Residents of a seaside town popular with tourists say they are “living in terror” after being ambushed by a new breed of visitor – “monster rats”.
Locals in Tenby, south-west Wales, fear the rodents, described as ‘big as cats’, are destabilizing the cliffs along the scenic burrowing coastline.
Boatswain Roger Miles said the problem had gotten worse in recent months, adding: “Early evenings, dusk, early mornings, rats really everywhere.
“There is a certain area where you can see that part of the Castle Hill cliffs have been eroded.”
Another resident, Derek Brown, told the BBC: “The big concern is the structural damage they could cause to the cliff.”
A female rat typically has six litters per year, consisting of up to 12 rat pups.
They reach sexual maturity at four or five weeks, meaning a population of two individuals can grow to a staggering 1,250 in a year, with the potential to grow exponentially.
The town’s mayor, Sam Skyrme-Blackhall, said the council was taking “action” and had helped roll out dozens of bait boxes to eradicate them.
But a local told The Sun: “You just can’t kill them faster than they can breed. Once they are here, they are here to stay.
“Also, they’re intelligent animals, so they’ll soon find out that the bait isn’t good for them. We live in fear of the damn things.”
Natalie Martin, 36, from Cardiff, told the newspaper she was in Tenby for the weekend with two friends.
She said they enjoyed their trip, but added, “We never knew there were monster rats around here.”
A Pembrokeshire Council spokesman told the BBC he was “aware of the rodent issues and the need for additional baiting points and is working to address these concerns”.
They added: “We are using specialist personnel to fix access to the cliff face: this could allow us regular access for the future as well.”
The council has urged people not to feed birds or drop food.
Ms Skyrme-Blackhall told the Guardian: “There are members of the public who feed the birds who feed the rats. They think they are nice but it doesn’t help the problem at all.
‘[Also] People are irresponsible and don’t dispose of their trash in the right place, so they throw food waste in their general trash and the rats find them.
“We have a team that deals with issues like this and they started using the baiting system they used before. You are doing a great job. The problem is being rooted out as we speak. Yes there were problems but nothing on the tape that was out there.
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https://metro.co.uk/2023/03/18/locals-living-in-terror-after-town-invaded-by-rats-as-big-as-cats-18466028/ Locals 'live in fear' after town was invaded by rats 'the size of cats'