IT CAME from the loo and built a nest in the sofa after gnawing through the kitchen door.
Dr Anne Kiltie, 49, was shocked to discover that a rat had climbed round the u-bend of her toilet and out into her downstairs bathroom.
The clinical oncologist, of Chilswell Road in Grandpont, South Oxford, blamed the incident on high water levels during the recent flooding and is worried that more rats could follow in the future.
She said she was first alerted to the rodent’s presence when she came home on February 8 to find the rice from a doorstop in her bathroom spilled across the floor.
There were also water splashes on the floor and the seat was damp.
Dr Kiltie said: “After shutting the bathroom door that day, the next morning, to my horror, chunks of wood had been gnawed from the door frame through to the kitchen.”
Large droppings and other signs of activity were also left behind in her garden room.
She added: “It was clear from the trails it had made that it had made a nest in the mattress of my sofa bed.”
Dr Kiltie put out rat poison but after she told neighbour Tim Lowe about the problem. He offered to help deal with the rat before it caused more damage.
The two set up a clear path for its escape to the garden and came face to face with the pest as they dismantled the piece of furniture it had made into its den.
She said: “As I was taking the bottom cushion away I saw this nine-inch long brown rat.
“Even though it had been poisoned it was still scurrying about in the well of the sofa and it escaped behind the back of a nearby cupboard.
“It kept peeking out and at one point, when we moved the cupboard, it got up on its hind legs and looked at my neighbour.
“After that it made its exit and ran off into the garden.”
The room, Dr Kiltie said, was left a mess and the mattress of the sofa, which he has had to throw away, was chewed up. Mr Lowe, 70, said: “I think the water levels must be something to do with it.
“But I have never heard of anything like this happening before.
“I was OK but for poor Anne it must be quite disturbing.
“What surprised me was how successfully it hid in the sofa. It took a bit of looking to find it.”
An Oxford City Council spokesperson said that its advice was to protect doorways and place toilet toilet bungs, which block toilet bowls, in ground-floor toilets during flooding.
Its pest control charges £28 for removal of rats and mice. Those living in a council property or receiving a council tax reduction get the service for free.