Hi everyone, I'm the OP. I can't believe after all these years I finally got an FML published! I agree with all the comments that this is incredibly sad - for almost a week afterwards I was having flashbacks about the terrible sounds and the sight of blood and hair in the heater. The second the heater started shaking I knew what had happened and tried to turn it off right away. The squeaking stopped once I turned it off, but then I could hear frantic scratching which started to become slower and slower as the minutes passed. I still feel sick thinking about it :( My lovely and brave colleague came to help me (I live in China and we are all provided flats in the same building). He took apart the heater, got the rat out (he was wedged between the fan and the top of the unit), and cleaned everything for me. Unfortunately the rat was still alive when we got him out, so my very brave colleague took him outside and ended his suffering because there was no way he could be saved (and there aren't animal hospitals in China, at least in our area). As for getting a new heater, like I said I live in China, and the owner of the university I work at is really cheap. So I'm working on it, but don't see them shelling out the money for a new heater unfortunately.