

"That was just the body, without the tail.

"With its tail it would have been over 2ft. It was like a small cat."


Pest control officer Colin Watts

Earlier this month, councillors objected to plans to "privatise" Birmingham's pest control service because it could make rat catchers too pricey for some residents to call.

The service must become self-sufficient within two years so £600,000 can be cut from the budget.

Officers had suggested outsourcing the service and increasing charges.

But Coun Peter Kane (Lab, Kingstanding) told the council's licensing and public protection committee that the authority's previous experience of outsourcing had been a "disaster".

Colin said some rats felt as heavy as two bags of sugar.

"They're unbelievably big and heavy when you pick them up," he said.

"It's because of all the food around for them in bags.

"They are definitely getting bigger.

"We just about keep things under control."

Dr Robin Allaby, associate professor in evolutionary genetics at Warwick University, said rats had grown bigger because of their easy access to waste food.

"Humans have got bigger with nutrition and it's a quite likely explanation for rats as well," he said.

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