Gas engineer Tony Smith, asked his electrician colleague James Green, 46, to hold the dead rat up for a photo because he thought no one would believe them. They said they found the dead rat close to a playground on a housing estate in Hackney Downs, east London, claimed it was 4ft long – the size of a small dog.
Mr Smith, 46, said: ‘It was the largest rat I’ve ever seen. I’ve got a cat and a Jack Russell and it was bigger than both of those put together. I’d say it was about four foot.’
‘We were going to stick it in the bin, but before we did we thought we better take a picture of people won’t believe it’s real.’
He claimed the rat had been killed by poison left for other vermin and had ballooned after gorging itself on leftover fast food from nearby bins.
Mr Smith added: ‘These little fellas have a pretty good diet. They eat fried chicken and rice all the time.’
Professor Jane Hurst from the Institute of Integrative Biology at the University of Liverpool doesn’t believe the photo.
“No way a brown rat would be that big, or that anyone could pick up a rat of 11kg with a litter picker,” she explains to Newsbeat.
“There are several hoaxes showing rats like this online or previously published in newspapers.
“Even a Gambian pouched rat, which is 3ft long, only weighs around 1.5kg.”
Meanwhile, many have reacted to the photo on social media, claiming it’s a case of forced perceptive. In photography there’s something called “perspective.” Perspective is a way of tricking the eyes into believing objects are bigger than they actually are. Read some of the posts below…
— Daniel Bentley (@DJBentley) March 11, 2016
The “giant rat” is two foot rather than the “four foot” claimed in the press. Perspective trick. Here’s my working: pic.twitter.com/DYGE3hPDSz
— Oliver O'Brien (@oobr) March 11, 2016
— Hackney Council (@hackneycouncil) March 11, 2016
Source: BBC, DailyMail