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Matthew smells a giant rat.

Matthew Kelly is used to having stars in his eyes. But nothing could have prepared the game-show king for the moment a rat the size of a dog walked into view.

The 47-year-old funnyman was busy filming children's wildlife documentary Beastly in Brazil when it happened.

But today, Matthew is on safer ground, hosting the CITV Animal Of The Year Awards (ITV, 4.40pm).

The show celebrates the achievements in the animal kingdom over the past year.

"I was nearly frightened to death by this Capybara," says Matthew recalling the filming of Beastly.

"It's the world's largest rodent - the size of a dog. We were looking for them to film and suddenly I was face to face with one."

Luckily the rodent was just as scared as Matthew and scuttled off into the jungle.

"It legged it once it spotted us," says the former Game For A Laugh star.

Matthew also met the Golden Lion Tamarin - a species of monkey threatened with extinction during filming of the show.

"The Golden Lions are exclusive to Brazil and there are only 800 left," he says.

"By the year 2025 the World Wildlife Fund wants to get the number up to 2,000.

"The Golden Tamarin are very cute," adds Matthew who has always loved animals. "They have these weeny faces just like a human's."
COPYRIGHT 1997 MGN LTD
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Copyright 1997 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Hagan, Angela
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 5, 1997
Words:222
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