Mandylor was a silver fawn.
Mandylor came to me with Barney and Hoffman
All three rats came from the house of a back yard breeder who claimed a female had escaped into the boy's cage and left her with a huge number of rats. Hoffman had been living in a Freddy cage along with 32 other rats. A freddy is suitable for 2-3 rats, so that gives you some idea of the extreme overcrowding he was living in.
All the rats had wounds of some kind from fighting due to the conditions, and food was simply thrown in with them each day. In total, 64 rats were removed from those premises, and I only had space to take 3. The others were distrubuted amongst rat rescues up and down the country.
Mandylor was around 8 weeks old when he came to me, so he was better adjusted and more handleable than Hoffman as he was young to enough to have bounced back from his former neglect.
He was initially a curious but timid kitten, and tended to let his brother(?) Barney explore things first.
As he grew, it became clear he was an alpha in the making, and he began to exhibit the same behavioural problems as Hoffman, such as extreme aggression towards other rats and being unable to relax in the company of other males.
He then ripped a deep hole in a baby rat during an intro and it was then that I decided to have him castrated, for the good of the existing boys, any new boys that might need to come in, and Mandylor himself.
Despite his dislike of other rats, he was always an amazing softy with me, and has the distintion of being one of my most special rats ever. He would often sleep on my bed with me. He loved to lick, and was a very docile, gentle rat with people, just not others of his own kind!
The castrate hit a small hitch when Mandylor pulled his skin glue out the same night. He saw the vet first thing in the morning but the vet decided to leave the wound open rather than knock him out again and try to reglue.
The wound healed well, though it did take a little while to do so. As he grew, he developed into an absolutely fantastic rat. I couldn't have wished for a better boy.
He had the temperament, health and good looks of any top-notch breeder rat, and I used him often as my ratty ambassador. If I was ever visited by anyone who was unsure of or scared of rats, I used Mandylor to reassure them, and he always did the job! People who claimed to hate rats were been won over by Mandylor, and even became confident enough to give him a cuddle themselves, always claiming 'I had no idea rats were like this.'.
Mandylor's death was a shock, and I still don't really know what happened to him.
He'd never shown any signs of illness, but one night I went to check him and found him unable to move. His back legs would not work, and he simply lay on his belly. My first thought was that it was HLD, a degenerative condition of the hind legs that older rats can get but that isn't always serious.
Unfortunately, when I picked him up, I realised it was something more ominous. He squealed in pain when moved even sightly in the wrong way, and even attempted to bite me, which was totally unlike him.
However, when he was laying still and in a comfortable position, he was quite happy, and would eat and lick and do the usual Mandylor things. He just didn't seem to like to be moved too much.
I bedded him down in a small hospital cage in his fleecey bed, and had him right beside me all night so I could offer him water regularly. I intended to take him to the vet first thing the next morning.
I suspected at this point that he had hurt his spine som how, maybe by falling from the top level of the cage. His toes had little feeling in them and he wouldn't pull them away when I pinched them, which was a worry. But I was still fairly hopeful that all he had was a trapped nerve, or muscle pain, or a minor injury that the vet could fix.
When I woke up in the morning, he had passed away.
I was genuinely heart broken, and shocked. I really hadn't expected that to happen.
Mandylor was a lovely little rat, and, I have to confess, one of my favourites of all time. He often slept on my bed with me, and I sometimes took him on little trips with me. He had the most sound temperament of any rat, and I trusted him 100% in any given situation. He was truely ratty perfection, and if all rats were even half as nice as him, no-one could ever dislike them.
I paid tribute to him a few days after his death with a large tattoo of him on my forearm.
Why Mandylor? Im a huge fan of the SAW franchise, Hoffman being my favourite character, so named him after the actor that plays him: Costas Mandylor.