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Rats are being rebranded as must-have pets as their numbers soar.
An urban farm is appointing ambassadors to champion the pests as “cute”, like 80s TV puppet Roland Rat.
Chris Platt, education and partnerships manager at Vauxhall City Farm in south London, said: “People love rats, more than you would ever think.
"And they love spreading the message of why rats make such good pets.
“They’re really affectionate and intelligent, you can train them to do whatever you want within reason and they are exceptionally clean.”
Mr Platt has set up Rat Ambassadors, an online group for fans to share pictures and blog posts.
Ambassador Alisha, 24, says the rodents are “brilliant”.
She added: “They’re like little puppies. They just need a lot of attention and affection.”
The project comes after the UK rat population grew by 25% from 120million in 2019 to 150m last year, experts said.
It means there are 2.2 rodents for every person in Britain.
The rise comes as they have been breeding like crazy during repeated lockdowns in empty buildings and gorging themselves on piles of leftover food.
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Pest controllers also say the size of the rat infestations they have found have been a whopping 25% higher than usual.
The situation has got so bad in one part of Hull, East Yorkshire that residents say fat rats have taken over the street.
They described the road as a "rat infested hole” after people have spent years illegally dumping waste in the alleys.
A spokesman for Hull City Council said: "We encourage residents report to the council when fly-tipping takes place, and to share any information they may have.”
- Super Rats
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