Nikita was an agouti hoodie.

Nikita was one of 8 baby boys I took on from a member of the public who had been sold two rats by a pet shop which she thought were boys, and had popped in with her resident boy as friends.
They turned out to be female, and two litters were born. Originally, I said I could only take 4 of the babies, but when I arrived, all 8 were loaded into my carrier! In fact, I had no idea how many I had until I got into the car and counted them up.
The owner had told me there were originally 9 babies, but one had 'gone missing' during a free range, and was presumed to be roaming the house somewhere, but to the best of my knowledge, he was never found :(

So, as well as Nikita, I took Captain Morgan, Wiggles, Captain Metropolis, Trilby, The Comedian, Wisher and Pagliacci.

Nikita was a dainty, quick, busy little boy in his youth.
And he always put me in mind of a doe, rather than a buck. He had more of a 'female' personality than the others, and did more girly things. He wanted to be active and busy all the time, got bored with handling, and liked to explore.
As he got older, however, he made up for his lack of testosterone by becoming alpha of the group, and rather a stern alpha too, at times. Like all the rats in this litter, his temperament was a little pushy, and a little over-bearing with other rats. He engaged in a lot of rough-housing at the peak of his reign, though he never seriously injured any other rats, and would happily curl up and sleep with them at the end of the day, he did tend to inflict scratches and nips on certain others. In his later months, he was split from his group, along with some of his brothers, to put them into two smaller groups, in the hope it would sort out some of the tension between them. While they were never horrendous with one another, I thought it was worth a try to see if their temperaments would be different in a different situation with different rats. And indeed, many of this litter did calm down when housed with different rats.

Nikita unfortunately ended up in a squabble with one of the tougher boys in his new group, and had his head badly bitten, resulting in a large wound over his skull. He healed up beautifully, though, and his fur all grew back. But this event did seem to 'change' him and he became much quieter after this, even though his attacker was removed from the group. He had a good few months of quiet, senior life after this then, like his brothers all did, passed away suddenly at home.

Why Nikita? This rat always struck me as more female when young, so I wanted a boy's name, but one that sounded feminine. The name Nikita, made popular through the Elton John song, is actually a Russian male name, not a girl's name as is so often assumed.

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