Titirangi residents and businesses affected by the infestation of large, brazen rats are being told to lay their own traps.

Residents and businesses in the Titirangi village centre have called for Auckland Council's help in controlling the area's booming rat population which has seen cat-sized rodents scurrying through the village in broad daylight.

Many believed a large part of the problem was the overfeeding of the village chickens which left the rats plenty to feast on.

But, the council had limited powers to control chickens, rats or the feeding of non-native species, Waitākere Ranges Local Board chairman Greg Presland said.


"It is possible that the rats are associated with a chicken infestation which has been a long-standing problem."

Presland said he had not seen the rats himself but he had been told about and been provided with photos of the infestation.

It was the responsibility of businesses and home-owners to manage pests and he encouraged them to help control the infestation by baiting, trapping and "being sensible with the disposal of waste".

The council would, however, be working on rat control measures in the reserve areas which Presland hoped would benefit the whole village.

The council could help businesses and communities fund predator trapping to protect the biodiversity of an area, he said.

Presland said the council was also looking at options for managing the chickens and would report back to the local board in time for its July meeting.

The issue came to light this week with residents describing the critters as being as big as a small cat and moving in groups of up to 10.

A local worker told the Herald she had seen rats "running across the road, from one side to the other" near the local RSA in the middle of the day.


She said the bodies of the rats were up to 30cm long.

The woman said she had never seen rodents in the village centre before but had noticed them several times in the past month or two.

She believed it could be because winter had been relatively dry and mild so far so they were thriving.

Titirangi Village Kebab owner Thomas Yadegary said the rat problem had popped up over the past few months and was a worry.

He had not yet seen the pests but said locals had told him of sightings of them across the road from his shop and he was concerned they might become a real problem for him.

Some suggested it was not the chickens that were a problem but a "mega-mast" caused by this year's warm, dry summer.

A mast was when trees seeded and a mega-mast was when there was widespread seeding across the country, Department of Conservation principal science adviser Dr Graeme Elliott told the Herald earlier this year.

The seeds provide plentiful food for native species as well as pests such as rats and stoats.

Scientists had predicted this year would see the most significant and widespread mast in 24 years.