AN abandoned pet rat, which was dumped in a box at Longleat Safari Park near Warminster, is to become a star attraction after regaining full health.

The rat, nicknamed Jules, was very thin, covered in sores and appeared close to death when she was discovered near to a tollgate on Lord Bath's estate in October.

Keepers at Longleat's Pets Corner adopted her and have gradually nursed her back to health and she has proved to be a star performer.

Darren Beasley, head of Pets Corner, said: "It's little short of miraculous to see how Jules has recovered.

"She's one of the tamest, cleverest and most good-natured rats we've ever had here and will be a real addition to our collection.

"It just goes to show how even the most mistreated animals can recover given the opportunity - it's just a shame that someone had let her get into such a state.

"The dumping of pets is totally unacceptable and we would urge anyone thinking of taking on a pet of any shape or size to think extremely carefully about what they are doing before they take one on."