After reports of Titirangi residents seeing "cat-sized" rats, Kiwis on the local Facebook page came together and shared an array of memes and jokes about the infestation.

Last week, residents and business owners told the Herald they noticed an infestation of rats in the village centre in recent months - and many believe the town's iconic chickens are to blame.

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

A non-violent approach? Photo / Facebook
A non-violent approach? Photo / Facebook

She said the bodies of the rats were up to 30cm long. Other residents had described them as being "as big as a cat".

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After the report came out, Titirangi residents banded together on social media to share light-hearted memes about the rats roaming around their town.

Residents also shared jokes and sarcastic posts about the rats "blending in" or "being part of their family."

"Just saw a massive rat wearing a hi-vis in the village. They're blending in," one person wrote.

Another resident said that she had been feeding the rats for 18 months and affectionately named one Bertha.

Beware of the rats. Photo / Facebook
Beware of the rats. Photo / Facebook
Bad news for rats. Photo / Facebook
Bad news for rats. Photo / Facebook

"She's about the same size as a small chihuahua," the person joked.

"Herein lies my problem. I see you guys threatening to kill my babies and claiming that they are the size of small cats! Even Bertha isn't that big.

"Have some humanity people, these rats are my only family and pets."

One person asked: "Should we change it to TitiRATi now?"

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Some residents were not happy that chickens were to blame, with one coming up a hashtag #savethechickens and another starting a march.

"I'm planning a save our chickens march tomorrow through the village and wondered if anyone would like to join us?", one person joked.

Caught in the act! Photo / Facebook
Caught in the act! Photo / Facebook

However, not all residents find the issue a laughing matter, with one person writing that the community needed to come together to clean up Titirangi.

"Rats the size of cats! Come on let's get real and help clean up Titirangi before local business start to suffer!

"It might be tongue-in-cheek joking taking the grandkids to see the rats but it's certainly no laughing matter. Some friends said the other day 'Titirangi smells' and it does.

"It's unacceptable. Sooner or later this really will start to affect 100 per cent good hard-working shop owners' seriously, with competition these days many shops, cafes, restaurants can't afford the loss.

The rats are mobilising! Photo / Facebook
The rats are mobilising! Photo / Facebook

"As a Titirangi resident and ratepayer, I expect to see a lot better than this. It's no surprise the chicken population has gotten out of hand. Cute yes, sustainable NO, sorry but they really need to go."

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 provided with photos of the infestation.

Anyone need a rat photographer? Photo / Facebook
Anyone need a rat photographer? Photo / Facebook

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

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.

One resident shared a meme saying he helped these three lads cross the road. Photo / Facebook
One resident shared a meme saying he helped these three lads cross the road. Photo / Facebook

To end this piece, a sentimental post on the local page reads: "It only takes a few giant rats to bring the community together."