15-inch rat caught in Swedish kitchen

Family thought they just had mice


A 15-inch rat has been caught in a home in Sweden after terrifying the family cat.

The Bengtsson-Korsås family began to suspect something was wrong when their cat started refusing to go into the kitchen. And when Signe Bengtsson-Korsås went to take out the bins, she discovered the giant rodent living behind the dishwasher, where it had chewed through one of the water pipes. The family had believed the problem was caused by mice.

when exterminators were called in to lay traps, the rat had one last trick up its sleeve, according to the Daily Mail. It was so big and powerful that it managed to run off with the trap still around its neck; it was found dead some time later.

"It went underneath a wooden plant, where it got stuck and choked itself to death, Erik Bengtsson-Korsås said.

"It was the biggest rat I have ever seen, and it looked like it was in good shape as the fur was nice."

The rat measured 15 inches long, not including its tail - twice the usual size.

In the UK, rats have been an increasing problem following the winter's floods. The animals have been forced out of their homes in fields and barns and into people's homes instead. They can carry diseases such as the potential killer Weil's disease, but are dangerous in other ways too - as the Bengtsson-Korsås's experience shows.

"Rats still pose a very serious threat to humans, not purely through the diseases they carry but by chewing through pipes and electricity cables," says British Pest Control Association technical manager Richard Moseley.

There is much anecdotal evidence that rats are growing bigger - last year, indeed, Iran admitted suffering a plague of giant rats, enlisting army snipers to take out several thousand of the creatures with rifles equipped with infrared scopes. Officials claimed the animals were larger than cats.

And we may have even worse to come. Recently, University of Leicester geologist Dr Jan Zalasiewicz predicted that as climate change continues and species die out, rats could evolve to take over their ecological niches. They could eventually reach the size of a sheep, he suggested - too big to hide behind a dishwasher, at least.