Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it Superman? Nope it is the biggest goddamn rat you have probably ever seen…or is it???
Up there on the websites that specialize in bringing the public the wackiest, weirdest news from around the world is the story of grandfather Brian Watson, 67, and the gigantic rat that he killed! However there appears to be a bit of debate going on as to whether this creature was actually a rat, with some people suggesting it was a Coypu, or that the whole thing might be some sort of elaborate publicity hoax. A Coypu is generally native to Latin America and would normally be more similar in size to the creature that Watson caught which is alleged to have measured 4ft from nose to tail. They have been brought to Europe and other parts of the world for their fur in recent times, but are still considered to be vermin. Whist I am no expert, looking at pictures of the two, the thing in Watson’s arms definitely looks more like a rat than a Coypu to me.
The whole thing is all a bit ‘Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH’ a novel I loved when I was a youngster. For those of you who haven’t heard of it, it was a brilliant book (then turned into a cartoon) about some rats that became super-intelligent and grew in size and stature after strange drugs were tested on them in a medical lab. The rats used their newly increased brain capacity to orchestrate an escape and formed their own secret society under a thorn bush of a nearby farm. They had running water, electricity (which they would steal from the farm) all sorts of useful working contraptions and their own government! Maybe Watson’s rat was some sort of escapee too, although a NIMH rat wouldn’t have been so easy to catch and kill!
Brian Watson, allegedly caught and killed this giant creature in Castleside, which is in the North East of England. Apparently his attention was drawn to it when he was on his tractor cutting grass and it was spotted by his granddaughter’s boyfriend. Some rumors have emerged that the incident actually occurred quite a few months ago but that the story broke when Watson’s friend, Bri Mitchell posted the picture of him with the rat on Twitter.
Watson’s actions have angered animal rights activists who questioned why he felt to kill the creature that wasn’t posing any harm to him or his family. But comment streams on the various web articles about the event are also questioning the credibility of the entire story. Some people have argued that if Watson did actually catch and kill a rat that size, why would he then burn the evidence (this is what several news articles state that he did with the body of the creature after he killed it). Surely you would want the authorities to examine something like and tell you what in the world was going on. I can see what the doubters are getting at, if I came across an unusual creature like that I would definitely want some answers!
Hmmmm, I definitely smell a rat, but it does seem like this might be one of those cases where we might never know the real truth of what actually happened in the usually quiet little town of Castleside!