Rats in your home or garden are less than ideal but dealing with a 22-inch giant rat is the stuff of nightmares for many.

In recent years, mutant super rats have been reported across the UK with their presence causing “savage attacks, unsanitary conditions, property damage, and even cliff erosion”, reports the Mirror.

It seems rubbish on the streets is one cause of the infestations with some areas having their bins emptied every two weeks.

Pest controller Kieran Sampler previously said that less pest control available during the pandemic and an increase of food waste on the streets have attracted rats.

How to get rid of these common garden pests

Kieran, who is based in West Yorkshire, said he once caught a rat that was the same size as a Yorkshire Terrier.

He revealed: “Rats are getting bigger, bolder and more brazen. They're less bothered about humans, cats, or anything.”

What are super rats?

While you might think a super rat is a rat that’s much bigger than the usual kind, this isn’t the case.

The Pest UK website explains that the term super rat “refers to their immunity to current poison baits used across the UK.”

Adam Juson, co-founder of commercial pest control company Merlin Environmental, told the Mirror: "Like most pests, rats are opportunistic creatures constantly on the lookout for food, water, and shelter.

“Unfortunately, human homes can provide these in abundance, making our properties and gardens attractive targets for these unwelcome guests.

The Bolton News: Rats are attracted to our homes and gardens for multiple reasonsRats are attracted to our homes and gardens for multiple reasons (Image: Getty)

"We're currently seeing an influx of giant rats in gardens and homes across the UK, and the new two-weekly bin collection schedule in some areas could be directly impacting this increased rat activity, but there are other ways we could be inadvertently making our homes a bigger target than others!

“Known as brown rats, these giant rats can grow significantly bigger compared to traditional sizes, especially when conditions are favourable and food and water are available.”

How to keep rats away from your garden

If you've noticed rats are taking up residence in your garden, there are some ways you can get rid of them, explain pet experts.

Experts from Shield Pest Control say any gaps in your garden “should be filled with wire wool and bristle strip” to stop rats coming through.

They further warn homeowners about food, saying: “Rats are constantly looking for food sources, and our homes provide the perfect opportunity to scavenge for scraps.”

Kieran Sampler explained previously that rats will change their behaviour or routine, for example, if they think waking up early provides a better food source, they'll avoid lying in.

Make sure you keep all food in your home in tightly closed containers and avoid leaving food on the floor as this can attract rats.

While bird feeders provide a food source for birds, they can also attract rats so it's important to clean away any leftovers.

Shield Pest Control adds: warned: “Rats will use almost anything to build a nest, not just natural materials such as twigs and plant matter. They'll go through your bins to find appropriate materials such as paper and cardboard.”

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Adam issued some advice for those with cellars, attics and garages, saying: “Storing items, clutter and even old newspapers in basements, garages, and attics also provides the perfect nesting environment for rats. This is because they are in search of dark and undisturbed areas where they can breed and hide.

“Avoid clutter and store any items in sealed plastic containers instead of plastic bags or cardboard boxes as rats can easily chew through these materials. Consider disposing of any newspapers and any other material that could be used for nesting.”

Shield Pest Control added that rats don't like some smells including peppermint oil and cayenne pepper so leaving these around your home and garden could help keep them away.