Yes OK, the cuddly toy is a water vole so only a rat in the Wind In The Willows sense. I had a perfect photo-op but no camera to hand, and the real rat got scared when he realised there was a large ginger animal watching him and banging on the door so it has run away. I can't decide whether or not I would like it to come back so that I can take a proper photo...
I should point out the rat is NOT in the flat (or on the mat), there is absolutely no evidence of rats in here and there are as far as I can tell no obvious weak spots for one to get in. So it's still safe to come round.
I like rats. The domestic ones make wonderful pets. The wild ones are possibly less pleasant, what with the plague and all, but this was a fairly nice example of Rattus norvegicus. It was reasonably small as wild rats go, and it was healthy and clean-looking: bright eyes, shiny coat, perky ears and tail. Nothing like the greasy-coated, cat-sized beast I once saw dragging a whole slice of pizza away on the New York subway.
It was probably inevitable that, living in London, a rat would show up one day. We are a couple of doors down from a kebab shop, and it seems that the small noisy people at the nursery school next door have been baking recently and lobbing fairy cakes into our garden along with many and varied plastic toys. It was those cakes that the rat was eating this morning. We also put food out for the birds which doesn't help, although until today that had only attracted theft by squirrels and wood pigeons.
So I absolutely don't mind our latest addition to the London fauna of our garden, provided it doesn't come inside. I do not want a rat in me kitchen. I would have to write to UB40 and ask them how to "fix that rat".
Coincidentally, we are going to see Ratatouille tonight!