Joburg rat plague: expert says normal rats have just got fatter and lazier

There are reports of a massive infestation of “super rats” that are multiplying at a rapid rate across Johannesburg.

Managing Director at Roof Rats, Diederik van't Hof says the city has been plagued by two different species of rats which are Rattus norvegicus and Rattus rattus, originating from Asia.

He says rats follow human populations. When habitats like cities are created, there is waste and food in abundance, which attracts the rodents.

In a project in Msawawa, they apparently caught a rat that weighs over 661g.

Reports have stated that these are 'Godzilla rats' but van't Hof says there is no such thing and a rat of that size is abnormal.

These are the same species but thriving. There is no genetic mutation, there's no Godzilla rats or something - there are just normal rats.

Diederik van't Hof, Managing Director at Roof Rats

So they are not running, they are not exercising, there are just eating and getting fat.

Diederik van't Hof, Managing Director at Roof Rats

According to van't Hof there are about 12 cases a day reported of people being bitten by rats in Gauteng.

He says rats eat anything.

This is absolutely horrendous. The disease those things carry in their teeth and jaws, there's going to be problems coming.

Diederik van't Hof, Managing Director at Roof Rats

There are reports that these rats are becoming more intelligent, devising means to avoid poisons - even cats are becoming scared of them.

Van't Hof says dangerous poisons have been discouraged because anything that will come in contact with the rats will die.

Residents are advised to use milder poison that the rats will nibble on 6 times before it dies. But as soon as the rats nibble one and experience stomach discomfort then it avoids the food completely.

To hear the rest of the interview, listen below:


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