It's the rat's tale that went around the world.
Brian Watson killed a 4ft 'giant rat' with a piece of wood in Castleside, Consett, County Durham.
It was thought the rodent was a mutant rat but now it has been suggested it could be a rare Coypu, a South American water rat, believed to have been eradicated from the UK decades ago.
Nick Robinson, animal expert and Newcastle pet shop owner said: "If it is a rat it's scary. From what I know of Coypu they do tend to be found around water a lot which this one obviously was.
"I've never come across a rat that is that size. May be someone had it as an exotic pet that just got too big and released it. But having said that most of the Coypu I have seen have got darker feet but this one has the lighter feet. It's intriguing.
"My heart is telling me to hope that it is a Coypu and not that there's some species of mutant rat running around."
Mr Watson told Sky Tyne and Wear: "It wasn’t very fast because it was that big. I managed to kill it there and then, I’ve never seen a rat as big in my life before."
The story came to light when Mr Watson’s friend, Bri Mitchell, posted a picture of the rodent after it had been caught, on Twitter.
Giant rat or Coypu it's still scary isn't it?
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