People flee caravans in ‘central rat’ nature reserve overrun by hungry rodents

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Rodents have taken over a nature reserve, earning it the nickname “central rat” from disgusted visitors.

Walkers claim to have seen rats destroying trees in search of eggs in birds’ nests, which would have prevented holidaymakers from a nearby caravan site from visiting.

Remarkably, two women are blamed for the rise of the rats as witnesses claim they saw them handing out food at the beauty spot every day, NorthWalesLive reports.

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With the depletion of birds following the rodent takeover at Brickfield Pond, Rhyl, wildlife lovers are calling for renewed action after Denbighshire Council’s attempts to tackle the problem met with only one initial success.



Brickfield Pond in Rhyl has become overrun with rats, according to visitors and those nearby

Last week, Sue Nelson counted 22 rats as she walked the reserve’s 1km perimeter trail with her two dogs. The previous count was 19, then 20.

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“The rats almost define this place now,” sighed the retired university professor, 74. “Which is a shame, because it’s such a beautiful place.”

Complaints of rats in Brickfield date back at least a decade. In 2014, he was dubbed “rat central” in a Tripadvisor review by a mother who grabbed her two children and “ran away.”

During the first lockdown in 2020, the number of rats was said to have been out of control, with one woman describing her visit as ‘awful’.

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Rats have been a feature of the reserve for over a decade - but the problem seems to be getting worse
Rats have been a feature of the reserve for over a decade – but the problem seems to be getting worse

“I have never been so disgusted,” she wrote. “My granddaughter was absolutely petrified. We ended up shouting and making noise in hopes of scaring them off, to no avail.

Along with retired social worker Ann Hughes, Sue Nelson lobbied the council for vermin control in 2020 and in response a series of baited rat boxes were laid out and there was immediate improvement.

“The following spring we started seeing a lot more mallards, coots and moorhens near the pond,” Sue said. “The Swans had four cygnets and managed to raise them all.”

By spring of that year, reproductive rates had dropped again. Walkers blame two older ladies who regularly feed the rats and allegedly resist all efforts of persuasion.

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The council has removed its own bird feeders a bit to reduce the number of rats
The council has removed its own bird feeders a bit to reduce the number of rats

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Some confrontations can get heated, Sue said. “Last week one of the women called me ak***head as she walked past,” she said. “I’ve been called a lot of things but never this!”

A Denbighshire Council spokesperson said: ‘We would ask people not to leave food along the burrows and paths around Brickfield Pond.

“Our campaign service has installed timber frame signage at the site to discourage visitors to the site from feeding the rats directly. We have also removed our own bird feeders from the site to help reduce the number of rats on site.

“Bird feeding tables have been placed in the area to allow any food to be left behind by visitors more responsibly.” RSPB Cymru was also approached for comment.

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