Filed Under:

Out Of The Rat Race: Lucky Rodents Find Their Own 'Taj Mahal'

Play associated audio

Dawn Burke had always thought of rats as filthy animals, she says, until her neighbor introduced her to his "soft and cuddly" pet rats. Years later, she stopped by a pet shop on a whim — and ended up coming home with a rat of her own.

From there, says Dawn's husband, Don Burke, "it grew very quickly from one rat to 72." Before long, the couple had opened a rat sanctuary in their home in Boise, Idaho.

They now keep only nine rats at a time, but their home has been called the "Taj Mahal for rats" — and they like it that way. The rats they take in have been used in labs, Dawn says, or raised as snake food and then thrown away. "We're trying to make up for what they've been through," she says.

"Sometimes people don't realize just what rats can become," Don adds. "They can be very warm companions."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Not My Job: We Quiz The Duplass Brothers On Sibling Rivalry

Mark and Jay Duplass take a break from writing, directing, acting and producing to play a game called "Hating you is like hating myself."
NPR

Florida Says Its Fruits, Vegetables Are Safe From Invasive Fruit Fly

Since September, Florida has been fighting an infestation of the Oriental fruit fly, an invasive pest that threatened more than 400 crops. The state declared the insect eradicated as of Saturday.
NPR

For Nevada Democrats, A Lot Will Depend On Latino Voters

How instrumental is Nevada's Latino community in next week's race there between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders? NPR's Linda Wertheimer asks Nevada state senator Ruben Kihuen.
NPR

Colonialism Comment Puts Facebook Under Scrutiny

A Facebook board member lambasted a decision by regulators in India, the social network's second-largest market. He thereby sparked new scrutiny of Facebook's intentions in that country.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.