Giant rats in South London were copied photos of Giant Swamp Rats

A family of giant rats as big as cats caught in South London by a pest controller was a hoax. The ‘recent pictures’ had, in fact, been posted online two years ago, and were of a type of very large swamp rodent that lives in the tropics.

Lord Dean David Burr (born 18 Jan 1980), an official Lord of Wimbledon and businessman, had posted the photographs of the ‘Giant London Rats’ as ‘compelling proof’ that he had caught the massive pests on a housing estate in Tooting.

Giant London Rat or Giant Swamp RatNational Geographic placed the top image online in 2014 of Giant Swamp Rats. Lord Dean Burr placed the bottom photo online in 2016 of Giant London Rats as big as cats which he ‘caught in a housing estate’. Guess which one is not telling us the truth? (Images: National Geographic and The Daily Star)

Cannibal rats?

Lord Dean Burr, who inherited the title after his uncle died, claimed the Goliath rats had grown so large because they were starting to become cannibalistic, i.e. feasting on each other. A bizarre explanation, given that most human cannibals in history are actually smaller than other people on the planet.

In an interview with the Daily Star, published on 15th April this year, he said:

“Rats will eat mice and they will eat each other as and when they die. So it’s possible that these rats got so big by attacking and eating smaller rats.”

“Getting six this big in one swoop is unheard of. I reckon we got the majority of the family. They were big, a foot to two feet long – that’s the size of a cat.”

Lord Dean David BurrWhile the jury is still out on Lord Dean David Burr’s ability to catch giant rats in London, we can be certain of one thing: he knows how to copy and paste photographs! (Image:

He claimed he discovered the giant beasts while carrying out a routine inspection of some traps he had set in a housing estate in Tooting.

The traps had been ineffective, he said, because the animals were so big.

He said that in his fifteen years as a pest controller, he had never seen such big rats in the UK – and so many of them together.

He warned about cornering one of these beasts, or coming face-to-face. “They will fight and they will bite and they will defend if they have to. It is a serious issue. They are getting bigger and bigger.”

Giant Rat caughtPest controller Jeff Sullivan claimed last week that he caught this two-foot long rat in Grimsby, Lincolnshire, England. He insists his claim is authentic. He also said British rodents are becoming more resistant to over-the-counter rat poisons. (Image:

However, Lord Burr’s photograph was nothing of the kind. It had been on the Internet for two years, appearing on a National Geographic Channel web page, and also Both websites, described the rodents on their photos as Giant Swamp Rats.

So either the Wimbledon Lord is a practical joker or has lost his marbles.

Video – Giant Rat: Real or Fake?

Many people post photos online showing giant rats they claim to have caught. Are they real or fake? In this video, Bill takes a look at one.