The terrible storms and floods of the last few weeks have done incredible damage around the UK. But as the clean-up starts in some parts of the country, a disgusting and dangerous side-effect of the flooding has emerged.
The floods have brought a breed of mutant rats into people's homes, which pose a new risk.
A report in the Daily Mail claimed that the rising waters brought these rats out of flooded sewers and fields, and into people's homes. They soon made their nests in lofts, and took advantage of warm, dry places to stay - which offered plenty of sources of food.
The Mirror reported that not only are the rats a particularly unpleasant addition to any household, they also carry a range of life-threatening diseases like Weil's disease (which can lead to kidney damage) and salmonella.
The risksOne of the most well-known victims of Weil's disease was Olympic rowing champion and Steve Redgrave's rowing partner, Andy Holmes, who died in 2011 after contracting the disease from falling into a river which had been infected by rat urine. The disease entered his blood stream through blisters on his hands.
And to make matters worse, they are immune to normal household poisons, which means that trying to put down common poisons to kill these rats will basically just feed them.
Super-ratsThe rise of the super-rat has been a concern for a few years now. According to the British Pest Control Association, the Universities of Reading and Huddersfield started carrying out tests three years ago and found that the resistant rat population is spreading.
There have always been some rats which are resistant to poisons, and the species is naturally evolving so that more and more of them are resistant. Technical Manager Richard Moseley explains: "Normal rats are being killed off by poison, so these resistant species are taking their place - it's only natural that their numbers are expanding." In some places three quarters of all rats are immune to poisons.
Moseley added that there are stronger poisons that a pest controller can use, and recommended seeking help as soon as you have a problem with the rats. The organisation is also calling on the government to allow more widespread use of poisons that are known to kill these super-rats.