Every parent has experienced it. “Mommy, Daddy, we want a pony, a puppy, a kitty cat for Christmas.” How about trying something a little bit different this year? How about bringing a rat home for Christmas? It’s easy if you live in San Jose. The city has 1,000 pet rats that are looking for a warm, loving (possibly cat-free) home.

The rats were discovered in LA at the home of an animal hoarder. The story began when the hoarder, who featured on the TV show hoarder, received a single pregnant rat as a gift from his daughter. That rat soon gave birth—the gestation period for rats is just three weeks—but rather than separate the males from the females, the owner simply let them grow up together, and do what adolescent of every species do—fulfill the urge to reproduce. With adolescence starting at thirty days old and an average of twenty rats per litter, the pack grew and grew and grew … and grew. By the time the cameras arrived to film the show, the rats were eating their owner out of house, quite literally, by gnawing through the walls and burrowing onto the property.

Then came the rescuers, who decided to ship them all to San Jose. The 18-wheeler arrived on Saturday and its occupants were quarantined to prevent the spread of disease.  The quarantine ends on December 5, and then United Animal Nations will try to find them warm, loving homes. If there aren’t enough homes here in San Jose, they will start extending their search to the rest of California.

Despite the bad rap, rats actually make excellent pets. They are intelligent,  affectionate, and perhaps most surprisingly, they are actually very clean. After over a century of breeding, modern rats are often comparable to dogs in terms of how they relate to their owners.  So here’s a chance to bring home a pet for the holidays. It may not be a puppy or kitten, but having a rat scurrying around the house is bound to keep unwanted guests out.
Read More at The Mercury News.