Darius the painting rat: Norwegian art student taught her pet how to make paintings with his feet

There have been plenty of famous rats in history: Remy from "Ratatouille," The New York City "Pizza Rat" and the Pokémon Rattata, just to name a few. 

But very few of those famous rats were artists. That's where Darius comes in.

The pet rat of Norwegian art student Amalie Markota Andersen, Darius first started painting in 2018. According to his owner, he honed his craft pretty quickly.

"I didn't really 'teach' him as much as I put him down on the paper and let him walk on it," Andersen said. "When he had walked enough, it became something abstract yet wonderful."

Andersen said Darius' artwork was instantly successful — she posted the first painting he ever made on Tumblr, and someone offered to buy it. Now, more than a year and a half later, the tiny artist is going viral for his adorably impressive talent.

The 22-year-old, who studies digital art in Hamar, Norway, called Darius a "superstar." She said she's still shocked by the response to her original Tumblr post revealing his artwork, which now has more than 92,000 reactions. 

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Meet Darius, the rat who learned to paint with his feet
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Meet Darius, the rat who learned to paint with his feet
Darius the painting rat
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"When I first posted the pictures on Tumblr, I could imagine it getting a few notes, but I would never have foreseen this happening," Andersen said. "And now everyone suddenly wants to write articles about Darius — it's wild."

Andersen said she got the idea from Instagram, where she'd seen someone frame a painted paw print as a memento from their pet. She decided to try something similar with Darius, and before she knew it he was hard at work. 

"Eventually [people on Tumblr] started to ask if Darius took commissions," Andersen said. "It was a bit weird seeing how people actually had an interest for it — that they actually wanted to buy from him."

Andersen ended up selling multiple pieces, which she packaged with a tiny display easel. It was a lot of fame for the elderly rat, which Andersen said was many years old by the time he started painting.

Sadly, Darius's age caught up with him, and he died early this year. But Andersen said she's happy to see her pet's legacy live on through his art — and his newfound fame.

"I'm so glad Darius — even though he sadly isn't with us anymore — is still touching the hearts of thousands of people," she said.

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