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Rats on the rise as lifestyles change

PUBLISHED: 18:00 16 October 2001 | UPDATED: 10:40 03 March 2010

THE Suffolk rat population is on the increase thanks to modern living and global warming.

Last year the number of brown rats in the country rose to more than 70 million-an increase of 18 per cent.

THE Suffolk rat population is on the increase thanks to modern living and global warming.

Last year the number of brown rats in the country rose to more than 70 million-an increase of 18 per cent.

Although there is no denying that there has been as increase, Ipswich Borough Council has been quick to allay fears that there will be plagues of biblical proportions roaming our streets.

There have been reports of super rats which are immune to the poisons used and who can now dive in to rivers to seek out new food sources.

Also fears that a population explosion as forecast by the National Pest Technicians Association last year, will lead to the spreading of disease to humans. Diseases like Weils, which can cause fever, heart and kidney failure.

Mike Grimwood, animal welfare officer at the borough council, said that stories of population explosions and super rats have been blown out of proportion.

"There is no such thing as a super rat. We used to use a poison called Warfarin and some rats became resistant to this. This was mainly in the north west of the country where they found evidence of partial resistance. All this means is that we need to look at other poisons.

"There is no denying there has been as increase in the rat population this year. We used to spend all our winters dealing with rats and all summer it was insects. Now the problem is all year round and we have less time to deal with the problem.

"There is not a huge problem in Ipswich but yes there is a high number of rats in the area."

The increase in population has been put down to many factors. Global warming and fast food has given them kinder climates and food sources.

Geof Newton from Laurie and Partners Pest Control Specialists, in Ipswich, said: "We have definitely been busy this year and there has been an increase this year. There are lots of reasons for this.

"The Set a Side scheme which encourages farmers to leave land very much as nature intended means there are more areas for them to harbour in. Schemes to encourage people to have compost heaps is also to blame as this is a great food source for them.

"There are of course other factors like global warming and our take away food culture."

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