Poison is having no effect on rats
MUTANT, poison-resistant rats are multiplying in Bristol, researchers have warned.
An 18-month project to DNA test the country's rat population found that in the city and surrounding areas, including Bath, Gloucestershire and Somerset, three-quarters of the animals examined had developed resistance to commonly sold poisons including bromadiolone and difenacoum.
Dr Dougie Clarke, the head of biological sciences at Huddersfield University, carried out the study.
He warned that within ten years, as rats without the mutation are killed off and the genetically mutated rats breed with each other, the entire population could be resistant to poisons.
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He blamed pest controllers for not putting down strong enough doses of the poison, allowing rats to grow immune to them like a vaccine.
There are also fears that poisons that are building up in resistant rats' bodies but not killing them could be passed up the food chain if the rats are caught and eaten by cats or birds of prey.
Dr Clarke said stronger poisons had to be used to wipe out the "super rats", whose resistance was down to a genetic mutation rather the evolutionary process.