Genghis was a one off pet-shop purchase. Usually, I avoid pet shop rats not only because of the health issues, but because I don't want to support the sale of rats in shops. I hadn't bought a rat from a pet shop for 6 years before Genghis came along.
I went into a shop one day, and a friend who worked there told me they had dumbo rats. Dumbos were extremely rare in shops around here at the time; I'd never seen one in the entire 8 years of keeping rats. I told my friend I didn't want to even look at them, as I don't like putting myself through the pain of looking at rats I can't have. However, she proceeded to get him out and hold him up to me. I called my mum to tell her they had dumbos in the pet shop and she said I could have one. I think everyone in the rat fancy, no matter how opposed they are to pet shops, has had at least one lapse. Genghis was mine.
I took Genghis home and he went in with Josh and my older babies extremely well.
Ghengis was only about 5 weeks old when I bought him, if that. He was undernourished because he'd not been being fed as a baby rat should. He had a skinny, square tail and he fit in the palm of my hand, with room to spare.
As an adult, Genghis was one of the 'oddest' rats I've ever owned. He seemed to be a very solitary boy, and despite always having other rats to interact with, he always chose to sleep alone, usually in the tubes. His attitude to humans was similar; he could take or leave them. He was never outwardly affectionate to either people or other rats.
Genghis was a complete omega rat, and always had been. But despite this, he still attempted to raise his status every time a new rat came in by bullying them in the hope they would be pushed down into his old position. Unfortunately, Genghis was all mouth and no trousers. He would act like Mr Tough guy to any new rats he wanted to bully, but if they turned around and stood up for themselves, he'd run a mile!
As he aged, his problems with other rats intensified to the point where he would hide up and willingly starve himself rather than go out into the cage and get food, even though he was not being particularly picked on. He lost a lot of weight, and it became clear he could not live with other rats, or at least, not at that point.
He lived alone for a few weeks, gained weight, and became a much more outgoing, perky rat. He seemed much happier on his own, but you always want to try and avoid having a lone rat if you can. Eventually, I took a chance and tried him in with my big group of 10 boys. All the boys were mellow, accepting, loving rats so I assumed he would not feel threatened by them. At first, he acted in typical Genghis fashion, which is what you see below (filmed during a different encounter, but it does demonstrate how he typically responded to any other rats):
But gradaully, he learned that these rats were peaceful and were not going to harm him. It was the best thing in the world to come in one morning and see Genghis huddled in the nest box with 6 other boys. For the first time in his life, he was truely CHOOSING to be with other rats. He lived like this for a few months, then he began to drop weight again. At first, I assumed it was because he was the omega rat, and he always had to eat last. But upon inspection, I felt a hard mass inside him. My vet confirmed that it was a mass on his liver, and not operable. Soon after, Genghis became very anaemic, tired and began to pass blood so I had him euthanised.
For a little rat who never much relished human affection, and caused a lot of drama and stress for me and those around him, I was very upset when he died. I think it was mainly because I'd only just managed to get him into a group and he was still a fairly young rat. I guess I just wasn't expecting him to die at that age. Its just another reason why pet shops should be avoided; no rat should be getting internal masses at only 18 months old.
Why Genghis? Another Sifl and Olly reference. "There was a main character in the Europe episodes that never made it to MTV USA named Genghis Khan. (not THEE Genghis Khan though) He barely spoke English and so his interviews were as confusing as talking with Chester. He was actually as prominent a character as chester was in the beginning."