Luciano






Luciano was a siamese dumbo.

Luciano came to me after a call from a member of the public stating they had a rat they no longer had time for. I was told he was male, about a year old, and not very used to being handled. He had, apparently, once bitten someone so had not really been handled since. When I drove to collect him, I was given him in a shoe box and told he was 'not a rat to be picked up'.
On getting him home, I observed him for a while, then let him sniff my hand. He didn't seem like an aggressive rat, and while he was timid, it wasn't anything out of the ordinary. He let me pick him up, and he sat on my lap for a while just being stroked, and getting used to the feel of human hands again.

All through his life with me, he never attempted to bite anyone, and I truely believe he never would. A lot of people mistake a rat 'testing' fingers gently, or nipping in play, to be aggression. Some rats will bite anything that pokes through the bars of their cage, be it a finger or a piece of food (and it is usually feeding through the bars that causes rats to do this) and none of it is meant as an attack, and none of it is aggression.
You know when a rat bites you and means it.
But its surprising how many people will label a rat as savage because it nibbled them to groom them, or lunged at a finger through the bars, thinking it was a piece of food as its always been fed that way in the past. A little understanding of rat behaviour goes a long way.

But while Luciano, having lived alone if not forever, then certainly for a long time, went into the boy's group without a problem, he was one of those rats who took exception to new rats in the group. He wasn't terrible in his behaviour, but he had slight bullying tendancies and seemed quite selective about which rats he liked and which he didn't.
Generally, he was a fairly low ranking rat and felt the need to prove himself at every turn, so when a new rat entered the group, he would see this as his chance to climb the ranks.

However, this all became too much one day. I'd had another rat castrated for being too much of a bully, and in doing so, caused the heirarchy to shift a little, meaning Luciano now saw himself as higher ranking. He began to take over the role of the previous boy by bullying and terrorising the others. This got too much in the end and for the benefit of the other rats, he had to be castrated too.
After his op, he really did mellow out and become a lovely rat who was never any trouble again.

One day, I noticed a lump on Luciano's throat. It looked like an abscess, and came up literally overnight, so I left it a day or so, expecting it to come to a head and sort itself out, as abscesses frequently do in rats. However, after a few days, it had not done so, and was getting bigger. I put a needle into it, hoping to draw out pus, and could get nothing except watery blood. I took him to the vet, who did the same thing, said it most likely was an abscess, and to treat with antibiotics.
I did this, but it was clear within a couple of days that something more drastic was needed. The lump grew at an alarming rate, and only 5 days after it first appeared, it was bigger than his head, and very hard.
I took him back to a different vet, who said she didn't think it was an abscess after all, and suspect it might be a tumour or cyst as she could feel some major arteries joined to it. Due to its location and how firmly attached it was, there was a very slim chance of success in surgery, so I opted to have Luciano put to sleep.
Although he seemed perky and bright throughout the ordeal, the lump was enormous and affecting his movement. It wasn't fair to keep him going, or to put him through an op with a very low success rate.

Why Luciano? Another Marco Pierre White reference; he has a restaurant called Luciano.

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