Giant rats seen and found across the British Isles are actually coypus’ a rodent native to South American

Giant rats seen and found across the British Isles are actually coypus’ a rodent native to South American

 

 I’ve heard a lot of nonsense about rats growing to the size of cats, the so called super rat, often when on a call the customer will out stretch their arms “my friend’s uncle said he has seen one this big” but recent pictures would seem to back up this outlandish claim. Well afraid not, what people are most likely seeing is the coypu a rodent native to South America.  Adults are typically 5–9 kg (11–20 lb) in weight, and 40–60 cm (16–24 in) in body length, with a 30–45 cm (12–18 in) tail. They have a coarse, darkish brown outer fur with a soft under-fur. Two distinguishing marks are the presence of a white patch on the muzzle, and webbed hind feet.  They are brought over to this country for their fur. 

Farmer killed “giant rat” in county Durham

 

The other possibility is the muskrat which is native to North America and were introduced to Europe in the early part of the 20thcentury. There are much better at surviving the cold temperatures than the coypu. They can grow 0.6–2 kg (1.3–4.4 lb.)That is about four times the weight of the brown rat. They are generally dark brown in colour with some variations ranging from lighter, blond colour to almost black and have a long tail that is flattened.

 

So if you do see one of these rodents it is best to call us for advice or the RSPCA.

                           

                                                                                                   

                        Muskrat                                            Coypu

                                 

 

By Graham B Farmer