RAJSHAHI: It was just out of fancy that Salah Uddin Mamun started to pet four rats of Swiss Albino species at his house in the Kantakhali area of the Rajshahi city.
Watching its unprecedented growth, multiple breeding and a huge profit in a short span of time, he became interested in rearing rats of the species commercially.
Now he is a successful entrepreneur. This species of rat has a great demand in the country and abroad.
Within three years of his experimental rat breeding project, he is now selling rats to various renowned research organisations in Dhaka. He hopes to send those to other organisations of the country and abroad soon.
Salahuddin Mamun is a student of the Department of Anthropology of Rajshahi University and also works as a laboratory assistant at the Department of Zoology of RU.
It was in an afternoon of December 2017, Mamun was sitting with his colleagues in front of his laboratory when a PhD researcher from the laboratory came out with four small hatchlings of rat and told him to release those in the field.
Mamun was enchanted with the beauty of those tiny Albino rats and instead of releasing those, he took those to his house and started to rear by keeping those inside a shoe-box.
He also feeds those rats with rice and wheat. Within a month, one rat gives birth to 10 baby rats and within a week, another rat gives birth 10 more babies.
Learning about the rearing of Swiss Albino rat, a German researcher working on Taxidermy with the Department of Zoology of RU purchased 20 rats from him at Tk 1,000.
Getting such a high price, Mamun's interest increased further and he continues to breed the rats on a commercial basis.
Now, Mamun has 100 adult female rats and 20 adult male rats at his farm. Many research organisations including the laboratories of various universities and the pharmaceutical companies are purchasing rats from his farm for the research purpose.
A local research organisation working on preparing Covid-19 vaccine has purchased 50 rats from him recently.
He used to sell each rat for Tk 50 at the earlier stage but now he is selling that for Tk 70 per piece.
According to researchers, the Swiss Albino rat is used for primary experiment of any biological and biomedical science research.
Though the Swiss Albino rat is reared in icddr,b and in Jahangirnagar University those are not sufficient to meet the demand of the country.
Professor Abu Reza of the Department of Genetic Engineering is using Albino rats for research work for the last two years. He said the number of Albino species of rat is less than the demand in the country.
Professor Jahangir Alam Saud of the department of Bio-chemistry and Molecular Biology of RU is working with breeding of rats.
He said breeding of rat by a private entrepreneur is laudable. He also assured to cooperate Mamun for successful breeding of the rat commercially.
Salahuddin Mamun said he would like to extend the rearing of rats and would like to supply those to all other laboratories of the country.
It is learnt, rat is a delicious food item for many people, especially the aboriginals.