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< Back to news 24 June, 2014

The rise of the Giant Rat and how it can affect your business

Over the last few weeks there has been increased interest in both the UK and European press about the rise of the 'Giant Rat'. As a result, Beacon and Rentokil asked David Cross, Rentokil’s Technical Manager in the UK for his opinion...

With many Beacon customers storing waste on site for regular collection, it is obvious that rats may be of concern to some. 

As a result, Beacon and Rentokil asked David Cross, Rentokil’s Technical Manager in the UK for his opinion...

“Despite recent reports of a two-foot rat spotted in Birmingham, we have never come across a rodent of quite that size in the UK.  Most rats are about 25cm long (not including their tail) and weigh in the region of 250g, although this can vary.  

“The biggest rats are typically found living rurally, usually near animal feed units. Here they are able to feed on proteins designed for bulking animals for slaughter, and these have the same effect on the intruding rodents.

“Rats, much like the rest of us, are focused on finding food and shelter. Once they find a good supply of food and the environment is favourable, they’ll end up staying there and can grow to a decent size. 

“One way to control the spread of these creatures is to go back to basics and not give them the ideal conditions in which to thrive. Simple things like ensuring that food waste is properly sealed and disposed of can make a big difference in cutting their food supply, while sealing any obvious holes in the exterior of your property with wire wool or caulk should stop them entering your home.”

David, how would you describe a ‘large’ rat and why do they grow so big?
“A large rat will weigh about 500g and be up to 30cm in length not including the tail - but this is big. They are common on farms providing the right habitat – rats require food, water and a secure shelter for them to proliferate. How much of these things are available will determine how many rats are able to live in the area. If the food is right then that will determine how healthy and to a certain extent how large a rodent will become (although genetics will also play a significant part).”  

Are large rats dangerous to humans?
“All rats, like most things will reflect the environment that they live in - if they are living in areas with large quantities of bacteria (e.g sewers) they will be carrying them on their body, and will be swallowing them when they groom and feed. A proportion of rats in the UK will also carry the bacteria responsible for the disease Leptospirosis or Weil's disease, this is spread from rat urine to standing water and then to people or direct from urine to people if the urine is fresh.”

Any difference between rural and urban rats?
“A rural rat could pick up any number of different bacteria or other micro-organisms from its surroundings on a farm and an urban rat can do the same from drains, sewers and rubbish, so from that point of view there is probably little difference between the two regarding human risk, but on farms the risk to livestock should be considered as well.

If you have concerns about your waste disposal and the potential risk of rats on your business grounds, why not speak to Beacon to see how, alongside Rentokil, we can help you - at a preferential rate. 

Source: Rentokil