Shadwell Basin footpath overrun with rats (Warning: story contains rats)

If you go down to Shadwell Basin today you are in for a big surprise – because the footpath at the southern end of the Basin is overrun with rats.

Our Wildlife Rangers are not sure how many rats make an infestation let alone a plague but there are a lot of ’em.


The Rangers were on patrol trying to find out why a large area of the bushes on the south west corner has been cleared (of which more later) when they suddenly noticed a rat.


Then another. And another.


Small rats. Big rats. Medium sized rats.

Everywhere there were rats. On the footpath, on the wall, in the bushes, in the trees.

We did not have to look for them – we only had to try and not step on them there were so many.

Even rats in gangs!


This rat scuttled over the wall our Rangers were standing on....

... then over the other side....
… then over the other side….


....swiftly followed by his friend!
….swiftly followed by his friend!

Getting a little twitchy

Fortunately our Rangers were wearing their special issue Ranger boots, but even then they admitted to getting a little twitchy that one of the little creatures would dart up their trouser leg.

Not a good look for a suave ranger.

View east along southern footpath at Shadwell Basin. 
View east along southern footpath at Shadwell Basin.

So for the moment the footpath is best avoided if you don’t like rats.

Our Rangers have never seen so many rats in one place (apart from one gruesome incident they rarely talk of) and are a bit puzzled as to why there are so many of them.

Maybe the clearance of the bushes – the initial reason for our patrol – was to get rid of them?

If so the Chief Ranger can safely say this has not worked.

Or did they appear after the bushes were cleared?

Have the fox family moved on? It’s hard to believe the foxes would let these tasty mobile snacks run around if they were still in residence.

Anyone got a gun?

Our Chief Rangers does not know how many rats there are along the footpath but does know it is going to take more than some rat poison to get rid of them.

A better approach would be someone armed with a .22 rifle and a good eye, even then it would probably take a day or two to shoot most of them.

The Wapping Wildlife Rangers love all types of wild animals but the situation at Shadwell Basin is just crazy and – in our humble and uninformed opinion – presents a significant health hazard to anyone living nearby.

Especially if they get into your block of flats.

There again maybe we could use the rats to get rid of the pesky swimmers and bridge climbers in the Basin? Now there’s an idea…

Don’t say: “Oh look, a cuddly little rat.”

Do say: “Eeek! There’s loads of the bleeders! Run for the hills!”


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