The San Francisco Dungeon
opened this summer, but their larger than life cast is still growing. They just acquired 16 new actors, only these actors are not people: they’re rats.
Featured as part of the welcoming committee, these furry companions are encased in a real life rat condo at the entrance of The Dungeon. The condo is an environment created just for the rats. Filled with ropes and other toys, it’s a place for them to play, rest and eat.
These Berkshire blacks, which come from a different stock than the more common agouti “pet rats,” provide a set up for a story that comes later in the immersive experience, according to Adrea Gibbs, general manager of the San Francisco Dungeon.
She didn’t say what that was since it's a surprise, but she did say that the four legged actors provide a degree of authenticity.
“One of our stories is about the plague, and the rats of course are associated with the plague,” says Gibbs. “It seems logical that guests get to see live rats.”
Rats are believed to be responsible for the bubonic plague epidemic
in Chinatown during the early 1900s. They carried fleas and would infect people through bites, which would spread the disease.
But don’t worry about being bitten here, these rats diet on kale, broccoli, yogurt-raisins and baby food. “They’ve got a nice healthy, robust diet with good variety in it,” Gibbs adds.
The four-legged cast members are also rescue rats native to the Bay Area. The Dungeon adopted the rats from three different centers: the Bay Area Rescue Network, the Animal Care and Adoption Network, and Rattie Ratz.
Gibbs notes that the Dungeon is looking to do an educational outreach with local schools, where they use the rats as teaching tools. They may also solicit help from Bay Area kids in naming some of the critters.
So the next time you’re in Fisherman’s Wharf, don't hesitate to check out the new Dungeon residents. Also, don’t worry Bob Barker, they are all spayed and neutered.