29/07/10 Rats are ready to descend

Rats are ready to descend on village hall to show they are pet material

THE mere mention of rats may conjure up images of disease-spreading vermin scuttling about in sewers.

But people need not worry about scores of rats that are about to descend on Fiskerton Village Hall.

The imminent arrival of pet rats at a rodent show is all about celebrating a sunnier side of the animal.

The event is about raising awareness of fancy rats as housemates and the competitive element of showing the creatures.

And the rats due to attend are a million miles away from the slimy black monsters of numerous horror films.

The show itself includes an agility and curiosity element.

Alison Campbell, chairman of the North of England Rat Society, which is behind the pet initiative, said visitors are encouraged to think again about rats as pets.

She said: “Some people might not have even thought of taking their pets to a show before, but hopefully this rat-focused event will be a great place where people can talk, share their experiences and hopefully go away having learned something new.

“The agility section always proves popular with rats and people alike.

“This is where the owner encourages their rat to negotiate different obstacles, such as miniature ladders and tunnels.

“The rats really enjoy the interaction. People who are yet to be convinced will be surprised at how easily they’re won over by the very friendly rats in the ‘cuddle corner’.”

Various trade companies will also be in attendance at the show, on Saturday, August 14, at noon, alongside Lincoln Rat Rescue, who will be on hand to offer tips on rat-keeping.

Rat owner Lloyd Allington, 21, of Gresham Street, Lincoln, is a member of the society and will be entering his pet Hattie into the show.

“I think people struggle to get past the common misconceptions and myths around rats, which is why I’d encourage anyone who is interested to come along to the pet initiative and see what these amazing animals have to offer,” said Mr Allington, a student and customer services assistant.

Fiskerton resident Ann Wragg, 68, who once ran a fancy dress shop, said rats were either loved or hated by people.

“A pet rat is the one thing I keep saying I want, but my husband Bill is having none of it,” said Mrs Wragg, who also has three ferrets.

“Fancy rats are not the sort of rats that people normally think of.

“I would love to have one. You can train them to do all sorts and they are apparently very affectionate.”