Is the plague of the ‘Super-Rat’ heading for Britain?

Rodent infestations, especially rats, have been causing problems for many years, yet since the 1950’s, we have accepted that pesticides that introduce anti-coagulants into the rat’s bloodstream, which will can kill the rat in under two weeks, are controlling the problem.

Recent studies into the “Super Rat” infestation are starting to show a different story, showing that these rodents may be becoming immune to these traditional forms of pesticides. Results from studies at the University of Huddersfield, conducted on rats from a variety of different English Counties, have suggested that a new generation of super rats have mutated to become immune to such pesticides. Latest findings have also shown they are significantly growing in size, with a rat as big as 20 inches recently found in Swindon.

Studies are showing that these super rats are increasing their numbers at an alarming rate, with reports that their population could double in size to 160 million by the end of 2015.

The cause of this is still unknown, however, there are several contributing factors which are causing these pests to mutate so rapidly. The mutation rate which is causing rats to become increasingly resistant to traditional pesticides is partly down to their natural reproduction cycle. If you have rats, you should definitely contact a rodent pest control expert to take care of the situation.

The Norwegian rat (more commonly known as the common brown rat) has a reproduction cycle of approximately 8 weeks, with an average of 6 offspring. Passing down a genetic tolerance of pesticides through generations is much faster than in most other animals. The weather is also suggested to be a factor in the recent increase in rats, with one of the wettest years on record, the British weather is creating an ideal environment for rats to live and breed in.

Rats are opportunistic creatures – the increase in the rat’s population is largely down to human behaviour. Rats are scavengers and they make the most of every opportunity to find food. With an increase of littering, fly tipping, and even the government’s reduction in domestic waste collections to once every two weeks in some areas, we are creating an environment which helps the rodent population thrive.

Another popular theory into the recent increase in the rodent population are linked to the governments cuts, causing cuts in funding for council to provided pest control, some local councils reporting budget cuts and others say they have cut all pest control services altogether.

As well as this causing an increase in population by default, it has also lead to local residents taking matters into their own hands, which experts say could be aiding the rats tolerance due to a lack of understanding of the poison – regular low doses of anti-coagulants could cause a build in natural resistant to the drug. Consequently experts are advising that if you think you may have a rat problem to either call your local council or local pest control company for professional help, rather than trying to deal with the problem yourself.

Increasing rat populations are not restricted to Britain – both Dublin and Stockholm have reported similar issues of the super rat. Governments are now urging Europe to approve the use of a third generation pesticides, which are currently restricted and are not allowed to be used outdoors. Although protestors say that there are great risks to other wildlife using these stronger poisons, directly and indirectly, as the poison can be consumed directly by other animals, as well as indirectly through the natural food chain, experts suggest that such action could be needed to contain such a vast growing population increase of super rats which may soon become uncontrollable.

 

Author: Editor

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