Alfie was a silvered black self.
Alfie came to me with Elvis.
See his page for their story.
Alfie was a nice, chilled out, accepting boy. Like Elvis, he was very comfortable being handled, and he seemed to make friends with new rats very easily. He was no trouble and was a very nice, happy, easy-going little lad.
The photo shows him doing what he did best; escaping to go exploring! He was a master of escape, and could be out of the cage and making his way to the top in the blink of an eye. He was little ratty ninja!
As Alfie aged, he began to show signs of a pituitary tumour. He died shortly after.
Alfie was the first rat I ever performed a post mortem on. I'd been toying with the idea of doing so for many years, but never took the leap. Doing home post mortems is relatively common among rat keepers, and has significant benefits. If you are unsure exactly why a rat died, it pays to find out the cause in case it was something that could affect your remaining rats. Also, if you see similar symptoms in the future, you will know more what you are dealing with.
With Alfie, I knew he had most likely died of a pituitary tumour, so thought it would be a good situation to do my first post mortem, as I already knew what I was looking for, and could learn more about rat anatomy while doing so.
I did, indeed, find a mass in his brain, but also found that his kidney's were darkened and small, indicating he also had some kidney problems (something I would likely not have known without the post mortem).
Some people, perhaps understandably, get uncomfortable at the idea of cutting open one's deceased pet. And I completely understand people not feeling comfortable doing it; it took me almost 16 years to feel ready.
But I have found invaluable information from doing so, and understand far more about how my rat's bodies work. With vet's charging over £100 for a post mortem on a rat, it is something that is simply beyond the funds of my sanctuary. But if I can learn a little of what I am looking for myself, and learn to recognise when things are not right, I feel it will only benefit me and the rats.
Why Alfie? My mum named him.