Lockdown boosts Manchester’s rat population to 1.1 million

The recorded number of rats in the UK has seen a sharp increase of 30 million over lockdown bringing the overall figure to 150 million nationwide in 2020.

According to, Manchester has registered a 25% growth in the number of rats from 888,961 in 2019 to 1,111,201 this year with figures showing there are now 2.2 rats for every person living in the country.

Rats can typically give birth to six litters of as many as 12 pups per year and due to lockdown, they have been able to breed in peace with an abundance of food and undisturbed shelter in closed shops with poor waste management.

The cities with the highest rat population are:

  1. London – 19.9m
  2. Birmingham – 2.4m
  3. Leeds – 1.7m
  4. Glasgow – 1.3m
  5. Sheffield – 1.2m
  6. Manchester – 1.1m
  7. Edinburgh – 1.1m
  8. Liverpool – 1m
  9. Bristol – 950,000
  10. Cardiff – 760,000

“The problem we have right now is that rats are trying to bed down for winter,” says Jenny Rathbone from

“Rats need food and shelter to breed, so any food source should be quickly cleaned away – keeping yard areas clean and tidy is key to keeping rats under control.”

Residents in urban areas are advised to take proactive measures before the cold kicks in and the rats start searching for warmer places to bunker down.

These include preparing traps, filling in any gaps in brickwork, shed doors and any external holes, keeping your cupboards clean, making sure food is never left out and that food storage areas are kept tidy and free of crumbs.

Photo credit: Mert Guller on Unsplash

Related Articles