26 June 2014
Deep within our city sewers, a new breed of genetically mutated ‘super rats’, immune to poison, are spreading at alarming speeds.
Scientists have now begun charting their rapid invasion into new communities by monitoring their progress in 17 counties in the UK.
Genetic testing by Huddersfield University has revealed that the rodents have developed a mutation that allows them to survive conventional poisons.
In counties such as Berkshire, Suffolk, Surrey, Wiltshire, Hampshire and Kent, all the rats tested were found to have immunity to poison.
|A giant, 2ft (0.6 metres) long rat caught in Liverpool.|
Places such as Shropshire and South Gloucestershire had slightly less resilient rats with immunity levels at 33 per cent, and 50 per cent respectively.
Around 30 per cent of rats in Kingston are immune to poison, in Sheffield it is 40 per cent, while 75 per cent of rats in Southampton are immune.
While the rats have been changing, humans have been using the same anticoagulant poisons since the 1950s.
Research earlier this year found that the swarm of 'super rats' spotted across the country is expected to outnumber humans two-to-one by next year.
|This photo shows a huge rat that was caught in Cornwall earlier this year. It measured 50cm from tail to nose|
Figures have revealed that, in some regions of the UK, the number of vermin has already surged by 50 per cent since April last year.
And experts believe the rat population could soar from 80 million to 160 million by the end of the year.
In April, a 2ft (0.6 metres) long rat was captured in Cornwall while other monster rats have been reported in Kent and in Liverpool.
Across the country, councils have reported a rise in the number of rats being reported. Birmingham has the highest number of call-outs with 5,100 in the past year.