A ‘giant rat’ has been caught and killed by a man in the North East of England.
Grandad Brian Watson killed the large rodent with a piece of wood near Consett, County Durham.
“I came running round the corner. I managed to grab some wood on the way.”
“It wasn’t very fast. I managed to kill it there and then.
“I’ve never seen a rat as big in my life before.”
According to some observers the animal was a coypu , which are also known as river rats.
Tip: Cryptozoology Online: Daily News
From Wikipedia: The coypu somewhat resembles a very large rat, or a beaver with a small tail. Adults are typically 5–9 kg (11–20 lb) in weight, and 40–60 cm (16–24 in) in body length, with a 30–45 cm (12–18 in) tail. They have a coarse, darkish brown outer fur with a soft under-fur. Two distinguishing marks are the presence of a white patch on the muzzle, and webbed hind feet. They can also be identified by their bright orange-yellow incisor teeth (unlike rats, which have brownish yellow incisors).
What I notice from Watson’s picture are: the hairless feet, the longish snout and the fact that the animal is held close to the camera which gives the impression that it’s really large. We can’t tell if the feet are webbed or the teeth are orange. There is certainly water nearby. Yet, from the picture, it sure looks more like a rat than a coypu. But, the body was burned so we can’t know for sure. The story took off because giant rats scare the hell out of people and Mr. Watson looks like a hero for dispatching it. In the Daily Mail version of this article, the RSPCA mentions contacting their “cruelty line” and that he could be charged. I don’t know about cruelty. Rodents like this, coypu or rat, can be considered damaging pests. What the heck would you do if faced with such a thing? Perhaps it was not a humane way of removing it but I doubt many would want it living on their property.
The Huffington Post piece on it noted that it took place on St. George’s day when we commemorate courage in slaying of the beast. Poignant.
Here’s the news piece on it: