Archive for category Small Pets

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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How to Care for Chinchilla

Chinchillas make great pets and can live about 20 years if they are treated and taken care well. Here are some important ways of taking care of pet Chinchillas.

Housing:

Chinchillas require plenty of space to move around therefore, its cage should be large enough to accommodate a pair of chinchillas. Never keep these creatures in a glass cage or aquarium as there is less air circulation in these types of cages. The ideal cage size is 2 x 2 x 3 feet.

Since chinchillas have small feet that can easily be caught in big spacing screen of the cage, therefore choose the flooring that has almost 1.5 by 1.5 inch spacing. Also, provide them with solid surfaces on which they can sit comfortably. Wooden shelves, made of wood such as pine, poplar, apple, and aspen, are best for this purpose. Never leave any plastic or cloth item in the cage as chinchillas are in habit of chewing everything. Provide them plenty of toys for playing and chewing.

Temperature:

Chinchillas are very sensitive to temperature, and cannot be kept in temperatures above 75 F. Keeping them in temperatures over 75 F will overheat them, and if they are not cooled down immediately, they can die. It is advisable to keep terra cotta pots or marble tiles in the freezer for emergency situations so that you can treat your pet in time. For those who live where temperature gets over 75 F, it becomes compulsory to have air conditioning when owning a Chinchilla.

Diet:

Feed your Chinchilla a diet of Alfalfa and Timothy hay along with high quality Chinchilla pellets. Do not give them treats frequently. In wild, Chinchillas used to eat varied diet, and cannot properly digest too many treats. However, if you want to give your pet treats, then only give one treat twice or thrice a week. The treats should not be larger than the size of a raisin.

When it comes to water, do not give Chinchillas tap water. Instead, give them filtered or purified water. This is important because Chinchillas are prone to certain things, such as Giardia, in tap water. Giardia can cause severe diarrhea and it should be treated by a veterinarian. It is also important to change the water on daily basis to keep your pet healthy.

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Chinchilla Care

Chinchillas are among the affable animals that require proper care. They need to be handled with great care and gentleness as they are very delicate and frail. Here are some tips that can help you in handling and taking care of your pet chinchillas.

  • When lifting your chinchilla, it is important to do it gently. First, slide your hand under its belly and put your other hand on top of the chinchilla. Make it feel secure by using the hand under the chin to hold its hind legs and bum. Never hold your pet too tightly however keep in mind that they can be fidgety, therefore hold them firmly. Remember never squeeze them particularly around the upper chest. This is because they have a ‘floating ribcage’ and your careless handling can result in severe internal injuries to your pet chinchilla.
  • Generally, using no soap or chemicals is advised. However, you can mix a small quantity of bleach with the hot water and swish it around the cage’s plastic pan and then clean it thoroughly with hot water and then let it air dry. This is a good way to kill most of the bacteria that can be harmful for your pet.
  • Give your pet a dust bath for 10 to 15 minutes anywhere from daily to twice a week. Remember excessive dust bathing will result in dryness, whereas scanty will result in building up of oils in their coats, resulting in a disfiguring and deadly fungus to grow on their skin.
  • Since chinchillas are extremely active animals, therefore they require proper opportunity to exercise every day. For this, provide them an exercise wheel that has a solid surface and is not made of wire or mesh, which can entangle their feet. When letting your chinchillas out of the cage for supervised play time, it must be in a small, chinchilla proof room. This is important because chinchillas can jump many feet in the air and can easily squeeze through little spaces. They can also gnaw on furniture, wires, and anything they can get their teeth on.
  • In order to maintain their dental health, give them something to chew on. Since their teeth can grow up to 12 inches per year, it is suggested to buy a special block of wood or pumice stone for your pet to chew on.
  • Since chinchillas overheat easily, therefore keep them cool. They cannot live temperatures over 75 Fahrenheit or below 50 Fahrenheit. It is recommended to keep their cage in a cool room with proper air circulation.

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Facts about Pet Rats

Pet rats are also known as “Fancy Rats”. These are domesticated brown rats that come in a wide variety of colors and coat types. These pets are usually sold in pet stores and by rat breeders. They have some of the most interesting quirks and histories as well as interesting facts that you will surely want to know.

If you have or want to have a rat as pet then you will surely find the following facts about rats interesting and exciting.

  • Rats have quite poor vision as well as they do not see in color.
  • Rats usually want to have cage mates; therefore, female or male rats can be kept together in a cage.
  • Generally, male rats are better ‘lap’ pets as compared to female rats. This is because male rats prefer to sit and have their ears scratched by a human, whereas female rats love to explore and play games and are very curious.
  • Rats like to eat chocolate.
  • Since rats are omnivorous animals, therefore, they can eat smaller pets, including birds, fish and even smaller rodents.
  • Rats do not have canine teeth and thumbs.
  • Red discharge from a rat’s nose or eyes is mostly not blood, but porphyrin. It is fluorescent under UV light. However, overproduction of porphyrin can be caused by stress or illness.
  • A group of rats is called a mischief.

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Choosing Chinchillas as Pets

Like any other pet animal, it is necessary to take special consideration before buying a chinchilla in order to ensure that this animal is the right pet for you. Some of the important considerations include the following:

  • Chinchillas are nocturnal and thus most active during the night.
  • Since they have fragile bones that can be easily broken by the handling of young kids, therefore, keep your pets away from them.
  • Although chinchillas are generally very friendly and social however they must not be over-handled.
  • Their excrement smells really bad, hence ensure to clean out the cage and change the bedding daily.
  • These animals can live up to 20 years; therefore, you need to be ready to commit to take care of this animal for the whole duration of its life.
  • Always buy your chinchilla from a highly regarded breeder. The majority of breeders offer you to return your pet animal if you find any difficulty in taking care of it properly.

A list of things that you will need in order to keep your chinchillas happy and healthy is as follows:

  • A large cage
  • Chinchilla food (without treats added in it)
  • You can also use dry, uncooked, unflavored oatmeal to mix in with the dry food for a treat, or if your pet is having a stomach trouble.
  • Timothy hay
  • Chew toy
  • Wheel
  • Chinchilla unscented dust bath
  • Water bottle and food dish
  • Kiln dried shavings as bedding
  • Wooden, cardboard, and soft material houses
  • A nice place to have your chinchilla get exercise
  • Love and proper attention

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