An artsy rodent has been nicknamed ‘Ratisse’, after becoming famous due to his cute tiny paw paintings.
Jess Indseth, 19, first noticed her pet rat, Gus, had an artistic flair when she let him play with her arts and crafts set.
To nurture his talent, she bought non-toxic children’s paints – allowing him to use his paws to paint on mini canvases – and she was thrilled at the colourful abstract results.
Jess – who also has rats Boo, Dot, and Eve – posted Gus’ artwork for sale on Etsy – for £20 a pop – and was inundated with orders. She has shipped Gus’ creations across the world – as far as South Korea and New Zealand.
The rodent has made an impressive £1,200 profit and plans to keep Gus’ weekly painting sessions as she says he ‘enjoys expressing himself’.
Jess, a swimming instructor, from Droylsden, Manchester, said: ‘Gus loves painting and he’s so talented.
‘I love his artwork and lots of people across the world too. I was shocked to find there was a market for rat paintings – but it’s amazing.’
After Jess bought Gus from a breeder in 2018, she instantly fell in love with him, particularly due to his calm temperament compared to her other pets.
She was able to train him with Cheerios, dipping his paws in the paint and letting him create as he pleases on the small canvases.
Jess initially posted his works on Instagram, but when people started to say they wanted to purchase them she wasn’t initially sure what to charge.
She decided on £20 per painting after a buyer offer, and has since sold 60 of them.
‘Gus loves doing them,’ Jess said.
‘They all love time out of their cage and with me, and they’re really intelligent so it’s good to challenge them.’
Jess hopes to change the stigma attached to her favourite animal.
She said: ‘They’re the best pets I’ve ever had.
‘Rats are so misunderstood – but they’re just like little pocket puppies, I love them.’
Jess, who lives with her dad Nick, 53, and sister Olivia, 14, in Manchester, has wanted rats since she was a little girl, which was spurred on by Nick’s love of them.
She got Flo, Boo, and Dot (all sisters) on her 18th birthday, but sadly Flo passed away in October last year.
That’s why she decided to get Gus in December 2019, and she also got Eve just a few weeks ago to add to the brood and keep their spirits up.
She has ‘rat-proofed’ her room so they can roam about for a couple of hours a day as they please, instead of spending all of their time in a cage.
Jess said: ‘When people meet my rats, they understand immediately why I love them so much.
‘They each have their own little characters and their own personality. Gus is definitely the most artistic and talented. He’s a star.’
Do you have a cute pet that you’d like to share with the world?
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