This elderly man and his daughter are living with around 200 fat, black rats after feeding a couple of the creatures they found in the home.
Within weeks the pair were overrun as their “pets” multiplied and they carried on feeding them.
Footage shows Mr Zhou and his mentally ill daughter throwing leftovers on the floor for the vermin, which are seen descending in huge numbers, scrambling for food.
They had taken pity on the animals and then didn’t want to stop feeding them.
Mr Zhou first had his disturbing secret come to the public’s attention when a neighbour, Mr Xunlu, saw him carrying some heavy bags home and offered to help.
Reports said Mr Xunlu offered to help Mr Zhou, and soon found out from the unabashed man that the food was for his pet rats.
Mr Xunlu said: “Keeping dogs or cats as pets – yes – but rats? I had never heard of such a thing.”
But the skeptical Mr Xunlu was stunned into silence and horror when the elderly man opened the door to his tiny flat and revealed the 200 fat, black rats he was keeping as his personal pets.
The animals scampered around the floor of the home and even made their way onto the dining room table, all the while Zhou and his daughter were unperturbed.
Mr Xunlu said: “The rats were swarming around the food that Zhou placed on the floor.
“They were even eating directly out of bowls.”
Worried neighbours began begging Mr Zhou to rid his home of the rat infestation, but the pensioner refused at first, saying that he could not harm the animals.
He claimed he felt sorry for the hungry animals and began feeding a few about two months ago, an act which ended up attracting more and more rodents to his home.
Together with social workers and volunteers from a charity, Mr Zhou and his daughter finally agreed to be temporarily moved to a nursing home while specialists were called in to exterminate the rat colony.
Reports said professionals have caught at least 170 rats so far, with stunned workers saying they had never seen so many rats in one place.
Authorities in Chongqing City, in south west China have promised to decontaminate the Zhou’s flat before allowing them back in, after which social workers will be asked to monitor the pair on a regular basis.