Zoo's rat race shows why rodents gnaw the ropes

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CITY slickers looking to escape the rat race should steer clear of Edinburgh Zoo - its latest stars are a group of ten brown rats.

They are taking part in daily Animal Antics presentations in which, among other things, they race up ropes, with a treat up for grabs for the winner.

The traditional bad guys of the animal world have proved popular among visitors.

Zookeepers have been so impressed by their athletic ability they have named one Paula, after London marathon record-holder Paula Radcliffe.

The brown rats are just part of a huge range of animals used in the live presentations.

The shows are aimed at demonstrating the techniques animals use to survive in the wild, as well as explaining how different, even small, movements can determine what an animal is thinking.

Ships allowed the spread of rats across the world and the rope races are held at the zoo to demonstrate how the rodents would have evaded capture at sea in years gone by.

Erika Morgan, lead animal presenter, said: "The rat race is always very popular with the zoo visitors, and it has become really very competitive between our rats.

"Rats have a less-than-favourable reputation, but we strive to show the good side to these intellectual animals."

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