Moses was a black berkshire.
Moses came to me with Riley
Both rats were rescued from the pets@home adoption center. Both had untreated head tilt, something pets@home had not even noticed they were suffering from. Head tilt is rare in rats so young, and both were affected, though Moses more severely than Riley.
I knew they would not get the treatment they needed if they remained there. There was also fair concern in my mind of rats with this kind of damage being homed to someone who did not know what was wrong with them.
Head tilt, particularly if not treated quickly, can leave a rat with permanent damage. While most rats learn to adjust to the condition and live relatively normal lives, they do require the owner to know and understand what is wrong with them.
And as pets@home didn't think there was anything wrong with them at all, it did not bode well for them getting the kind of home rats like this need.
During their adoption, the staff showed once again how useless they are with rats; two seperate staff told me they hated having to deal with them and were terrified of picking them up because 'rats always bite'.
One staff member tried to get them out of the enclosure but failed miserably, merely chasing them about, stressing them out, and whining about how much she hated rats.
Eventually, I couldn't bear to watch her struggle anymore, or watch the rats tormented, and stepped forward to gather them up myself. Within seconds of putting my hand in, Moses walked right up to my hand and I was able to pick him up easily. Staff actually told me 'that was amazing, I've never seen anyone be able to do that before.'
Rats do not respond to fearful people. The more you fret and stress over trying to pick a rat up, the more difficult it will become. This girl was darting her hand in and out like they were sharks she thought were going to rip her hand off. Rats need a confident handler, and they, in turn, will feel confident.
So they both came home with me. I booked them into the vet the very next day, but despite getting them on the correct meds as quickly as I could, they both failed to show much improvement. Evidently, it was already too late.
Moses was left with a permanent head tilt. He'd had this problem since young, however, and had known little different in his life so he adjusted to it well. He was pretty much as active, agile and capable as any 'normal' rat; he just looked a bit odd. He was a real sweetie, loved other rats, and was well liked within the group. He could be a little shy, and seemed to need the support of the other rats to build up his confidence, but he was a happy little boy.
It is sad that this condition was not recognised and treated by pets@home the second it appeared; the rats may have been saved lasting damage if it had. I hit the shop for my vet's bills, and they agreed to pay them. In my personal opinion, this is the least they could do for adopting out sick rats, and failing to even notice.
Some medical issues in rats can be difficult to notice if you're not experienced, but head tilt is one of those that is extremely obvious and not at all hard to spot. You only have to look at Moses's picture at the top of this page to see how crooked his head was.
Moses lived to a good age, and he seemed to die of old age.
Why Moses? My mum named him.