As though they weren’t bad enough at their normal size, we now have rats that are bigger than cats. Oh, the horror! Several ‘ratzilla’ stories have been in the news recently, featuring shockingly massive rats. I wouldn’t blame you for wondering if these pictures are Photoshopped, but they’re not – the supersize rats look like they’ve been loading up on steroids or something. These ‘pumped’ rats have infested several countries around the world and are quickly becoming a huge menace to humans.
A series of ratzilla-sightings have been reported across the UK, the largest one being 2 ft. long. It was lurking about in the loft of a home, terrifying the residents with loud scratching sounds. “This was followed by the really loud sound of wood being chewed,” said homeowner Grace Walters. “Pest control put a camera in the attic to see what was going on – and sure enough the rat was there, hiding in a corner. They had to cut a hole in the ceiling to reach it and when they grabbed it, none of us could believe it was the size of a cat.”
The incident was nothing short of traumatic for Ms. Walters and her family. “It’s quite scary a rat can grow this big and strong, especially when you have kids in the house.” According to pest controller Marcus Giusti, who captured the monster rat, it’s a very dangerous animal to have in a house. “We’ve been shocked by the number and size of rats recently,” he said. “This could be down to household waste being dumped around estates and the climate warming. It hasn’t been cold enough to kill rats off this winter. There’s an endless amount of food in the sewers where they live and if they’re living longer and eating lots, they’ll be getting bigger.”
Just a week before the Walters incident, Erik Korsas and his family were shocked when a large rat, almost 16 inches long and 2.2 pounds in weight, entered the kitchen of their Stockholm apartment. Erik’s wife Signe and his two daughters Dana, 17, and Erica, 15, screamed in horror and fled from the kitchen. Even the family cat was terrified – it refused to go anywhere near the rat. It was up to Erik and his sons – 13-year-old Justus and 6-year-old Laurentius to hunt down the rodent. They set up a giant rat trap in the kitchen and went to investigate when the trap was sprung. The kids brought Erik a variety of tools to establish that the rat had really died.
In the picture, you can spot Erik holding the rat by its leg with a pair of large plastic tongs. Its head is still attached to the trap, but its eyes look scarily alive. The family took the picture as soon as they caught the rat and then contacted Sweden’s Home and Rent website. Soon, the story was lapped up by media all over the nation. Last month, the picture of the ‘mega rat’ was the most shared item from the popular Swedish daily Aftonbladet. Soon, it was being passed around on various social media websites as well.
Ever since the photograph went viral, Erik has been receiving lots of messages and suggestions. One reporter had said that Erik should have frozen the rat’s carcass instead of throwing it away. Others expressed doubt over the picture, wondering if the rat was digitally ‘enhanced’. “What surprised me is people say they cannot even read the articles and cannot go to sleep because of this story,” Erik said. The Korsas’ kitchen has been repaired now, but the family hasn’t recovered from the incident – they’re expecting their next furry visitor to appear at any moment now.
It turns out that scientists had predicted this abnormality in rats a long time ago. In fact, it is believed in many scientific circles that rats will slowly evolve to grow larger and larger – someday reaching the size of sheep. Rats are known to be great at survival and adapting to their surroundings. The rodents are actually immune to many poisons now. According to Dr. Jan Zalasiewicz, “Given enough time, rats could probably grow to be at least as large as the capybara, the world’s largest rodent that lives today, that can reach 80 kilograms.”
“There will be future thin rats, future fat rats, slow and heavy rats, fast and ferocious rats, probably future aquatic rats – the list goes on. Other animals will likely follow the same pattern, such as domestic cats, rabbits, goats and more.” But don’t bother losing sleep over the thought of supersized animals taking over the world, it’s probably going to take several centuries for anything like that to happen. In the meantime, perhaps it’s time for a new movie franchise – ‘Planet of the Rats’?