'Ratatouille' sparks French rat craze

1st October 2007, Comments 0 comments

1 October 2007, PARIS (AFP) - The kitchen capers of a rodent who dreams of becoming a top Parisian chef in the US box-office hit "Ratatouille" have sparked a new craze for pet rats in the French capital, a pets association said Monday.

1 October 2007

PARIS (AFP) - The kitchen capers of a rodent who dreams of becoming a top Parisian chef in the US box-office hit "Ratatouille" have sparked a new craze for pet rats in the French capital, a pets association said Monday.

"Since the film came out, there is no question there is a real fashion for rats," said Gerald Moreau, 25, who runs a group near Paris promoting the long-tailed rodents as domestic animals.

Visits to his website have tripled and sales of rodent accessories have jumped 40 percent since the movie's French release this summer, according to industry figures.

Children are driving the craze -- seeking out soft-coated rats with floppy "Dumbo" ears like Remy, the hero of the Pixar comedy -- pushing parents to seek out tips on choosing and caring for a rat.

"Rats are much smarter, much more interesting than hamsters or mice," Moreau said. "They recognise their name and grow very attached to their owner, they play with you like a dog or a cat."

But Moreau, who with his girlfriend has 19 pet rats, tells parents to think twice before taking one home: "They're very sociable animals, and they need a lot of cuddles and play time."

And a word of warning to those conquered by the rat's charms: never put a male and female in the same cage, since the female can give birth to up to 15 pups every three weeks.

AFP

Subject: French news

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