A great-grandad has shared how he caught a ‘baby-sized’ rat after a seven-year war with the vermin.
Derek Blamire, 82, says rats have been invading his back garden from open spare land near his home.
He lures the “crafty” rodents by temporarily stopping feeding the birds before catching them using poisoned traps.
The former pub manager from Blackburn, Lancashire, says he’s caught at least 50 rats in the last few years.
Mr Blamire’s wife Sylvia, 80, took a snap of his latest catch on October 15, which measured at least 18 inches.
The image shows six-foot and one-inch-tall Derek wielding a litter picker with the monster rat in its claw, which others have compared to the size of a small dog.
He said they don’t bother him but that “if they keep coming, I’ll keep catching them”.
Derek said: “It was quite big, from nose to tail it was about 18 inches long. It was the length of a small baby.
“It’d been knocking about for a few weeks.
“I’ve lived here for about seven years and I’ve caught over 50. Sometimes I poison them, sometimes I catch them in a trap.
“If they keep coming, I’ll keep catching them. I’m not going to give up.”
The keen gardener said he believes the rats living on the spare land next to his garden are attracted by the food he puts out for the birds.
Derek said: “I feed the birds you see and if you feed the birds it’s obvious rats are going to turn up. There are probably more rats than people.
“I put seed and fat balls out for the birds. It attracts all sorts of birds – jackdaws, starlings, magpies, sparrows, robins and wrens.
“Rats breed pretty quickly. There are small ones, which are young ones, and older ones.
“The young ones are pretty easy to catch but the older ones are really crafty, they won’t go in the trap and they won’t eat the poison so you’re lucky to catch one.
“The rats don’t bother me because I’m used to it, Sylvia doesn’t like them.”
Derek finds that laying traps for the rodents to scurry into doesn’t work on the older rats.
To tackle this problem, Derek stops feeding the birds temporarily to lure the hungry ones into his trap.
Derek said: “I see the rats on the bird table, they can climb up anything, and they’re quick as well. As soon as you see them they’re off.
“I stop feeding the birds for a week so the rats are a bit hungry so it’s easier to catch them.
“I hadn’t put food out for the birds for a week, it was hungry so it went in the trap after I put a bit of cooked chicken in it.
“I had a pellet gun and I did one shot to it and that was it.
“I’ve not seen any for a few days but they’ll be back. They might disappear for a couple of weeks and then all of a sudden they come back.”
Unimpressed Sylvia said she was ‘scared’ by Derek’s find.
Sylvia said: “I was in the bungalow and Derek was outside, I thought he must have been in the garden.
“He said ‘come out with your phone I’ve got something to show you’.
“When I opened the door he was stood on the doorstep with that litter picker in his hand. It scared me to death.”