Residents in the northern Swedish town of Sundsvall have been ordered to keep their doors and windows closed amid an invasion of unusually large rats. This is meant to safeguard local homes and shut off the rats' access to extra food, national broadcaster SVT reported.
"These aren't your normal type of rats you see in the forest. They are as big as cats," Benny Sagmo of the Sundsvall city planning office said. "They've already spread out towards a residential area. Those who live there can't even have their front doors or balcony doors open."
The list of appeals by the Sundsvall municipality's environmental coordinator also includes using secure compost bins and avoiding leaving rubbish behind after picnics in the park.
"One of our girls mixed up a giant rat with our stables cat," Gun Söderberg at Sundsvalls Riding Club said.
At the Trädet preschool, children were temporarily banned from eating or taking their naps outside for their safety.
"I decided that the children should sleep inside, because we can't have rats jumping into the pushchairs," head teacher Mia Löfgren told SVT.
A private recycling center has been blamed for the rodent invasion. The center is currently in the process of moving, displacing the rats from their habitat. The municipal recycling center, situated in the same area, may be yet another lair for the giant rodents. Previously, the reality at the recycling center was described as "rats climbing along your pants and running around uncontrollably."
Earlier this week, a pest control firm introduced by the municipality installed 50 traps across the town, each with the capacity for catching two rats. At present, other methods are also being pondered, if the traps don't solve the problem.
"If we don't put an end to it, they can get bigger and bigger. But I know we will, whatever the cost," said Sagmo, signaling that the municipality is ready to go "all in."