A local council has urged people to stop feeding the rats at a popular beauty spot which has become so infested its been dubbed “rat central”.
Rodents can regularly be seen running along paths and have been blamed for depleting birdlife at Brickfield Pond in Rhyl.
According to those who visit, the rats have become "brazen", scampering away only at the last moment as walkers approach.
Attempts by Denbighshire Council to tackle the problem were initially successful, with the local authorities setting out a series of baited rat boxes in 2020.
However, residents say rat numbers have exploded again.
The rodents are often seen hanging around paths and picnic tables, believed to be waiting for their food from people happy to feed them.
Last week Sue Nelson counted 22 rats as she strolled around the reserve’s 1km perimeter path with her two dogs. The previous count was 19, then 20.
“The rats almost define this place now,” said Sue Nelson.
“It is a shame, as it’s such a beautiful place.”
Rat complaints at Brickfield stretch back at least a decade. In 2014 it was dubbed “rat central” in a Tripadvisor review by a mum who grabbed her two kids and “fled”.
Despite the fears, some people have said they are happy to see rats as they help to clean up food and litter dropped by human visitors, while complaining that dog litter and vandalism is a bigger issues at the nine-acre former clay pit.
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Those campaigning for vermin control claim the rats pose a danger to human and canine health.
Denbighshire Council said it is aware of the problems and has taken steps to tackle them. A spokesperson said: “We would ask people not to leave feed along the burrows and paths surrounding Brickfield Pond.“Our Countryside Service has made timber-framed signage at the site to discourage visitors to the site from directly feeding the rats. We also pulled our own bird feeders from the site to assist in reducing the number of rats at the site.“Bird feeding tables have been placed in the area to allow any feed to be left by visitors in a more responsible way.”