The Telegraph reports one of those natural history curiosity stories, in this case featuring a literary twist.
A giant rat with one-inch-long teeth has been caught in the southern Chinese province of Fujian.
The rat, which weighed six pounds and had a 12-inch tail, was caught at the weekend in a residential area of Fuzhou, a city of six million people on China’s south coast.
The ratcatcher, who was only named as Mr Xian, said he swooped for the rodent after seeing a big crowd of people surrounding it on the street.
He told local Chinese newspapers that he thought the rat might be a valuable specimen, or a rare species, and had to muster up his courage before grabbing its tail and picking it up by the scruff of its neck.
“I did it, I caught a rat the size of a cat!” he shouted out afterwards, according to the reports. Mr Xian is believed to still be in possession of the animal, after stuffing into a bag and departing the scene.
The local forestry unit in the city identified the nightmarish creature as a bamboo rat from initial photographs, but said that it would need to examine the rat more closely before making a final identification.
Chinese bamboo rats rarely grow beyond ten inches and are found throughout southern China, northern Burma and Vietnam.
However, the Sumatra bamboo rat, usually found in the south-western Chinese province of Yunnan and in the Malay Peninsula can grow up to 30 inches long, including tail, and can weigh up to eight pounds.
A “Giant Rat of Sumatra” is mentioned in the Sherlock Holmes tale: The Adventure of a Sussex Vampire.