• Spain's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Spain's killer bull kicks the bucket

Alex Dunham · 25 Mar 2013, 14:01

Published: 25 Mar 2013 14:01 GMT+01:00

"We named him Ratón (mouse) because as a youngster he was smaller than all the other calves," the bull's breeder Gregorio de Jesús told The Local.
 
"As he grew up he was still lighter, but his wiry physique made him more agile and twice as fast as all the other bulls."
 
Indeed, his leap was so big that he could actually jump over the barrier around the edge of Spain's bullrings.
 
But it was Ratón's killer instinct which made him stand out as a national animal celebrity, both feared and revered across Spain .
 
"When he was only ten days old, he was taunted by a group of kids who broke into the ranch. They chased him around until he was worn out and then locked him up in the dark until I found him shaking in a corner several hours later," explained de Jesús.
 
Experts have pinpointed this trauma as the possible reason why Ratón had the killer edge.
 
In 2006, he killed two people and seriously injured several others at several bull running festivals held across Valencia.
 
Rather than ending his career, though, the bloody incidents resulted in mass media coverage for the bull.
 
Footage of his serial gorings even became a YouTube sensation.
 
There was even a flood of offers for Ratón's breeders: "Organizers were offering up to €10,000 per event (ten times the usual amount to rent a bull), which was actually still a reasonable price for them to pay because Ratón's participation guaranteed a full bullring," said de Jesús.
 
Asked why people were paying to watch or even come face to face with the fearsome beast, Ratón's breeder told The Local: "I guess it's a kind of morbid fascination."
 
As he grew older, Ratón lost speed but gained in intelligence and experience.
 
He was still filling up bullrings and building hype nine days before his death when he took part in his final 'encierro' (or running of the bulls) in Valencia. 
 
"Spain's financial crisis never had an effect on his popularity," de Jesús joked.
Story continues below…
 
Spain's deadliest bull passed away on Sunday in his native town of Sueca, Valencia.
 
"He was 13 and half years old, or 90 in bull years. He had a good innings considering all the fights he'd had with other bulls."
 
Gregorio de Jesús and his father José, owner of the ranch where Ratón was reared, are now thinking of having their prized asset stuffed and on display for all to admire.
 
"We never saw him as dangerous," said de Jesús. "He was the most noble of animals at home".
 

Alex Dunham (alex.dunham@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Valentine's Day
Ten golden rules for snagging a Spanish man
Sally Fazakerley on navigating the perilous path to true love

Ten golden rules for snagging a Spanish man
5 hours ago

Looking for your very own Don Juan? Then this is what you need to know.

Ex Spanish minister testifies in televised graft inquiry
Esperanza Aguirre appears in the televised inquiry. Photo: Screen Grab

Ex Spanish minister testifies in televised graft inquiry
5 hours ago

"As far as I know, there is no illegal financing at the PP in Madrid," Esperanza Aguirre said.

Two Spanish teenagers face jail time over cheating in exam
Stock photo of taking an exam. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Two Spanish teenagers face jail time over cheating in exam
21 hours ago

Two students are facing a harsh penalty for cheating on an entrance exam.

Balearic Islands break with tradition with ban on bullfights
A bullfight in Bilbao. Photo: Ander Gillenea/AFP.

Balearic Islands break with tradition with ban on bullfights
22 hours ago

The fight to eliminate one of Spain's most famous and long-held traditions wages on.

Spanish civil servant takes six years off work. No-one notices
Photo: Vmiramontes/Flickr

Spanish civil servant takes six years off work. No-one notices
23 hours ago

A civil servant continued to draw his salary for six years until he was rumbled.

Meet the Spanish team that helped prove Einstein's theory
Photo: Group for Relativity and Gravitation, University of the Balearic Islands.

Meet the Spanish team that helped prove Einstein's theory
1 day ago

Gravitational waves do exist. The Local talks to a Spanish scientist who helped prove Einstein's theory.

Gallery
Are these Spain's most romantic couples ever?
Photo: Jorge Guerrero/AFP

Are these Spain's most romantic couples ever?
1 day ago

As Valentine's Day approaches, The Local takes a look at some of the most romantic Spanish love stories throughout history.

The Local list
Nine reasons why Cervantes is better than Shakespeare
The Bard versus Cervantes. Photo: Creative commons / Wikimedia

Nine reasons why Cervantes is better than Shakespeare
1 day ago

In the battle for greatness, could Cervantes beat Shakespeare?

Police raid conservative party HQ in yet another graft probe
Popular Party headquarters in Madrid Photo: AFP

Police raid conservative party HQ in yet another graft probe
1 day ago

Yet another corruption scandal has broken bringing yet more strife for the party of Mariano Rajoy.

Spain busts gang trafficking rare falcons for racing in UAE
Photo: Guardia Civil / Ministerio Interior

Spain busts gang trafficking rare falcons for racing in UAE
1 day ago

The ring smuggled protected birds of prey out of Spain for falcon racing in the Arab states.

Sponsored Article
US taxes and FATCA: 'The time for hiding is over'
National
Seven of the best cheesy chat up lines in Spanish
Sponsored Article
Back to Boho chic: Win your new season wardrobe
Health
One dead and dozens ill after falling foul of dodgy tortilla
National
Hapless man has FOUR steel rings cut off penis by firemen
National
Top ten most romantic nicknames to woo your Spanish sweetheart
Shocking: Migrant hides inside car bumper to cross into Spain
Lifestyle
Six things the USA could learn from Spain
National
Ten of Spain's most romantic getaways for Valentine's Day
Culture
Wacky and whimsical: Spain goes carnival crazy
National
Danger: Early toxic caterpillar plague sweeps across Spain
National
Like father like son: Napkin proves matador paternity suit
National
UK rallies expats in Spain ahead of referendum on Brexit
National
Secret to long life? Spaniard lived to 107 on 'red wine diet'
National
Ten Spanish corruption scandals that will take your breath away
National
Watch: Gravity-defying stunts at Spain's Wind Tunnel Games
National
10 English words you'd never guess were really Spanish
National
Madrid to rename Francoist streets after terrorism victims
National
Olé? Bullfighter takes five-month-old baby into the ring
National
Watch: Moment south Spain struck by 6.3 magnitude quake
Travel
9 charming Spanish towns to visit before the tourists come
National
Heartbroken parents publish suicide note from bullied son
National
Spain launches new reality TV show: 'I want to be a nun'
National
Eleven very good reasons to be happy you live in Spain
National
Loyal dog waits two months at hospital door for dead owner
2,913
jobs available