25/08/2017

Rats at Bristol Zoo Gardens love a good book

Rats at Bristol Zoo Gardens just love getting stuck into a good book.

They will tackle a thriller, a children’s mystery story or even a picture book.

They can finish off a chunky 300 page book in just a matter of days.

In fact the Zoo’s colony of more than 20 brown and black rats get through dozens of books every year.

So many in fact that the Zoo had to put out an appeal for more books.

And that is where Zoo volunteer Kim Britton stepped in.

Kim, who volunteers at the Zoo in Clifton, every Sunday scoured charity shops and the internet for books with a rat theme.

In a matter of days she had armfuls of them including titles such as Rat Trap Joe Rat, City of the Rats and The Children Who Smelled a Rat.

They are now in the Zoo’s Twilight World which is home to its nocturnal creatures.

And the rats are making short work of these new books that together have more than 1,000 pages in them.

They literally tear them to pieces, chew the pages and then use the paper for nesting material.

Small mammals team leader Emily Lewis said: “Sometimes we just find the spine of the books left.

“They can get through a book in a matter of days but it’s good for them to find and make their own nesting material rather than us just giving it to them.”

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