Monster rat terrifies family, sparks calls for taskforce
A MONSTER rodent has been found dead in an inner Sydney city family's backyard, prompting calls for a special "rat taskforce".
At one point, the Alexandria family were so worried about the whopping great critter, that they were scared to let their young daughter play in the backyard.
It follows months of concern about a rat problem across the city that has been a boon for pest control specialists but a headache for councils.
Independent City of Sydney councillor and businesswoman Angela Vithoulkas warned of the scale of the problem back in March, saying her fellow business owners were also calling for action.
In the months since, she says, the problem has only "calmed down" in certain parts of the CBD.
"But the rat problem is still very active in other areas," she said.
Ms Vithoulkas said part of the blame lay with authorities who needed to do better to manage the consequences of construction and roadworks.
"It's the price you pay for progress and development when you choose to not address other factors that come up and allow them to get this bad," she said.
She wasn't surprised that anyone would stumble across such a large example of the rodent species in their backyard, saying Sydney rats were clearly "well-fed".
Ms Vithoulkas said the city needed to consider forming a "rat taskforce" to tackle the "public health issue".
While rats tend to be roundly condemned and generally unloved, there have been exceptions to this rule. One of the stars of Aussie kids show The Ferals, Rattus, was a noted favourite, along with martial arts expert Splinter from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Remy, the protagonist of Pixar film Ratatouille, has also grown to be family favourite.
Also sitting among the esteemed ranks of beloved rats is Rat-in-a-Hat, the catchphrase-spouting and appropriately named giant rodent featured in Bananas in Pyjamas.
Animated character Stuart Little, who was played by Michael J. Fox, is a mouse - though mice are also typically considered pests.
A City of Sydney spokeswoman said rats were an issue in every major city and that the problem "can't be completely eradicated" as there will always be areas in need of extra baiting.
She said the City used "industry best practice" techniques to control rats and had a "comprehensive pest control program", in addition to cleaning and monitoring parks daily and new control methods being investigated.