East Rand residents fighting 500g rats

Ekurhuleni municipality spokesperson Lebogang Ramashala said bigger rats have been found in suburbs such as Edenvale, Rhodesfield, Birchleigh, and Birch Acres. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

Ekurhuleni municipality spokesperson Lebogang Ramashala said bigger rats have been found in suburbs such as Edenvale, Rhodesfield, Birchleigh, and Birch Acres. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

An infestation of Norway rats on Gauteng's East Rand has become so bad that some Katlehong residents have nicknamed the area Ratlehong, the Sunday Times reports.

"They are as big as my size nine shoe ... my two big dogs deal with them," businessperson Mlungisi Galawe told the newspaper ... Other people throw them in the streets after killing them, which means one gets to see many dead rats daily."

Ekurhuleni municipality spokesperson Lebogang Ramashala said bigger rats were found in suburbs such as Edenvale, Rhodesfield, Birchleigh, and Birch Acres.

The newspaper reported the municipality was spending millions a year to fight the scourge.

University of Witwatersrand animal, plant and environment department Professor Graham Alexander said humans were to blame.

"We have depleted populations of other species that would have preyed on rats and better controlled their numbers."

Largest rat
In 2009, the East Rand started a five-phase plan to rid the area of the problem.

The Norway rat is the largest member of the mouse family.

University of Pretoria Professor Chris Chimimba said the Norway rat could easily weigh 500g.

"In Diepsloot, for example, the largest rat caught weighed 542 83g, while the largest rat that was caught in Alexandra weighed 462g," he told the Sunday Times. – Sapa

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