Cannibal rats are on the rise in Britain.

A rat

A rat

Hungry rodents have been reportedly eating their own young and have been raiding houses to find food during lockdown.

Steve Belmain, Britain's leading rat academic, said: ''Mothers will eat their young in the hope of one day being able to reproduce again.

''If there's not enough food to take care of herself, she won't kill herself looking after them.''

Pest firm Rentokil have reported an 80 per cent surge in calls during the coronavirus lockdown and pest controllers have noticed a change in the behaviour of the animals.

Paul Bates of Cleankill, a company in Croydon, said: ''We've noticed more activity around compost bins, as people in lockdown are composting far more.''

Nick Woodroffe, of Peak Pest Control in Derbyshire, added: ''Customers have all commented on how much braver and more brazen the rats have become.''