Maximus was an agouti.
Maximus and his 4 friends, Sacha, Logan, Ira and Mosley came to me after an internet friend contacted me to ask for my help. She and I had exchanged ratty emails over the years, and she had previously donated very generously to the sanctuary.
Unfortunately, she had suffered deteriorating mental health, and was put into a situation where she could not be there to care for her rats. She asked if I could take them on.
Fortunately, at the time, we had the space to comfortably take on 5 more. The boys were located in Walthamstow, so we drove to collect them.
Unlike a lot of rats we pick up, these boys were in great condition, and had obviously been well loved.
Maximus was always a nice, steady boy. He was prone to being a bit timid, and always hovered somewhere on the lower end of the heirarchy.
One day, when Maximus seemed a little off colour; he was always a food obsessed rat but he took his dinner quite slowly, but I couldn't find anything specific wrong with him.
The next day, he seemed back to his old self, but when I went to see him, I could see blood in the litter in his cage. His group was not a group known to fight so I tried to find where the blood came from. After checking every rat in the cage from top to bottom, I could find no wounds on anyone.
I brushed it off and picked Maximus up for a cuddle, which was then I realised the blood was coming from his bottom.
I'd never seen bleeding from the bum in a rat before, and wasn't sure what to think. I asked a few rat friends, and did a search online and found everything from potential piles or a nip to his bum, right up to internal cancer.
As I couldn't feel anything amiss inside him, and he was acting like his old self again, I decided to leave it until morning and take him to the vet then if the bleeding had not stopped.
The next morning, the bleeding did appear to have stopped, so I simply kept an eye on him and life proceeded as normal with no more signs of anything amiss.
I found Maximus dead about 10 days later, and can only assume it may have been related to his earlier problems, even though they seemed to have resolved. I never did a post mortem on him, but I do wish I had done now as it would have been useful if this problem ever does appear again. Whatever the problem, he at least died at home with all his friends.
Why Maximus? Gladiator reference. I was going through a bit of a Russell Crowe obsession....