Sunday 18 March 2018

'Giant 4-foot-long monster rat' found in children's playground but it may not be quite what it seems

Photo: Tony Smith/
Photo: Tony Smith/

Sasha Brady

A large rat, reported to be "four-foot-long" was discovered in a bush next to a popular children's playground in London but it may not be quite what it seems.

The "monster" rodent was also reported to weigh 25lbs.

"As a comparison the body of your average brown rat is up to 40cm in length with a tail shorter than the head and body, and about 350g - 500g in weight," a pest-control expert explained to the Telegraph.

The average body length of an adult rat is 9 to 11 inches, with a tail of 7 to 9 inches.

Zoologists believe the rodent could be a West African grasscutter rat, also known as a cane rat and pest-control experts at Rentokil believe the rodents could be breeding below London's streets.

Gas engineer Tony Smith, who discovered the rat is quoted as saying: “This is the largest rat I’ve ever seen in my entire life. I’ve got a cat and a Jack Russell and it was bigger than both of those put together. I’d say it was about four foot.”

The creature was found dead near to an area where children play, which backed onto a railway track near Hackney Downs, north London on Thursday.

However, a lot of people are doubting Mr Smith's claims that the rat was "four-foot-long".

Professor Jane Hurst from the Institute of Integrative Biology at the University of Liverpool has said that there is "no way a brown rat would be that big".

"And there's no way anyone could pick up a rat of 11kg with a litter picker," she explained to Newsbeat.

"There are several hoaxes showing rats like this online or previously published in newspapers.

"Even a Gambian pouched rat, which is 3ft long, only weighs around 1.5kg."

Many people believe the rat appears bigger than it is because of an optical illusion referred to as "forced perspective".

It happens when objects that are held closer to the camera lens and appear bigger than they actually are.

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