Archive for July, 2012

Facts about Rabbits

Rabbits are small mammals that belong to their own family named as Leporidae of the order Lagomorphs. They are not rodents.  It is said that the evolutionary separation between rabbits and other living mammals possibly took place about thirty million years ago.

There are 13 species of rabbits with the eastern cottontail being the most popular one around the world. Cottontails found in different colors ranging from gray to brown. They have large ears and hind feet and fluffy tails. Its average length is about a foot and weighs 2 – 3 pounds.

In wild, cottontails are live in brushy hedgerows and the edges of forested areas with dense cover; however, they can also live in suburbs and urban areas. During the growth period, they feed on leafy plants, whereas they eat buds and bard of woody plants in the cold season.

Cottontails are quite popular because of their reproductive abilities as they can breed from February through September. Gestation is about 28 days. They can give birth to 3 or 4 litters of 4 or 5 young ones called kittens in a year. Kittens are born vulnerable in a shallow area lined with grass and mother’s fur, however they grow fast and are weaned when less than half the size of the adult.

Mother rabbits take care their young ones for almost 5 minutes day. Since their milk is very rich therefore the young ones fill up to capacity within minutes. Mothers do not sit on their babies to keep them warm. Often, abandoned baby rabbits are saved by humans, however fewer than 10% of these babies stay alive.

In wild, cottontails can live up to 2 years, however the areas where there are many predators, they rarely live more than a year. According to a study, approximately 85% of the rabbit population dies each year, which comprises at least one out of every three babies that are born in a year.

A number of mortality factors encroach on rabbit population. One of the major factors in nest mortality is weather because ground nests are vulnerable to flooding in heavy rains.

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Toys for Rabbits

Rabbits are very interesting and playful animals, and they will love to have a selection of fun toys that can be as simple as a cardboard box or empty paper towel roll.

Toys are of great help in keeping your rabbit physically active and prevent tedium. A jaded rabbit is much more prone to become destructive or even depressed and overweight. It is better to experiment with different kinds of toys to discover what is more entertaining to your pet rabbit, and keep on providing new toys or you can at least rotate the ones your pet has.

There are many items that can be used as rabbit toys. All you need is to be creative and pay attention to how your rabbit respond to that toy. Here are some ideas that can help you in choosing the suitable toys for your pet rabbit.

  • Hard plastic baby toys, e.g. links, rings, keys, rattles, etc.
  • Cardboard concrete forms
  • Organic wicker baskets or other wicker items.
  • Cardboard boxes having two or three rabbit sized entrance holes.
  • Parrot toys and bells.
  • Cardboard tubes from toilet paper and paper towel rolls.
  • Towels
  • Dried pine cones
  • Straw balls
  • Fresh branches from apple trees.
  • Large rubber ball
  • Hard plastic cat balls with a bell inside.
  • Short kitty condos, tunnels, platforms
  • Box full of shredded paper
  • Small straw whisk broom

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Choosing a Leopard Gecko

Leopard geckos are one of the best reptile pets as they are easy to care for, very tame, do not need a large cage, easy to breed, and available in a stunning variety of color morphs. However, they do need their share of proper care and attention.

It is important to know how to properly take care of a leopard gecko before buying one. You need to read all about the leopard gecko care instructions, and if you feel that you won’t be able to take care of your pet then don’t buy it.

How to Buy a Leopard Gecko:

Once you have decided to buy a leopard gecko, it is important to take into consideration a few things.

  1. Breeder reptiles – if you decide on purchasing a leopard gecko from breeders, it is a good idea because they take better care of their reptiles and any symptom of health problem that may have a bit chance of being hereditary, is removed from the breeding groups.
  2. Retail reptiles – if you purchase a leopard gecko from a retail reptile, you do not know whether or not the parents were in good health and not apt to genetic disorders.

When buying a leopard gecko from a pet store, consider the following things:

  • Their present husbandry may not be right
  • Unidentified genetic history
  • Overall unidentified history

It is up to you to decide where to buy a leopard gecko because not all pet store reptiles are unhealthy and housed improperly. You can also consider a local reptile show, where you can find more variety on cheaper prices.

Signs of a Healthy Leopard Gecko:

Generally, a healthy leopard gecko exhibits the following traits:

  • Well-developed body
  • Bright and watchful eyes
  • Clean nostrils (free of discharge)
  • Thick and round tail
  • Intact toes and claws
  • Closed and clean mouth
  • Alert and active behavior

Signs of an Unhealthy Leopard Gecko:

Generally, an unhealthy leopard gecko exhibits the following traits:

  • Sticking out hip bones is the sign of underfeeding.
  • Sunken eyes indicate a dehydrated or sick animal.
  • Discharge and bubbles around the nostrils indicate respiratory infection.
  • Flat and thin tail is the sign of improper feeding.
  • Gaps when trying to hold mouth closed indicate vitamin or mineral deficiency.
  • Missing toes indicate shedding concerns mostly because of improper husbandry.
  • Sluggish behavior is the sign of parasites.

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