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Tehran rats outgrowing cats, surviving poison, but not snipers

Giant, mutant rats surviving poison, so Tehran hires sniper teams.

Chinese farmers hunt ratsEnlarge
Chinese farmers hunt rats during an eradication program near the village of Bing Hu in Hunan Province, on July 13, 2007. Two billion rats fled their flooded homes, destroying farmland and posing a health risk to humans. (MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

Nuclear inspectors searching for evidence of Iran’s nuclear program might want to concentrate their efforts in the sewers.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles can’t be far behind after officials in Tehran reported giant, mutated rats are terrorizing the city to such a degree they’re now hiring extra sharpshooters to deal with them.

Ridding themselves of rodents is more difficult than desired, with the Iranian capital of 12 million people reportedly living with 25 million rats, The National reported.

"It's become a 24/7 war," Tehran environmental chief Mohammad Hadi Heydarzadeh told state media, according to The National.

"We use chemical poisons to kill the rats during the day and the snipers at night."

Yes, snipers.

The 11-pound rats are so big they’re scaring away cats and showing resistance to poison.

Some believe they’ve been exposed to chemicals that are allowing them to reach such extreme sizes, International Business Times said.

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"They seem to have had a genetic mutation, probably as a result of radiations and the chemical used on them," university professor Ismail Kahram said, according to IBT.

"They are now bigger and look different. These are changes that normally take millions of years of evolution. They have jumped from 60 grams (2 ounces) to five kilos (11 pounds), and cats are now smaller than them."

So far, a few teams of snipers using infrared scopes to hunt the creatures have killed about 2,200 rats.

CNN reported the city hopes to hire 40 sniper teams by the end of this year and is working with academics using computer models to determine their nests and the effectiveness of the controls.

Officials said the Norway Rats have infiltrated Iran on cargo containers.

"The number of these rodents in Tehran is on the decline,” Heydarzadeh told the broadcaster.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/iran/130305/tehran-rats-outgrowing-cats-surviving-poison-not-snipe