A Dorset pest controller who exterminated a 21-inch rat has warned that Bournemouth is at risk of a vermin crisis if the town does not improve its “disgusting waste-management”.
Terry Walker, 53, manager of TP Pest Control Services, says that infestations of “more rats and bigger rats” will become increasingly prevalent if Dorset neighbourhoods continue to “produce more and more waste which is not disposed of correctly”.
Mr Walker, from the New Forest, Hampshire, caught the giant rat behind Bournemouth shops in November. It weighed 650g- nearly double the average size- and measured 21 inches (53cm) nose to tail, making it as long as a small cat.
The huge rodent is thought to be the largest ever rat caught in Britain- beating 19-inch and 20-inch specimens found in 2017.
But rats of this size are not freaks of nature- Mr Walker believes that their growth is being caused by human behaviour.
He told Buzz News: “People are carrying more weight and getting bigger with the types of food they eat.
“When people discard fast food wrappers and containers in the street… [or] leave rubbish out in plastic bags instead of hard plastic waste bins, it is only five seconds and the rats are on it.
“Obesity is always in the headlines… is it any surprise that rats are getting bigger by eating fast food?”
Mr Walker also blamed human overpopulation and the demise of weekly bin collections as contributing factors to the increasing problem of vermin infestations, which Bournemouth Borough Council has previously vowed to tackle.
He said: “A rise in multiple occupancy of houses, including student houses, means more and more people are getting crammed into smaller spaces.
“The homes produce more waste… rubbish collections are fortnightly so bins are not being emptied enough.
“Rubbish is being placed on the top of bins which attracts rats.”
Rat experimentation: Justifiable or not? http://buzz.bournemouth.ac.uk/2018/12/rat-experimentation-justifiable-or-not/
Fact File: The humble rat http://buzz.bournemouth.ac.uk/2018/12/fact-file-the-humble-rat/