MUCH-LOVED PET: Anakin the rat is adored by his owner Kate Flint.
MUCH-LOVED PET: Anakin the rat is adored by his owner Kate Flint. Mike Richards

Cuddly rat Ani lucky to survive five-foot fall

ANAKIN the paraplegic rat is a very lucky chap.

The three-year-old was playing on his Gladstone owner's shoulder 11 weeks ago when he slipped on the work shirt's shiny high-vis strap.

"It was a five-foot fall, but he didn't squeak or anything," said owner Kate Flint, who watched the accident unfold.

"He just started moving really quickly with his front legs."

Anakin's spine was injured and he lost control of his back legs.

He was taken to the vet who gave him a shot of medicine, and now he lives a less active life but seems to be happy, Ms Flint said.

There was never a chance she or partner Shannon Edwards would abandon Ani, or have him put down, she said.

"He's my favourite," she said. "Ani is the cuddly one - he likes to be around people."

Each of the couple's three rats have distinct personalities, she said.

"Klaus is high strung," she said. "He's always on edge and only likes Shannon, while Felix is the adventurer, always exploring everywhere."

While most people try to keep rodents out of their homes, Ms Flint said the rats made great apartment pets.

She was not always a rat person, she said, but when she and partner Shannon Edwards moved into an apartment, the pair needed a tidy, quiet pet.

"We don't like noisy birds, and rabbits are illegal to have as pets in Queensland," Ms Flint said.

Rats are very sociable and clever, she said, and could be kitty-litter trained, as well as taught tricks.

"They look after each other - like when Ani was sick, the other rats cleaned him," she said.

"They're also very entertaining because the way they interact is unlike any other animal," she said.

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