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Rats 'the size of cats' infest Auckland suburb

A West Auckland resident wants people to stop feeding stray chickens because it's creating a problem with large "gangs" of rats hanging around.

Titirangi resident Victoria Jack told 1 NEWS it's not a dirty area like some people may assume - there had just been a problem for several years of rats "the size of cats" hanging around for food.

"It's been going on for a little while, a couple of years ... but it's escalated in the past six months," Ms Jack said. "It's an indication of the species procreating."

Originally, there were about three or four "deserted" chickens, but after being feed they stuck around and reproduced, too, Ms Jack said. "The more you feed something the more they are going to procreate."

Then when they were being fed, the rat populations caught on and the problem ramped up.

Ms Jack couldn't estimate how many rats there were, but says the area is surrounded by bush so rodents are expected. However, she added, the number is getting out of control.

"They've come into my house through the cat door, which is crazy," she said, adding some people had them getting into roof cavities of their homes. "Rats and mice can get through really small spaces.

"The best outcome would be to get the [people] feeding the chickens to stop and get an extermination process to get the chickens eradicated out and try to get rid of them.

"It just needs to be controlled."

Waitākere Ranges Local Board's Chairperson Greg Presland says he is aware of the rat issue.

"I have not actually seen any rats myself but members of the public have told me about the infestation and I have been provided with photographs. It is possible that the rats are associated with a chicken infestation which has been a long standing problem.

"Council has limited powers under bylaws or the Biosecurity Act to control chickens or rats and the feeding of non-native species. It is the responsibility of homeowners and businesses to manage pests such as rats, mice and possums on their premises," he says.

Rat Source: istock.com