For many people, the sight — and even thought — of rats often triggers fear and/or disgust.
However, what one Chongqing, China, resident felt for rats was pity — so much so he recently was found to have more than 200 of them living with him, the People’s Daily Online reports.
An elderly man in his 70s referred to only as Mr. Zhou reportedly felt sorry for the urban rodents when he began feeding a few of them that showed up to his apartment a couple months ago. As rats are known to do, they quickly reproduced and multiplied in their new home.
As the People’s Daily reports, Zhou’s neighbor — Zhou Xunlu — discovered the mischief (or pack) of rodents after helping the elderly gentleman with his groceries. Xunlu was surprised and in disbelief at what he saw.
“People keep dogs or cats,” Xunlu told the news organization after witnessing the rats swarm to eat when fed. “I have never heard of anyone keeping rats!”
Neighbors persuaded Zhou to get rid of the rats. On Friday, Zhou and his family were temporarily moved to a nursing home thanks to some help from a local community service, the news organization reports. Pest control came in — reportedly also shocked at having seen more rats than anywhere else they’d ever been.
The Zhou family is expected to return to their home in southwestern China soon and reportedly social workers and local volunteers will be on hand to assist with the return and to keep Mr. Zhou company so that there is no “Return of the Rat.”