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Giant rats are said to be rats that are abnormally large in size. It is unknown what causes their size.
World War 1 (Western Front)
During the first World War within the trenches, Harry Patch and hundreds of soldiers claimed to have seen "Rats as big as cats" that would feast on the corpses of the dead soldiers. They would also occasionally attack the living soldiers in attempt to consume them. Soldiers would often find rats trying to eat the faces of their fellow soldiers while they slept.
The Sun has reported that gigantic South African rats are being blamed for a series of predatory attacks on
children, resulting in the tragic deaths of two infants. Eyewitnesses claim that the monster rodents are as big as cats — up to 3-feet in length including their tails — and are believed to have teeth over an inch long. They are said to be responsible for numerous attacks on children in one of slums surrounding South Africa’s larger cities. It is believed that 3-year-old Lunathi Dwadwa was killed as she slept in her home near Cape Town, South Africa. Her mother, Bukiswa Dwadwa, discovered her lifeless body and claimed that the rats had
mutilated their child. Her father, Mncedisi Mokoena, said police informed him that:
“Nothing could have done that but rats.” The same day police revealed the unnamed second baby girl died in the Soweto township when she was attacked by rats while her mother was out with friends. Police officer Bongani Mhlongo said: “We were called to the scene of the death of an infant due to a rat attack on Monday morning at around 9:00 am. The mother of the child was arrested on charges of culpable homicide and negligence.” The deaths appear to be part of a series of deadly rat attacks in the country. Also, 77-year-old Nomathemba Joyi died after giant rats allegedly ate a portion of her face.
New York City
New York City is said to be one of the places where giant rats are commonly found. New York Daily News reported in August 2011 that a “giant rat” terrorizing residents of a New York housing project had been stabbed to death by a man armed with a pitch fork.
Housing worker Jose Rivera impaled the huge rodent this month when he was filling rat holes at the Marcy Houses
complex in Brooklyn. He said it was one of three that came running out of the hole. According to Rivera:
“I hit it one time and it was still moving. I hit it another time and that’s when it died — I’m not scared of rats, but I was scared of being bitten.”
Marcy Houses Tenant Association head Naomi Colon claimed that there had been reported sightings of the giant rat for at least six years. Animal experts have identified the rodent as a Gambian pouched rat. They are nocturnal, can grow to three feet in length from head to tail and weigh four pounds or more. They are estimated to have a lifespan of seven to eight years.
Imports have been banned since 2003, when they were blamed for a monkeypox outbreak that sickened 100 people in the U.S. Dr. Paul Calle, director of zoological health at the Wildlife Conservation Society, said the Marcy Houses specimen was probably an escaped or discarded pet who decided to join the regular rats.
The Sun and The Daily Mail have reported that a pest control company was called into a factory in England to catch a pair of over 2-foot long wild rats.
Rentokil, the firm hired to catch the beasts, successfully captured the huge creatures, which were almost 30 inches long. The firm was called in to solve the problem after workers said they had seen a pair of large rats stalking the grounds at night. According to Rentokil’s Malcom Padley: “They were both around 2 feet long, and it’s fair to say that our technicians were very surprised at the size… it goes to show that where there’s a food source, these rodents will grow big… so it’s rare, but any rodent sighting should be taken seriously.” Frighteningly, this is not an isolated case as another colossal rat — dubbed “Ratzilla” or the “Beast of Bradford” — was shot by “ratter” Brandon Goddard, on the pest-plagued Ravenscliffe estate in Bradford, which is located just 64 miles away from the Lincoln factory. Goddard claims to have seen at least four more of the behemoth beasts: “The first went right past, but we got the second one, then three more got away. I've seen thousands of rats and go shooting a couple of times a week, but I’ve never seen any as big as this. The one I shot was absolutely terrifying. I was shaking. Goodness knows where the others went. I’m glad I don’t live there.” This story has locals terrified of the implications of encountering one of these gargantuan vermin. John Barrow, of West London, has become so scared of packs of giant rats he will not get out of his wagon at night. Reg Wilson, also of West London, is more concerned about the welfare of local children: “I've got the council coming around. I’m worried these jumbo rodents will hurt a child.” Local Florence Howell — who believes that new houses being built across the road have prompted an invasion — told how she mistook a gigantic rat for her neighbor’s cat before realizing the truth: “It was horrible. I ran inside and closed the door. I didn't want it getting into the house. It was just over the road when I caught sight of it, in front of that boarded up house … it must be all the digging that started this, some of those houses have been derelict for eight years and when they started excavating them, the rats moved out.” 36 year-old mother, Tracey Tompkins, now lives in terror of the ever advancing creatures: “Two rats came out from the side of our house and walked very slowly across the road into the undergrowth during the afternoon. They were both about the size of cats and were in no hurry to get
across and went their separate ways. I think they are horrible things and make me want to leave this area after hearing these stories. Rats are disgusting, they really frighten me — the large ones are like something out of a film.”
Stories have also been told of the Mexican Pet, a giant sewer rat that was mistaken for a small dog.
During 1933-1934, people at Peel Street were attacked by a giant rat-like creature. George Goodhead said " I went and saw a queer animal, far too big for a rat, leaping towards a child about 5 years old. I shouted and the thing turned on me. It crouched, its eyes bulging, then it leaped like lightning." He had then hit the creature on the head with a brick, and locals stomped it to death. Scientists studied its carcass, and the only conclusion made was that it was male. A female rat was found dead, later determined to be a coatimundi, causing people to believe the rat was also a coati. It was later discovered that the coati was thrown out by a traveling circus, meaning it probably wasn't the creature in question. The carcass had been discarded in an unknown location.
While authorities are not sure what is specifically responsible for these attacks, they have speculated that the killer rodents are likely African Giant Pouched Rats; a species of native to sub-Saharan Africa. These rats are huge, nocturnal, omnivorous — eating both plants and animals — and can produce up to 50 young a year.
It could also be an undiscovered species of rat.