The family of a disabled pensioner have released an image of the rat, which tried to eat her while she slept in bed.
John Kirk, 85, was left horrified when he came downstairs to find his wife Diana, 76, covered in blood and her face and neck covered in claw and bite marks.
Diana’s eyelids, fingers and elbow had all been gnawed by the ravenous rodent which had been hiding in the couple’s home in Bingham, Nottinghamshire in England, reports Wales Online.
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The nine-inch rat had been nesting in the pair’s sideboard where John kept birdseed unknown to them before it attacked Diana in the early hours of May 9.
The following morning a neighbor caught the rodent in a trap and shot it dead with a pellet gun.
Speaking about the incident, retired tank driver John, who has been married to Diana for 36 years, said: “Diana’s injuries were horrific. At first, I thought Diana had been shot.
“There was blood everywhere. The rat had tried to eat her to get to her blood. There were bite marks on her cheek and her lips.
“Diana’s fingers and elbow were badly chewed as well.”
An image further down in this article may be distressing to some readers
Diana, a retired John Lewis shop worker, suffers from a catalog of health problems, including dementia and Parkinson’s disease.
A fall down the stairs six years ago left her brain damaged and unable to feel pain.
John, a retired entrepreneur and grandfather-of-one, said: “The only saving grace is that Diana didn’t know too much about it. She can’t feel pain because of her brain damage.”
Because of her health problems, Diana sleeps downstairs in the couple’s semi-detached home.
John said he heard scratching sounds coming from the living room the night before Diana was attacked.
He said: “We had a rat in the house before Christmas, which the council came and got rid of, and I’d thought that was that. I’d put seeds and peanuts out for the birds in the garden and kept bags of bird food in the sideboard in the living room.
“The rat must have sneaked into the kitchen and set up a nest in the sideboard because the bags of food were all chewed through. The night Diana was attacked, I’d gone to bed about 10.20pm and had heard scratching behind the TV but didn’t think too much about it.
“At about 1.30am in the morning, I noticed something brush past my bed but fell back to sleep. When I came downstairs at 6am the next morning to make Diana a tea, that’s when I saw her covered in blood.
“It was like a scene from Rambo. Absolutely horrific. She was just shaking with her hands by her neck, staring up at me.”
John called an ambulance, and Diana was rushed to the Queen’s Medical Center in Nottingham, where she was cleaned up and given a powerful course of antibiotics.
John added: “The rat had tried to glaw right through to the bone.
“Diana had obviously been attacked in the night because the blood had congealed and had gone black,” he said.
“I’ve read since that rats only ever go for babies and people who are immobile in bed like my wife. I think people need to know the risks about rats and be wary about putting food out for the birds because it obviously got attracted by the seeds and nuts and thought our house would make a good place for a nest.”
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