Sheffield now home to more than one million rats as lockdown boosts rodent population

The population of rats in Sheffield has increased to 1,219,250 this year, boosted by quiet urban areas and plentiful waste food amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Friday, 27th November 2020, 12:30 pm

Rats have enjoyed a bumper year and are said to be “breeding like crazy” across Sheffield, making their nests in vacant buildings and quiet streets with poor waste practices.

It has caused the city's population of the disease-spreading rodents to soar and means there are 2.2 rats for every person in Sheffield.

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The rat population has increased in Sheffield

Rats can typically have six litters of between 6 and 12 pups each year and a group of rats carries the unamusing nickname of a “mischief”.

Jenny Rathbone, from Sheffield-based Pest Control Company, said: “We are seeing a huge increase in rat problems throughout Sheffield as lockdown has really helped them breed in relative peace with closed properties with poor waste management practices providing them with plentiful food and shelter.”

Sheffield is now fifth most rat-infested city in the UK, while London tops the grim chart with a whopping 20 million rats estimated to live in the capital.

Councillor Mark Jones, Cabinet Member for Environment, Streetscene and Climate Change at Sheffield Council, said the increase is a national picture “but it is not something we are prepared to accept here in Sheffield.”

He said: “We have rolled out a program of baiting across Sheffield and we are seeing our bait being taken. Though the Council is intervening to drive down the number of rats and increase our surveillance of rat numbers we need the cooperation of everyone to tackle rat numbers.

“Our Environmental Service officers respond to rat issues in areas where people live and near businesses. In some known problem locations we carry out regular baiting to remove the presence of rats in those areas. We all know that rats carry diseases which can be passed on to humans. This is a matter of Public Health importance.

“We ask that people report rats to us so we can take action, but we also ask that everyone plays their part by disposing of possible food waste appropriately and not storing soft furnishing in gardens. These simple measures should stop rats coming into your gardens, with less food we will see less rats.”

Contact Sheffield Council for more information about its free rat baiting services.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a digital subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.