- 1 update
The streets of Birmingham are facing a big problem after the growing number of large rat sightings are on the increase.
More than 5,100 rat sightings were recording in the last year with the worst districts being Ladywood, Hodge Hill and Perry Barr.
City pest control officer Colin Watts has said he has seen rodents as long as two feet on the loose.
He said: "One of the biggest I’ve seen must have been 14 or 15 inches long. That was just the body, without the tail. With its tail it would have been over 2ft. It was like a small cat."
Earlier this year the council objected to plans to privatise Birmingham's pest control as it would make charges for pest control more expensive for residents.
Dr Robin Allaby, associate professor in evolutionary genetics at Warwick University, said rats had grown bigger because of their easy access to waste food.
Humans have got bigger with nutrition and it’s a quite likely explanation for rats as well.
Average rats are said to live between 18months to 2years with female rats producing between eight and nine litters, roughly about 200 babies in 2 years.
Council figures suggest rodents are a city wide problem and not just an inner city issue. While Ladywood was worst hit affluent areas such as Sutton Coldfield and Edgbaston recorded more than 350 alerts.
Reports of rats in houses are responded to within 24 hours and the service is free.