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In Defence of Giant Ravenous Mutant Super Rats

Prior to this morning I had no idea that the United Kingdom was facing an invasion. We’ve had our fair share of them, Celts, Angles, Saxons, Vikings, himalayan balsam, minks, the list goes on really. However, this invasion is apparently from within our shores, by beefed-up super mutant rats. That is, if you want to believe the various articles the ‘Daily Star’ has been publishing recently, culminating in this beautifully baffling front page news story today:

Rodents on the rise! 160 million super vermin are expected in the UK

THE number of super-rats swarming Britain is set to double next year until they outnumber humans two to one.

Not to mention this one from the 16th:

Mutant rats set to eat through empty schools during Easter break

MILLIONS of ravenous super rats are set to run riot across Britain over Easter.

I couldn’t resist taking a look at this.

If you want to check the paper out for yourself, by the way, there is a ‘Daily Mail’-style content warning I should issue. Be warned that next to pictures of the rat menace are pictures and stories of women being needlessly objectified. Anyway, on to the rise of the planet of the rats.

It may surprise the ‘Daily Star”s staff to find out that most rats don’t want to be seen by humans.

Yes, there are many, many rats living in the UK. There are rats everywhere humans go. Along with dogs, cats and bedbugs, rats are one of the few creatures that actually benefit from urbanisation. That doesn’t mean that rats are going to be tacking your children and robbing your home, however. Many humans are afraid of rats and want to hurt them. Rats are aware that humans are stronger than them. They would rather run away and live than take a human on and die in the process. A version of Jack and the Beanstalk where Jack is a rat would be a very short story.

So rat numbers are increasing. What does that mean for us? Well, rats need food, but luckily for them we leave food everywhere. Rats need space? Well, rats would sooner find areas we’re not already stomping around in than let you find a hundred of them sleeping in your bed, watching your television and being a bad influence on your children.

Apparently the main culprit here is a new ‘breed’ of rat that has become immune to traditional poisons used by pest control. Well, that’s going to happen. If you wait a few years without using those poisons, the immunities may fade, or new poisons need to be made. However, there are more solutions than killing these creatures. Rats want food and shelter, yes. Empty schools are apparently a target due to human absence and plenty of space to make nests. Perhaps keeping the school active during holidays would be better that running around in circles screaming? There’s been a big move in the UK recently for schools, rebranded as ‘academies’ to make a profit where they can. Paid for, specialist summer classes, perhaps even for adults, might be enough to scare the rats away. Suffice to say they can’t nest in your coffee machine if you’re making coffee with it.

In addition, rats, like all animals, need food to survive. Controlling littering and emptying bins regularly, as simple a solution as it is, could really help in keeping ‘pests’ away.

However, even if you aren’t going to try and deal with the increasing numbers of rats, you don’t have a whole lot to be scared about. Even in the articles themselves, once you get past the fear-mongering headlines, admit that the main dangers of rat infestation are to wiring and other equipment they might be tempted to gnaw through. Kids aren’t likely to get the plague. Don’t let kids go near their faeces and Clean things before letting kids touch them.

Suffice to say, if you’re worried about rats, get a cat. It’ll scare the heck out of them. Plus, the kids will love it.

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Cat Strickson

Cat Strickson

Cat, or Elly, or Eddy, or whatever name they're going by these days, is a British palaeontologist and fantasy author. It's a pretty awesome skill set, but it doesn't pay much right now. They enjoy science, history, vidyagames and all things SFF.

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