Wednesday 25 April 2018

Fancy a new pet? Rodney the three-foot rat needs a home

Ryan Nugent

Rodney is three-foot long, weighs 6kg and is in search of a good home.

He is also a South American Coypu swamp rat and animal welfare workers are completely stumped as to how he came to be swimming in a river in Tipperary.

The rat, which is three times the size of the average Irish rodent, is the first of its kind to have ever been found in Ireland.

The rodent is native only to South America and wildlife experts believe it may have been brought here by a collector.

The Kildare Animal Foundation has been caring for newly named Rodney since it was spotted by a man walking along the river in Killinascully, Tipperary, last week.

Don't panic if you're not a fan of rodents. Dan Donoher at the foundation told RTÉ Radio One's 'John Murray Show' that we shouldn't be worried about coming across more of them.

"He's not just an ordinary Irish rat, there's no fear there'll be an epidemic," said Mr Donoher.

"We're going to just hold on to him for a while and then we'll look for a permanent home for him.

"It would have to be a person with a specialised set-up that would have him - so he could live in a natural enough environment."

It is thought that the rat was brought over to Ireland as a pet, possibly from South America or the USA.

Mr Donoher said that the rat's condition and lack of fear around humans indicated he was a pet.

"He's in good enough condition. He's not dangerous; he's used to human contact," said Mr Donoher.

Irish Independent

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