Police are on the lookout for a man who released a giant rat into a McDonald's

Police are on the lookout for a man who released a giant rat into a McDonald's

Police in New Jersey are on the lookout for a young man who released a giant rodent into a McDonald's earlier last week, causing a frenzy inside the restaurant.

NBC New York reports that a young man - accompanied by a young boy - walked into a McDonald's in Newark on February 5, carrying a large white rat inside of a clear plastic container. Video of the rat getting loose - possibly filmed by an accomplice - quickly made its way to Facebook, where it has already generated nearly 250,000 views.

"Let me hold it!" the younger boy implicated in the video says, before he and the suspect move to the centre of the McDonald's branch to release the animal.

The customers already inside of the McDonald's react in panic once they see the rodent, and one patron can be heard screaming "We out, we out, we out!" as the rat runs loose. The suspects also quickly make their exit, but it's not clear at this moment what exactly inspired the prank.

All the same, the video has proven popular on social media for the wrong, with several people commenting on the prank. "And that supposed to be funny. Grow up people," says one unimpressed Facebook user, while others have slammed the prankster in question, with one commenting:

"First that’s animal abuse and the kid on video should be arrested for doing this. That was an innocent animal. He might think it’s funny but people who care about animals doubt little f**king asshole."

Rat Released in McDonald's Credit: Facebook

Fortunately, the rat in question did not seem to be hurt, with a McDonald's spokesperson confirming after the fact that once the McDonald's location had emptied, "the rat exited the restaurant through the front door", adding that the location had been thoroughly cleaned.

Celest Quintana, owner and operator for this particular McDonald's, also gave a statement to CBS, confirming that the police had gotten involved in order to bring the prankster to justice.

The safety of our customers and the cleanliness of our restaurants are our top priorities. Following this incident, our restaurant staff thoroughly cleaned and sanitized the dining area and contacted the police. We are currently working with local law enforcement to identify the person responsible for this deliberate act.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time that a live animal has been released into a McDonald's, to panicked and frenzied effect. Last month, a San Francisco location evacuated in a similar frenzy after a homeless man brought a bloodied dead raccoon to a McDonald's. The entire incident was recorded by customer Chris Brooks after he walked into a branch on Potrero Avenue.

"I didn't know if the raccoon was dead or alive, my thought was to get out of the way," explained Brooks, who ran out of the restaurant as soon as the man entered, and recorded the entire situation from outside of the restaurant, shutting down the McDonald's location in the process.

Fortunately, the raccoon was disposed of by the staff on duty, before the Department of Environmental Health confirmed that it took around five hours to ensure the location was clean enough to eat in once more.