This story has had a lot of radio coverage today. It’s also been covered by Sky.
Apparently, someone in Bradford (I guess it just had to be up Yorkshire way – remember the Beast of Buckshaw from that Lancashire village ) shot a giant rat. According to the story, it was 2½ feet (that’s ¾ metre) long – and judging by the picture, that doesn’t include the tail!
The Sun really does love to confuse things, though. Well, to scaremonger.
Experts have suggested that it could be a Coypu – a South American rodent (not “rat”), but which is sometimes called a “giant rat”, or perhaps some other non-native animal which has escaped captivity. The Sun has latched on to the “giant rat” label, and already has “super rats from South America” as a variant. Don’t their researchers ever look things up properly?
And the locals were quick to leap on the bandwagon.
The residents of Ravenscliffe estate in Bradford, West Yorks, are used to seeing massive rodents that sometimes appear in their kitchens and lounges…
…Brandon toted an air rifle as he went “ratting” with pals on the edge of the estate – which they had heard was rife with rodents…
…”I’ve seen thousands of rats during the course of my work and go shooting a couple of times a week. But I’ve never seen any as big as this. The one I shot was absolutely terrifying. I was shaking. Goodness knows where the others went. I’m glad I don’t live there.”
After taking the photo, the ratters dumped the shot rodent in undergrowth. It is thought it was eaten by a fox.
The estate has long had a monster rat problem. Rebecca told how her cat Marie cornered one in her lounge. But it stood and fought as it was just as big as the moggy…
Neighbour Julie Briggs, 28, told how she and partner Andrew Denton, 24, hear rats fighting and squealing in the walls of their rented semi, which stands opposite open countryside.
Mum-of-six Julie said: “I find droppings on the cooker when they get into the house. I’ve seen them in the lounge as we watch TV.
It’s strange that having found something so extraordinary (i.e. a rat the size of a small car) that they needed to photograph it, the “ratters” then dumped the corpse in the undergrowth. Strange. Or convenient.
And I hope Brandon and his mates are Authorised Persons. Even shooting vermin requires that the person doing the shooting must be so.