UPDATE: Is the giant rat reported in Gravesend actually a rat?

PICTURED: Giant rat reported in Gravesend

Coypu photo: José Reynaldo da Fonseca

First published in News
Last updated
News Shopper: Photograph of the Author by , reporter

A massive rat which was reported in Gravesend yesterday (April 15) sparked debate throughout the borough.

The dead-looking rodent was pictured on a pink spade and tweeted by BBC Radio 2 yesterday.

Debate has raged over whether the photo might be a totally different rodent altogether, one pest control expert saying it could be a rodent known a beaver-type animal known as a coypu.

Another animal specialist claims it is an “oversized, brown rat” mutated from the increase in food waste.

BBC Radio 2 posted a photo of the dead-looking rodent on a pink spade on Twitter, from a listener known as "Sarah" days after the Daily Mail reported rats "the size of small cats" are invading cities and are immune to poison.

Ben Johnson, who is director of Direct Pest Solution, based in Trosley Avenue, Gravesend, believes it is another animal altogether.

He told News Shopper: “I don’t think it’s a rat, I believe it’s a coypu, a bit like a beaver.

“We certainly haven’t had any reports of giant rats.”

News Shopper: Coypu photo: José Reynaldo da Fonseca

The coypu is a semi-aquatic rodent which lives alongside stretches of water.

It is originally from South America, but has now been introduced to Europe, North America, Asia and Africa.

However, rare breeds expert Wayne May, based in Dartford, believes the photo shows a rat.

He said: “The picture looks like a large, oversized brown rat due to current climate and the increase food waste.

“It is not uncommon to this species weighing around 1.5lbs or more in the UK
“Large rats are increasing being recorded.”

News Shopper readers waded into the debate.

Former Labour MP John Austin tweeted: “Could be coypu if it has webbed hind feet.

“I've had Pâté de ragondin (copyu) in France. Very good.”

Puddy Tat, known as @Catford_Cat, tweeted, perhaps not entirely seriously, that the picture showed a Siberian hamster.

Have you seen any giant rats in the News Shopper area? Send you photos to hwood@london.newsquest.co.uk or call 01689 885 721.

 

Comments (8)

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4:26pm Tue 15 Apr 14

white rabbit9 says...

Seem them much bigger in parliament.
Seem them much bigger in parliament. white rabbit9
  • Score: -64

5:40pm Tue 15 Apr 14

mouthalmighty says...

Where in gravesend?
Where in gravesend? mouthalmighty
  • Score: 7

11:59am Wed 16 Apr 14

cookster says...

mouthalmighty wrote:
Where in gravesend?
There in Gravesend
Right there
A little rat with clogs on...
[quote][p][bold]mouthalmighty[/bold] wrote: Where in gravesend?[/p][/quote]There in Gravesend Right there A little rat with clogs on... cookster
  • Score: 17

1:42pm Wed 16 Apr 14

white rabbit9 says...

An immigrant rat from holland? son of a B***h
An immigrant rat from holland? son of a B***h white rabbit9
  • Score: -45

2:26pm Wed 16 Apr 14

Malachai says...

Small pink spade and a deceptive angle?
Small pink spade and a deceptive angle? Malachai
  • Score: 13

2:49pm Wed 16 Apr 14

PaulErith says...

Rats are going to take over the World one day I think.
Rats are going to take over the World one day I think. PaulErith
  • Score: 4

3:02pm Wed 16 Apr 14

Gypo.Joe says...

Introduced into the UK by the Rothschilds to undermine society WR9 ?
Introduced into the UK by the Rothschilds to undermine society WR9 ? Gypo.Joe
  • Score: 25

6:28am Thu 17 Apr 14

Witchkid says...

Judging by the shape of its muzzle, I'd say this was a brown rat. However, the pink shovel is probably only 9 inches wide (they make them smaller for us 'weak' women) and the camera makes anything in the foreground look much larger. Fishermen do it all the time.

I fail to see the problem even if it is an extra-large rat, especially as it seems to be on the river bank. Rats clean up food waste and dead creatures which would otherwise rot and become fly-infested, so in effect they are nature's dustmen. Before the screams start about how many diseases they may carry, please remember that there is no other creature on earth that carries as many nasty diseases as humans.
Judging by the shape of its muzzle, I'd say this was a brown rat. However, the pink shovel is probably only 9 inches wide (they make them smaller for us 'weak' women) and the camera makes anything in the foreground look much larger. Fishermen do it all the time. I fail to see the problem even if it is an extra-large rat, especially as it seems to be on the river bank. Rats clean up food waste and dead creatures which would otherwise rot and become fly-infested, so in effect they are nature's dustmen. Before the screams start about how many diseases they may carry, please remember that there is no other creature on earth that carries as many nasty diseases as humans. Witchkid
  • Score: 14

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