Flick’s warning follows a recent study by Dr Jan Zalaswiewicz from the Universty of Leicester, which claims rats may grow to the size of sheep as larger mammals become extinct.
“Although this may sound a bit Jurasic Park-ish, it is not too difficult to imagine. Rats are extremely adept at co-inhabiting with humans and the surrounding environment. They are survivors and they are very adaptable,” says Gary Stephenson, National Pest Technical Manager at Flick Anticimex.
Flick pest control technicians have seen rats inside commercial cold rooms which have evolved into ‘arctic’ type species by developing long fur, to cope with the near zero temperatures.
Gary Stephenson says that there are additional factors which make the scenario of giant rats more likely.
“Local government regulations now mean that dogs and cats have to be kept off the streets and locked within property boundaries – this means some of the historical predators of rats have all disappeared,” says Gary Stephenson.
“And prey birds such as eagles, hawks, owls and kites have reduced markedly in numbers as a result of the creeping urban spread.”
The now extinct Josephoartegasia monesi was a type of rodent that weighed over a ton and was larger than a bull. Its modern-day relative, the capybara, is the size of a sheep.
This would be the law of unexpected consequences in action – cats and dogs have to be restrained and wild predators like eagles and hawks have reduced in numbers because of urban spread.
Is Gareth Morgan quite so sure he wants to get rid of cats?
He’s offering students free beer in exchange for dead rats. He’d better keep doing that and ensure the rat population is well under control before getting rid of any more of their predators.