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FIREFIGHTERS were called to the scene of an unusual emergency in the western German town of Bensheim-Auerbach on Sunday (Feb 24) after a fat rat was found wedged halfway through a manhole cover.

Now, add to the list Chubby Manhole Rat, a precious little vermin whose penchant for hefty appetite, we assume, got him jammed in a manhole cover, leading to a rescue by a German volunteer fire department.

A group of volunteer firefighters was then drafted in to help and used their tools to prop up the drainage cover for easier access. "It immediately dashed back to the sewers".

"Even animals that are hated by people deserve respect", he said. "The fire department's operation was completed after a good 25 minutes", the Auerbach fire department said in a statement.

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Sehr said that the rat, which normally can weigh up to 650 grams (22 ozs), was one of the heavier ones he had ever encountered.

Animal rescuer Michael Sehr told news agency DPA that he didn't see a contradiction with saving the rat in Bensheim.

In the fall-out of the news, the internet has responded to the tale of fat rat the only way that it knows how - by turning the furry go-getter into a meme. The western German city of Dortmund has started a campaign to reduce its rat population by placing poisoned bait in the sewers. Once the rodent was free, it hurriedly got back inside the sewer.

With the large rescue party present Mr Sehr took out his catch pole and restrained the rat amidst loud squeaks of protest.