I brought Kieran to be euthanized this morning. So he only survived his brother Rusty by two weeks. He had stopped eating over the weekend, no matter what tasty morsels I offered (eggs, cooked rice, chocolate pudding...), only licking a little bit of applesauce a few times, and he wasn't drinking anymore either, so I resorted to dribbling some water in his mouth two or three times a day. He also had more and more trouble with walking and balance over the last week from the ear tumor's effects until he more or less only crawled and scooted if he moved at all, and because he was so weakened the respiratory infections had started to set in. He barely groomed himself either.
The vet was very busy this morning so unfortunately I had to wait for quite a while, and it was another sign of Kieran's misery that he just lay still on his side while I was petting him, when normally he wouldn't, especially not with so much noise and mayhem of barking dogs and such. He just wasn't reacting to anything anymore. Thankfully, unlike with Rusty, this time it only took one injection, and he died quickly as I held him in my arms.
Kieran was the largest and boldest of their group, ruthlessly snatching food he wanted from his brothers, and of course it was him dishing it out in the scuffle that caused Oskar the internal injury that eventually killed him. But Kieran still wasn't overly aggressive for a male rat or anything like that, mostly it was posturing and chases, with only that single bite ever needing treatment, and it was more a tragic accident that Oskar somehow internal damage too. And of course he was sweet with me and stuck with passive resistance even in the face of medicine application, although quite effective one at times. He never snapped at the vet either.
He was the first rat I've had who was entirely black with no white spots anywhere (hence his name), and he was quite striking in his way. He was large but remained agile until the tumor started to affect his coordination, and he liked to jump upwards in the cage, hiding food in the highest basket and hammock where Rusty wouldn't easily go once they got older.
He had the odd and annoying habit of trying to chew on my carpet. Not just at the edges where you can pry it up to get at the foam beneath -- many rats do that, I think it's the same problem as with cables, some of the softener chemicals in the synthetic plastic must taste sweet -- but chew on the fiber from above, and not just in places with some stain remnants either.
( some photos of Kieran )