We interrupt your day to bring you a super talented rat who’s helped his owner with their business.
No, this is not the plot of Ratatouille. It’s the real-life story of Darius, the rat who’s made delightful paintings with his feet for his human, art student Amalie Markota Anderse.
We’re calling him Rat-art-touille.
Amalie, from Aksim, Norway has built quite the following on social media, with updates of Darius’s fabulous watercolour paintings.
The student first got into the trade when she let Darius walk around after he dipped his feet into a non-toxic watercolour set until the work ‘looked like something’.
She then took a picture, posted it on Tumblr and went to bed. When she woke up, the image had gone viral.
Soon people started messaging about buying the paintings. Amalie managed to sell three or four and with the profits, bought Darius things he needed.
Though the two had a special bond and an almost-lucrative business, Darius sadly passed away this year. But Amalie has all the sweet memories of her beloved pet and his paintings to commemorate him.
Amalie told Metro.co.uk: ‘All rats have different personalities, and are all wonderful in their own ways.
‘Darius was something special, he was very timid and shy. Usually, rats have an urge to explore and run around, but not Darius. He was just fine sleeping in my bed or cuddling in my lap. He was like a little baby, always clinging to me, not very independent.’
When he died earlier in 2019, Amalie found life without Darius difficult. ‘It was extra hard to let him go when the time came,’ she said.
‘He was very attached to me, and I got extra attached to him as well.
‘Darius made such a huge impact on me, I had him in a weird time of my life where I was trying to figure out who I was as a person and also where I should be going in life.
‘He was my light in the darkness. And I’ll be infinitely thankful for him, even if he never knew what kind of impact he had. Not only on me but the thousands of people who fell in love with him and his little painting.’
Thankfully, Amalie has another pet rat, Mango, who helped her get through the difficult time.
When she got Darius in May 2017, Amalie had no intention of exploring his creative capabilities, much less selling his work.
But people kept messaging to ask whether she accepted commissions and so eventually she did, using the money to buy a harness so he could explore the outdoors safely.
Amalie added: ‘I regret selling the original painting a little bit but it also makes me very happy thinking that his works are out there somewhere, hopefully still intact and well!’
She doesn’t know how old the rat is but estimated his birthday being around March and randomly selected the 24th to celebrate it.
All the attention Darius received in his life made Amalie a very delighted owner.
‘I was so happy people liked him,’ she continued. ‘It is what he deserved! I remember showing my friends and family, it was strange but also very fun.
‘The comments especially make me very happy. People are still commenting to this day, and every one of them puts a smile on my face.’