A new breed of mutant super rats which eat poison ‘like food’ are growing in numbers across Britain, experts warned yesterday (thurs).
The fearsome species look like normal rodents but have developed immunity to toxic pellets.
Householders are being told that tackling them with standard poisons is like feeding them with grain.
The only solution is stronger poisons which need to be put down by professionals to minimise the risk to other animals and birds.
Richard Moseley, of the British Pest Control Association, said: “Normal rats are being killed off by poison, so these resistant species are taking their place.
“It’s only natural that their numbers are expanding and they eat poison like feed – you might as well be leaving out grain for them to munch on.
“Rats carry and spread diseases, so if their populations are left unchecked there can be a big public health risk.”
He added that poison-resistant rodents have existed for 50 years due to a naturally-occurring mutation of genes but their numbers are now spreading rapidly.
One of the cities affected by the super rats is Gloucester where pest control boss Rob Simpson said: “Infestations can get out of hand if people to deal with them themselves.
“This is particularly the case with these so-called ‘super rats’, which are resistant to routine poisons.
“The need for stronger treatments raises the prospect of secondary poisoning, where animals and birds who prey on targeted vermin can be affected.
“It is even now more important than ever to make sure infestations are treated by professionals.”