During lockdown, London was taken over by a plague of vermin. Rats swarmed across the city as they were given free rein to terrorise Londoners in the streets, and eventually their homes. But what happened to these brazen critters? Did they ever go away? Or are they coming back?
Yesterday, a swarm of rats was spotted taking over Camberwell Green. BBC International Editor Jeremy Bowen posted a video of the creatures in the south London park with the caption: ‘Rats enjoying what looks like food left for birds or squirrels. Not a good look, not good for public health.’
The video shows at least 12 rats running and feeding on something that appears to be bird or squirrel food left on the ground. Bowen’s daughter, Maddie Bowen, shared the footage with her dad, telling him it was ‘much worse’ in person. She also said local people were calling it a ‘shambles’ and a ‘disgrace’.
Local resident Michael Henry replied to the post: ‘I've been living next to the green for 24 years and this year has been the worst for them, if you walk next to the fence near the main road you can hear them fighting and breeding.’
Other commenters called it ‘horrific’ and their ‘worst nightmare’.
Some posited that the skin-crawling rat infestation was down to growing levels of litter and overflowing bins in the park.
Southwark Council responded: ‘We’ve had no complaints from elsewhere that we are aware of for this site, and of course rats have always been a London-wide problem, but we will look into it as soon as possible. Our teams can look for any food sources or waste that can be controlled nearby.’
The British Pest Control Association (BPCA) reported a 51 percent increase in rat activity since lockdown started in 2020.
If you’re nervous about rats taking over public spaces, you can do your bit by not littering and taking home any scraps with you after you’ve had a nice picnic with your pals. In the meantime, somebody call the Pied Piper!
Check out these stunning images from Wildlife Photographer of the Year.