Giant Rats Invading UK?

How big is a giant rat?  A domesticated rat, the kind we’re used to seeing in pet stores generally will reach a size of about nine inches in length.  So if we take into consideration how large these “normal” rats are, and they still seem fairly big; imagine seeing a massive two foot long rat with eyes glowing from the darkness staring out at you.  It sounds incredible, but this is just what reports coming out of the UK are suggesting.

A giant rat has to be one of those incredibly terrifying and disturbing images we think about when we imagine what sewers must really be like.  With its giant fangs, glow in a flashlight beam eyes, and its ability to get anywhere to eat anything giant rats are a definite icon of subterranean horror.  But with the recent heavy rains in Bradford there have been reports of more rats coming up from the sewers than usual.  And with them, a few have been reported that are unusually large.  Rodents of unusual sizes have come to Bradford.

An article by the Guardian suggests that though at least one of the observed giant rats has been killed, there have been two more observed that make the killed one look like a baby.  And pest control expert Mac Hussain is on their tails.

What could have caused rats to reach such immense proportions?  Is there something in the water to cause them to grow to such sizes?  Recent reports by pest control experts have suggested that the rodents may be feeding off of massive amounts of grease poured down the drains, but this doesn’t solve the problem really as even a well fed rodent shouldn’t grow to much larger than a foot or so.  These rats being described are more than two times the size they should be.

Is it possible a genetic mutation has come about in a well fed rat population where the strongest eat first?  Is this a form of genetic adaptation where the rats of larger sizes are rewarded in a sewer environment by competing the others out of their way?  Or are these rat stories simply nothing more than tall tales?

In 2009 in China’s Fuzhou a man identified as Mr. Xian captured a six pound rat that measured just short of three feet and weighed more than six pounds.  The giant Sumatran Bamboo rat has developed over time to be quite a bit larger than the rats normally reported in the United Kingdom.  Of course even this rat is diminutive when compared to the rats of legend reported occasionally bin hushed tones by pest controllers worldwide that allegedly live in sewers feeding off the chemically tainted refuse that is left down there and mutating due to exposure to toxic substances.

Are these mutated rats that have been rumored to exist for years suddenly finding their sewers no longer habitable due to heavy rains and flooding?