Whilst some view them as unusual pets, most see rats as disease dwelling rodents and it has now been estimated that this they’re costing Britain over £62m a year.

This news comes as part of a report by the international agriculture and environmental organisation CABI, which looked into just how much these species are costing us a year. The Economic Cost of Invasive Non-Native Species states that foreign animals and plants are currently costing a total of £1.7 billion a year.

Rabbits are cited as the most costly species of all, reporting a huge bill of £263m per annum, with non-native deer costing £35m and grey squirrels £14m every year.

The report also makes a case for eradication of these species using the example of a group of South American aquatic weeds, which would costing £73,000 to be killed off, in comparison to £242m if the species continues to be allowed to flourish.

In response to this, Richard Benyon, Minister for the Natural Environment at Defra, said ‘Invasive non-native species have a significant impact on the British economy and damage our own wildlife. The costs of controlling these species will rise unless society takes steps to prevent them taking hold and spreading.

‘It becomes increasingly difficult and costly to control invasive non-native species as they become more established. Taking early action may seem expensive, but this report shows that it is the most effective approach, saving money in the long run and helping our native wildlife to thrive.’