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Last Updated: Thursday October 25 2007 12:17 GMT

Ratatouille sparks pet rat craze

Remy the rat in Ratatouille

A cartoon about a rat who dreams of being a top chef has triggered a trend in the UK to buy the animals as pets.

Rats are usually seen as dirty animals who live in sewers and carry disease, but it seems the film, Ratatouille, is changing all that.

It tells the tale of Remy, a French rat who wants to follow his dream to become a professional chef in Paris.

Since its release in the UK, one big chain of pet shops said sales of rats had gone up by about 50% every week.

Pets at Home say rats are one of the cleanest pets around and can even be taught tricks, but they need lots of cuddles and care.

Rat quiz
A rat
"Rats can be extremely fun and rewarding to own, but they need good housing and suitable food so they can be cared for properly," a spokesman added.

There are lots of different types of rat, but so far Dumbo rats, which have big ears and look a lot like the film's main character Remy, are proving to be the most popular.

If you're a big rat fan you're joining a long list of celeb-ratty owners, including Rupert Grint, who plays Ron Weasley in the Harry Potter films.

After filming Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Rupert adopted the two rats who played Ron's pet rat Scabbers in the film.



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