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  (Source: Mirage Studios)
"Mutant" rodents can grow to 5 kg, are about as big as cats, outnumber residents 6-to-1

According to a top government-owned English language newspaper in the United Arab Emirates -- The National -- the streets of Tehran have been running red with blood, as the government has deployed military troops to kill mutant rodents.

While Iran's Revolutionary Guard is typically more focused on hurling threats against its western adversaries, it's been forced to focus on the homeland amidst chaos in Tehran.  The city has been plagued by an insidious infestation of an unusual breed of rats, which reportedly grow to the size of a cat.  

Mohammad Hadi Heydarzadeh, the head of Tehran municipality's environmental agency told a state TV news agency last month, "It's become a 24/7 war.  We use chemical poisons to kill the rats during the day and the snipers at night."

So far 2,000 of the fearsome creatures have been killed.

The problem has become exacerbated as snow from the Alborz mountains seasonally melts, raising water levels and flushing the rats out of their subterranean lairs.  Researchers estimate the rats may outnumber their human adversaries six to one.  And these aren't your run-of-the-mill rodents.  Reportedly they grow to around 5 kg (11 lbs).

Iran wide
Iran has deployed skilled snipers to combat the rodent menace. [Image Source: ISNA]

Ismail Kahram, an environmental adviser to the city council, says the rats have changed in appearance over the years.  He comments, "They seem to have had a genetic mutation.  They are bigger now and look different. These are changes that normally take millions of years of evolution."

U.S. experts say this is unlikely, pointing out that even common black rats can get quite large.  Dr. David Baker, a laboratory animal veterinarian at LSU tells the Huffington Post, "Nearly all genetic mutations identified across the field of biology are harmful and confer a disadvantage to the species rather than an advantage. It’s not like in the sci-fi movies.  [But] during the Middle Ages, [standard] black rats in Europe reportedly grew large enough -- and children were small enough -- to carry off babies. Those had to have been some big rats."

Regardless of who is right, one thing is for sure -- these are some big rats.

Mutant Rats
One of Iran's massive "mutant" rats. [Image Source: Reuters]

The city uses tons of poison a year.  The special toxin used causes the rodents to become very thirst before death, a blessing as they then go off to die in the sewers, limiting the public health risk.  Still, it appears that the city is making little headway against the ever growing rodent threat.

Sources: The National (UAE), The Huffington Post

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By Reclaimer77 on 3/5/2013 5:34:43 PM , Rating: 4
Looks like an outbreak of Gambian rats to me, an invasive species from Africa. People bring them in as "exotic" pets, they get out, breed, chaos ensues.

We had the same thing happen in Florida. Well, still happening. Almost impossible to get rid of them.

RE: Mutation?
By Brandon Hill on 3/5/2013 5:39:39 PM , Rating: 5
“Nuke [it] from orbit -- it’s the only way to be sure”

RE: Mutation?
By Reclaimer77 on 3/5/2013 5:43:49 PM , Rating: 1
lmao points to you :)

But I say we nerve gas the whole fuckin' nest first. CN-20 ftw :P

I can hear the econuts now lol...

RE: Mutation?
By javiergf on 3/5/2013 6:38:01 PM , Rating: 2
Lt. Ripley is right!

RE: Mutation?
By geekman1024 on 3/5/2013 8:48:00 PM , Rating: 4
You are suggesting we nuke Florida? Good idea!

RE: Mutation?
By espaghetti on 3/5/2013 9:00:52 PM , Rating: 2
Why do you hate Hispanics, Canadians and New Yorkers?

RE: Mutation?
By geekman1024 on 3/6/2013 3:14:45 AM , Rating: 4
I don't hate anyone, I just like the idea of nuking...I a Fallout fan.

RE: Mutation?
By Sazabi19 on 3/6/2013 8:34:41 AM , Rating: 5
Can we start with California first? They may not have a rat problem but the vermin there are a real pest. I would also suggest NY and NJ before FL, you know... for lead up tests to ensure it will work well for FL.

RE: Mutation?
By Donkey2008 on 3/6/2013 11:35:48 PM , Rating: 1
Must suck living in a shitty state I guess.

RE: Mutation?
By chick0n on 3/13/2013 1:55:57 AM , Rating: 2
after our retarded governor said he is looking to ban all kinds of ferraris/porsches/Camaros/vette/etc etc cuz he said they are "assault" Vehicle ...

Please try NY first before everywhere else. Even I lived there for 22 fooking years. (NYC) I gotta say please do it before this retarded mindset spread thruout the whole country.

RE: Mutation?
By wifiwolf on 3/6/2013 4:55:30 AM , Rating: 5
Nuking them would be worst.
Clearly this mutation was caused by recent Iran nuclear research facilities. :S

RE: Mutation?
By michael67 on 3/5/2013 7:17:21 PM , Rating: 5
We also had a species in Holland that grown almost that large, i use to hunt them, as there tails (as proof of a kill) ware worth around $5 (or about $15 now a days after inflation compensation), as they would tunnel in to dikes.

Something you really don't want in a country that is for 40% below sea level, and till the end of capital punishment, sabotage of dikes could be a capital crime.

I some times got up to 10 of those rats if i was lucky in a day (mostly around 2 to 5 of them), and $50 ($150) was a hell of a lot of money if you ware around 15 years old.

And i got pretty good with a crossbow.

RE: Mutation?
By NellyFromMA on 3/6/2013 1:21:58 PM , Rating: 2
$15 for a rat tail? Is there a purpose for the said rat tail?

RE: Mutation?
By ClownPuncher on 3/6/2013 2:31:16 PM , Rating: 5
xp in repetetive WoW quests.

RE: Mutation?
By JediJeb on 3/6/2013 3:15:44 PM , Rating: 2
Purpose for the tail is to insure that the rat was killed, and to keep you from trying to get duplicate payment for the same rat. Assuming one tail per rat, unless it has mutated to have two tails :)

RE: Mutation?
By daboom06 on 3/7/2013 12:12:21 PM , Rating: 2
does more than half of a rat tail count as a full rat tail? sometimes after heavy circulation they start to deteriorate and should be able to be exchanged for ones newly minted.

RE: Mutation?
By JediJeb on 3/5/2013 9:16:14 PM , Rating: 5
Reminds me of Wamp Rats! Just need a T-16 and you can bullseye them all day long from the air :)

RE: Mutation?
By cparka23 on 3/6/2013 9:51:50 AM , Rating: 4
That's impossible... even for a computer.

RE: Mutation?
By JediJeb on 3/6/2013 3:16:36 PM , Rating: 2
Who needs a computer when you have the Force.

RE: Mutation?
By Myrandex on 3/7/2013 1:37:30 PM , Rating: 2
Florida's problem will be solved by their large python & boa issue that is currently going on. They would dine on these with no issue.

All that is needed is to revoked the slaughter that is currently going on with Florida encouraging residents to hunt these large animals.

Just think of the outcry if a state readily encouraged people to run around shooting stray cats and dogs?


RE: Mutation?
By tamalero on 3/12/2013 12:53:25 PM , Rating: 2
sad that its always a dumbass who creates the issue.
"xxx person released them into the wild".
do these people even think the consequences ?

Dr. David Baker Seems To Be Mistaken
By mindless1 on 3/5/13, Rating: 0
RE: Dr. David Baker Seems To Be Mistaken
By jtemplin on 3/6/2013 12:20:39 AM , Rating: 3
Sounds like Tehran is claiming this evolution happened in the last 20 years or something. From early hominim to now is like 7 million years. So...not quite sure where you are going with that comparison.

Pretty sure Dr. Baker is just appealing to Occam's razor. Given the research on mutations which lets assume he is well-versed in (reasonable assumption I'd say) whats more likely: an invasive species from north africa, or just another species period, as another poster suggested or the infinitesimally small chance of a size enhancing mutation that occurred in an extraordinarily short period of time.

RE: Dr. David Baker Seems To Be Mistaken
By martin5000 on 3/6/2013 6:42:55 AM , Rating: 5
Yup, or an even more simple theory:

1) ALL rats can get fairly big, given the correct conditions and good food supply.

Combined with:

2) People exaggerate how big they really are, the rat in the image is well below the size of a cat. My cat weighs ~6kg and is much larger than that. I'd say that one is 2kg at most.

RE: Dr. David Baker Seems To Be Mistaken
By NellyFromMA on 3/6/2013 1:25:50 PM , Rating: 2
The article didn't say it was larger than an American obese cat.

That rat is definitely as large if not larger than an adult non-obese cat.

By martin5000 on 3/6/2013 2:55:33 PM , Rating: 3
It says 5kg. My cat is 6kg (he's big, not fat). My cat is way bigger than that rat, easily 3x the size.

By mindless1 on 3/7/2013 2:32:23 PM , Rating: 2
I have no doubt that they're referencing the size of the larger ones as justification for their measures to combat them, but at the same time I am fairly confident that someone managed to smuggle a scale into Iran once upon a time ago so they have a method of determining weight.

Yes all rats can get fairly big but except for starvation situations, which there wouldn't have been if the population had the environment to swell to such large numbers, an adult rat will grow to about the same genetically determinate size, they don't just keep getting larger and larger like filling a balloon with air.

It's a far more simple theory that rats that look different and are significantly larger, both of which were reported, aren't genetically the same.

By mindless1 on 3/7/2013 2:28:16 PM , Rating: 2
No, evolution is just one example. I also posed the more likely situation that it was the chemicals and radiation, which other news reports also support.

Occam's razor has nothing to do with it, he overgeneralized instead of looking at the specifics of the situation, that in fact these people have lived there thousands of years and happen to know what size rats there usually are. I know this is hard to believe, but in a rat infested place people tend to see one every now and then.

Yes it is highly possible they've cross bred, and today we, and they, have the tech to determine whether that is the case... and yet, so far they don't seem to think that is the situation.

There is nothing all that abstract or abnormal about a mutation that causes large size, becoming dominant quickly in a species that has a relatively short lifespan and frequent breeding. The abnormality would be what % of mutations cause the large size but given a sufficiently high population under extreme conditions, life still finds a way... rats will be around long after humans are gone no matter what mutation it takes for them to survive.

By tamalero on 3/12/2013 12:55:51 PM , Rating: 2
I think the point is.. what if; they didnt know these species well...until the snow started to melt and push them towards human settlements?

RE: Dr. David Baker Seems To Be Mistaken
By invidious on 3/6/2013 9:45:36 AM , Rating: 2
Far more likely that this breed of rat is roughly the same size that it has always been. The reports of increased size can probably be contributed to poor data collection, incorrect correlation to a different breed or rat, or intentional sensationalism.

RE: Dr. David Baker Seems To Be Mistaken
By nafhan on 3/6/2013 12:25:57 PM , Rating: 2
OR the rats might have an excellent food supply while they are growing that's not typical of this breed in other locations/"the wild".

I know in humans, change in diet (i.e. more calories and especially protein) has been linked to increases in average height in countries from Japan to Holland over the past 50-100 years.

By superflex on 3/11/2013 10:01:21 AM , Rating: 2
Excellent food supply in Iran is an oxymoron.

RE: Dr. David Baker Seems To Be Mistaken
By Mr Perfect on 3/6/2013 12:27:37 PM , Rating: 2
Size could also be affected by the success of larger rats vs smaller rats. If Iran started with a normal population of rats and the largest rats lived longer and produced more children then the smaller rats, the Iranian rat population would start getting larger. Give it enough generations and you'd end up with rodents of an unusual size. So yes, populations can change even if they're not mutating.

RE: Dr. David Baker Seems To Be Mistaken
By JediJeb on 3/6/2013 3:20:32 PM , Rating: 2
Give it enough generations and you'd end up with rodents of an unusual size.

That's inconceivable!

By sorry dog on 3/7/2013 10:51:05 AM , Rating: 2
I do not think that word means what you think it means.

By mindless1 on 3/7/2013 2:38:56 PM , Rating: 2
You would not end up with rats larger than the largest breeder, any subsequent DNA would produce offspring that size or smaller, EXCEPT if there is a mutation which leads back to what I wrote in the first place.

Yes an entire colony could be roughly the size of the ancestor whose DNA they share, but not significantly larger than that over the span of only a dozen or two years.

Not sure how there are people out there that don't understand this, it's not an especially advanced topic. People and other animals haven't grown to twice their prior size over a few generations, including cases where there was an abundance of food (unless you count obesity, only an increase in waist size which isn't the case with the Iranian rats) there's a genetic difference.

reminds me of mexico
By Soulkeeper on 3/5/2013 8:00:22 PM , Rating: 2
I've seen some of those big rats down in mexico.
When I was a kid we used to buy stale cinnamon pastries from the street venders and feed them. They were easily bigger than cats.

RE: reminds me of mexico
By Reclaimer77 on 3/5/2013 8:35:52 PM , Rating: 5
That wasn't rats. You saw Chupacabra!!!

RE: reminds me of mexico
By woody1 on 3/6/2013 2:47:08 PM , Rating: 2
Ayeeeee!!! Chupacabra! Runnnnn......

Holy Cow!!
By geekman1024 on 3/5/2013 8:46:32 PM , Rating: 5
Iranian snipers snipes with rocket launcher while riding on a motor-bike?? Where is my Sniper Elite: Iran Edition?? I want to play it NOW!

RE: Holy Cow!!
By kattanna on 3/6/2013 10:28:27 AM , Rating: 3
yeah.. but if you look at the guy driving.. he seriously has the look of..hey pal.. that had better be your pistol im feeling on my neck..


Cat, car, what's the difference
By Visual on 3/6/2013 4:01:29 AM , Rating: 2
It was quite amusing how I consistently kept misreading that, until I got to the 5kg figure and decided something did not quite fit.

RE: Cat, car, what's the difference
By rpsgc on 3/6/2013 5:44:59 AM , Rating: 3
Car-sized rats... oh my.

By Visual on 3/6/2013 7:34:30 AM , Rating: 2
Would certainly explain the need to deploy snipers though...
BTW, they never mentioned how big the cat was either ;)

By Silver2k7 on 3/6/2013 2:40:44 AM , Rating: 2
Are they really mutant I belive simmilar sized ones have been seen in stables and around garbage dumps since wayy back.

When I was little my cat tried to fight one on the lawn... but the cat gave up i think.. cat vs. rat was almost same in size.

probably came from the neighbours stable.. never saw one that size again but im guessing if they have good food sources they will grow.

RE: Ehm
By ShieTar on 3/6/2013 3:09:50 AM , Rating: 2
Everything alive today is mutant. There were no rats around a billion years ago.

But yeah, changes in food supply are known to change the average size of a species dramatically. Even humans in europe are nowadays a good foot taller on average than they were 200 years ago, because back then most people knew hunger.

RE: Ehm
By mindless1 on 3/7/2013 2:46:02 PM , Rating: 2
Changes in food supply do not tend to change the skeletal size of a mammal much at all, except in cases of shortages sufficient to cause malformation, the resultant human (or animal) looking deformed. They have been living along with their rat population for(ever), if their scientists feel there is a genetic difference, no matter what the cause (including cross-breeding), it is very likely they are correct. Being first hand and studying something tends to lend itself to this capability.

Yes Europeans are a few inches taller on average which can be explained by taller (larger in general) people being more dominant, but over 200 years this would only be a small fractional increase in their total size, unlike the larger difference in a short period for the rats.

mutants, eh?
By MadMan007 on 3/5/2013 6:06:13 PM , Rating: 4
Now we know what Iran's nuclear program is really for...killer mutant rats to fight killer ethical robots!

Saw the pic...meh
By uallas5 on 3/6/2013 2:12:16 PM , Rating: 2
I'm assuming that's not a full size one. I wouldn't even give something that small a second glance compared to the wharf rats I've seen in Boston.

RE: Saw the pic...meh
By Milliamp on 3/9/2013 8:45:48 PM , Rating: 2
I've seen rats in NYC that are also almost that big.

rats in sewers
By suefm on 3/6/2013 8:02:25 AM , Rating: 3
Are these related to giant mole rats?

By zephyrprime on 3/6/2013 12:03:24 PM , Rating: 3
I've seen bigger rats than that in mexico.

By JeanVictorCote on 3/5/2013 7:42:44 PM , Rating: 2
...they show up and don't get a chance to evolve. So much like us, invasive and everything...

By In2Boost on 3/5/2013 9:58:55 PM , Rating: 2
I have seen bigger rats in the subway, but I didn't know the Chicago White Sox were popular in Iran.

By 8meagain on 3/5/2013 11:00:18 PM , Rating: 2
These are identical to those GD Mole Rats in the Fallout series!!!

See??? That shit is REAL.

Picture of skilled snipers.
By imaheadcase on 3/6/2013 8:39:49 AM , Rating: 2
..those RPG really take skill to snipe rats :D

By cmart on 3/6/2013 10:46:45 AM , Rating: 2
Rodents Of Unusual Size? I don't think they exist.

By nleksan on 3/8/2013 1:34:57 AM , Rating: 2
Why not put a bounty system in place? $1USD (or whatever) per Rat Carcass?

I would love to get some moving-target practice with some of my rifles... Set up with my custom 14.5"-Barreled AR15 in .300 Blackout (12" Free-Float RIS, Chromed Select-Fire Trigger Assembly, Piston Gas System, AAC BLK Suppressor, MagPul ACS Stock with Cheek Riser, TangoDown BattleGrip, MagPul EMAG's w Round Window, SureFire M910V w Cree LED's, Troy Low-Profile Battlesights, EOTech EXPS3-2 Holographic Sight and G23.FTS 3x Magnifier, etc); swap the sight for Leupold Mk4 3-9x45 Mil-Spec Reticule scope and a current-gen NV Scope, throw a bipod on there (TangoDown side-mounted one), load up a dozen magazines with 26rds of 230gr .300BLK subsonic each, and get a comfy chair, a cooler, a 12 pack, and a friend for some competitive rat hunting lol.

Or, take the aggressive approach... Spec Ops: R.A.T.S.
Go grab a bunch of my old tactical gear (wherever it's hiding; Vest, Pack, Belt, Drop-Leg holster, drop-leg mag pouches, mag dump pouch, Camelbak, BlackHawk Hellstorm kevlar gloves, "tactical boots" made entirely of leather/Kevlar/Carbon Fiber, knee pads, Oakley shatterproof/fog-proof goggles, etc), waterproof flight suit-style getup, some Night Vision with a flip-up mount for helmet (and Thermal Imaging/FLIR; one monocular of each?), NOMEX Balaclava, and a gas-mask with a few extra filters.
Take my HK416 10.4" (EOTech EXPS3-4 w G23.FTS 3x, GemTech G5-T Suppressor, MagPul EMAGs, SureFire M910V w extra batteries in compartment in stock and in vest, Insight AN/PEQ-15 IR/Visible/Strobe) or H&K UMP.45 Select-Fire submachinegun (25rd Polymer magazines, polymer dual-magazine clamps, GemTech Suppressor, Knights RIS, SureFire M910V, HK Backup Irons, Trijicon Reflex Sight with Variable-Intensity reticule)...or maybe just a TDI Vector .45ACP with a Defiance HPS suppressor, Trijicon reflex sight, and a SureFire weaponlight (and DD Vertical Foregrip)...
Carry a master key in the form of a Benelli M3 Super90 Entry 12GA Semi-Auto/Pump-Action Shotgun (13" Barrel, 4+1 Tube, Cylinder Bore, Pistol Grip with collapsing stock, Tritium illuminated Ghost Ring sights, door-breaching muzzle brake, SureFire integrated foregrip weaponlight, side-saddle 5-shell holder), and carrying a nice mix of 3" shells including Rifled Slugs, #6 Bird (breaching), #4 Buck, #7 Buck, 00 Buck, and .50cal Sabot Slugs.

Strap my trusty Sig P226 Tactical .357SIG to my waist, HK USP.45 Tactical with Knights Armaments suppressor and Insight Light/Laser in drop-leg....

Load up on ~210gr .45ACP Hornady Extreme-Expansion hollowpoint rounds (subsonic, virtually silent when suppressed, but make big holes!)...

Oh, and bring a dozen CS grenades, a dozen concussion grenades, a dozen fragmentation grenades, a dozen incendiary/white phosphor grenades... Save bullets and get a bunch at once.



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