Wednesday, October 18, 2017

How To Take Care of a Baby SQUIRREL

Red Squirrel - Photo: Pexels

You found a baby squirrel, and now need information on how to care for it. You're about to experience one of the most rewarding activities on earth!

The ideal situation would be to return the baby to its mother. If you place it in a small box with a warm rice bag and tack it to the tree where you found it, it's possible that mom will come and take it back to an alternate nest. If the mother doesn't come within an hour, the baby becomes your charge.

Relax, caring for baby squirrels is easy! If you don't have the time or will to do it, every State has licensed wild animal rehabilitators who can do the job. If you do have the time and can remember the acronym, "WHAM," you can easily and confidently care for a baby squirrel!

The letter W, stands for warm. Baby squirrels need to be kept warm. You never should attempt to feed a baby until it is completely warmed. A baby squirrel should always feel warm the touch when you pick it up. When the baby is less than 5 weeks old, (before its eyes open,) it can easily be kept in a cardboard box. I like to use rice bags to keep my baby squirrels warm. I heat the bag in the microwave until it is warm to the touch, place it in the box, punch it down in the center to make a nest, place pieces of blanket or fleece material over the bag, put the baby squirrel in and cover it with more soft cloth. This method keeps the baby warm between feedings.

Some people like to use a heating pad on the low setting under the box. If it's placed under half of the box, the baby squirrel will climb on and off the heated side until it finds a comfortable sleeping temperature. Either way, this accomplishes the task of keeping the baby squirrel warm.

The letter H, stands for hydrate. Many rehabbers advocate starting off with plain Pedialyte, (an electrolyte fluid replacement solution.) I have never advocated this practice because it is just plain silly. A mother squirrel doesn't run off to the store to buy Pedialyte when her baby has been laying out in the elements for a couple of hours. She warms her baby squirrel, then lets it nurse. I've always started with formula, and have never lost a baby squirrel due to a dietary problem. If you go to my website, you can see pictures of squirrels that were within hours of death from malnutrition and dehydration, yet they did just fine on formula only.

The letter A, stands for accommodate. Baby squirrels do three things. They eat, they potty, and they sleep. Accommodation means that you facilitate these three activities until they mature to the point where their eyes are open, and they start exploring their habitat. A baby squirrel must be stimulated to urinate and move its bowels. This can be accomplished by using a cotton ball dipped in warm water, which is used to stimulate the genitals of the baby squirrel until it passes urine and moves its bowels. This simulates what a mother squirrel does after her babies nurse. She will lick them to accomplish the same results.

Feeding involves formula. This is where many people get really confused and scared because there are a whole lot of people in the rehab' community that militantly advocates feeding only a certain type of puppy formula to baby squirrels, with the dire warning that your baby squirrel will die if cows milk ever crosses its lips. As I said before, I've never lost a squirrel to a dietary problem and have tons of visual proof and testimonial letters to prove that these warnings are not true. I teach people all the time how to make a superior formula from whole milk, heavy whipping cream, Vitamin E and raw Coconut Oil. It is true that milk right out of the bottle will give a baby squirrel diarrhea, which can lead to an electrolyte imbalance, heart arrhythmia and ultimately death from heart failure. But, one simple step in the preparation eliminates this danger, and makes this formula one of the best foods in the world for baby squirrels!

And finally, the letter M, stands for Maintain. To maintain simply means to keep doing the things that are right for your baby squirrel to grow and mature. After 5 weeks, when the baby squirrel opens its eyes, it will need a new habitat, meaning a cage, and gradual changes in its diet. At six weeks you will start to feel teeth emerging, and by eight weeks it will be ready to start chewing on things. This is the time to provide Oak or Maple twigs for your baby squirrel to start teething on. It's also the time to start introducing some solid foods. Baby squirrels have to learn to swallow solids. I like to introduce small pieces of raw sweet potato. Baby squirrels will chew an spit out solid foods at first, the orange-colored sweet potato makes it easy to see the chewed up pieces in the bottom of the cage. When I no longer see shredded sweet potato, I know that they have learned to swallow, and am able to advance their diet. I let them continue to take the formula for as long as they want to nurse because squirrels need lots of calcium!

The need for calcium, especially in captivity, is one of the most critical aspects of raising a squirrel. In fact, it is the most important factor in success or failure when it comes to raising a baby squirrel! If a baby squirrel does not have an adequate source of calcium after it stops nursing, it will develop a condition called Metabolic Bone Disease, or Rickets. I don't know how many times I've gotten e-mails from panicked people telling me their 5 or 6-month-old squirrel was fine one day and the next day lost the use of its rear legs. It happens that fast, and is completely preventable!

There are much more details about how to take care of a baby squirrel, that is beyond the scope of this article. My desire is to help you take the right first steps in this rewarding endeavor, and to let you know that I am always available to help and answer any and all questions about the care of a baby squirrel! On my website, I offer free recipes, advice, and e-books at no charge to help you successfully raise a healthy and happy squirrel!

William Sells is a Registered Emergency Room Nurse turned Squirrel Rehabilitator. After nearly killing his first squirrel by following bogus information he obtained on the Internet, he vowed to learn all he could about the proper way to care for squirrels and to share that information with all who were in need. His website, is loaded with free information about how to care for and feed squirrels through various stages of their lives. Every first-time visitor is offered our free mini e-book about how to care for a baby squirrel. has free recipes for Calcium rich supplements that are ideal for captive squirrels, plus recipes for supplemental food to keep your outside squirrels in peak health!

Article Source: EzineArticles

Sunday, October 15, 2017

GUINEA PIG Breeding - All About Breeding Guinea Pigs

Guinea pigs for sale in an Ecuadorian market.
Guinea pigs for sale in an Ecuadorian market.
(Photo credit: 
You will find that the reason most people do not breed their guinea pigs is simply that they will not have enough room for all the new little guinea pig babies. Also, most people know that they do not have the money or time to support multiple new pups in their guinea pigs run. If you would like to breed guinea pigs make sure you check out our information below.

First of all, you need to check that there are not too many other breeders in your area. This is the same as any business as if there is an oversupply you will not be able to sell all of your guinea pigs.
Make sure that you have a good knowledge of guinea pigs as you are going to have to talk a lot to potential buyers about guinea pig care and guinea pig habits. You will need to explain to them exactly how they need to care got their new pet. A great thing to do is to supply them with a list when they purchase a guinea pig off you. Another thing to remember to include on this list is what foods the guinea pigs can and cannot eat. This is a very important and useful thing to do as no one would like to poison their new pet by accident.

A huge amount of guinea pigs die each year due to improper care or simply because their owners have to breed too many. A good idea is to find some families or people that want to buy your new guinea pigs before you even begin to breed them. This way you know that your new guinea pig babies will have a secure and loving home to go to.

The age a female should be before she gives birth is at least four to six months.

You should try to keep your breeding as close to nature as possible. This will ensure healthy babies. The female guinea pig cycle goes for around sixteen days, although your female will only be able to mate for between eight and twenty-four hours of that.

How you can tell that a male is aroused is when he lowers his head and walks towards the female. This is not a random walk but one to entice the female to join his love dance. Guinea pigs will make a rumbling noise. This is a very specific noise and does not be alarmed if you hear it.  The male's backside will also sway from side to side occasionally.

Some male guinea pigs will even perform a mating dance. In this case, they will place their front legs on any object available and move around trying to attract the female. These movements may include side to side waving, swaying, and wiggling. This can be a very entertaining spectacle to watch however this is actually a finely tuned process that has evolved over hundreds of years to produce the best results possible for the species. So if you feel the need to laugh maybe it is polite to leave the room.

When a female is interested in the male she will begin to squeak with a lot of excitement and anxiety. These squeaks will get louder as the male gets closer to her. Sometimes the female guinea pig will not be interested. This may be because she is not currently on heat or it might not be the right time in her cycle. What she will do if this is the case is snap at the male or even bite him. If he is very persistent she may even urinate in his face to discourage him.

Sometimes the female guinea pig will be more ready than the male. If this is the case she might do the same as the male in walking towards him in a very deliberate way. Her head will be down and her bottom will be pointing in the air slightly.

If a female guinea pig is being really forward she may back up against the male. This is a sign for him to mount her. This is a very common event so do not be nervous if she seems to be behaving in a way you have never seen her behave. Don't worry the guinea pigs know what they are doing.

A male guinea pig can be used as a stud. In fact, a male guinea pig can mate with up to ten females in one period of time if they are all available to him in the guinea pig run. But really I don't think you need that many guinea pigs.

    By Fiona F Bodington
    Fiona Bodington loves guinea pigs and has through her research compiled lots of helpful information about caring for guinea pigs.
    Article Source: EzineArticles

Monday, October 9, 2017


Skunk - Photo: Pixabay
Skunks are famous for their ability to produce foul smelling odor to defend a prey. These mammals belong to the Mephitidae family. Eleven species of skunks are known. The types of species can be divided into four in general: Spilogale or spotted skunks, Mydaus or stink badgers, Conepatus or hog-nosed skunks, and Mephitis or stripped and hooded skunks. Skunks are found in North America, South America, Canada, Philippines, and Indonesia. 

Lengthwise they vary from forty centimeters to seventy centimeters and in weight they vary from one pound to ten pounds. They have front claws which help them to dig easily and have short muscular legs, which go with their reasonably long striped body. Commonly, their fur is of white and black colors, but there are skunks with gray, brown and cream colored fur. Skunks are stripped from birth. A thick stripe runs from their tail to the top of their head. Some may have two thin strips, broken strips or white spots. Some Skunks legs are also stripped. 

Some countries have laws about keeping skunks as pets. It is legal to have a skunk as a pet in the United States. Usually, mephitis species are preferred pets as they are very social. Before selling a skunk, the pet retailers remove the scent glands of skunks. They are supposed to live longer in captivity when compared to living in wild. Their lifespan is from ten to twenty years. It’s usual with Pilgrims and European settlers, in the United States, to keep skunks as pets.  

Skunks feed on both plants and animal and hence are omnivorous. Coming to animals they eat insects, earthworms, lizards, frogs, rodents, salamanders, snakes, moles, birds, and eggs. When they cannot find meat, they feed on wild fruits and seeds. Some skunks even feed on garbage, in urban areas.   

Skunks are crepuscular animals. Skunks stay aloof when not breeding, but stay in communal dens in the winters. They do not hibernate in the winters, but become inactive and do not eat much. They live in burrows dug by them or man-made pits or natural pits, depending on their necessities and situation. In winter, a huddle with one male and nearly twelve female live a den. They use the same den, every year in the winter. 

Skunks have superb hearing and smelling sense. But their vision is not good. They can not see clearly more than three meters and that is the reason why most skunks are killed in road accidents. According to a study, nearly fifty percent skunks die due to road traffic and not more than ten percent cross three years of life.  

Skunks have the ability to carry rabies. Almost thirty-one percent of them are infected with it, but all the human rabies cases result from dog and bat bites. Before keeping them as pets, they should be vaccinated to avoid any mishaps. And in case, a skunk bites certain measures should be taken. Clean the wound thoroughly with antibacterial solution and water. If the wound is bleeding, apply an ice pack or pressure to stop it. Emergency service should be called immediately. After getting to the doctor insists on taking a tetanus shot. Try to catch the skunk, either dead or alive, so that it won’t spread rabies to others in the neighborhood. Also, a test can be performed to determine whether the skunk had rabies or not. 

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Exotic Pets: DEGU

Octodon degus - Photo: Wikimedia
Degu belongs to the family of rodents. They are very friendly and intelligent pets when compared to other rodents. They are hassle free and demand less maintenance. Some people compare degus to chinchillas, squirrel and even gerbils. They have a tweed brown color and have a long tail with a brush like hair at the end. 

The tail is nearly one to two third of the body’s length. They use it to maintain balance while climbing and while walking they keep it in an upright position. Their belly is creamed color and there are circles around their eyes. Their ears are surprisingly big as well as their whiskers. They hinder the growth of their claws by nibbling on them, so they the claws don’t require grooming. Degu’s forelimbs are longer than their hind limbs. They are born with yellow teeth that turn orange after reacting to the chlorophyll present in plants, which also turns their saliva into orange. 

They are originally found in Chile and are exported to other countries. There are some import restrictions on degu in America, so it is uncommon to find degus at pet shops, but they can be found in pet stores, all over Europe. Initially, other countries brought them not as exotic pets but to conduct laboratory experiments. They do not have the ability to digest sugar, so they were used to test diabetes.  

When young, their size can be compared to hamsters and when they grow to their full size they can be compared to hamsters. They grow in size within few months, so all the equipment should be bought with keeping these constraints in mind. The cage should be big and must have a running wheel. Their average body weight is 160-230 gram when they grow into a full adult.

Degus are very playful animals and lots of toys are generally kept in their cage. Baby degus do not fight at all and are always involved in playing. It would be a bad idea to keep their cage in the bedroom, as they will keep people away with all the noise they make. Although they are diurnal, they sleep for short periods and chances are that they stay awake for few hours at night. They are at peak of activity in mornings and evenings and otherwise, shut their eyes a little. Since they are sociable and not afraid of humans, it is recommended never to keep a degu alone. They should be kept, at least, in pairs. If they are kept alone, they life period decreases and they get really depressed, in spite of human attention. They also become aggressive.  

Degus have the tendency to shed their tail in defense when animals attack them. So it is recommended never to tug the tail. The tail bleeds and nearly half of the tail dries slowly and falls off or gets chewed by the degu. Even worse is that the tail doesn’t grow back.  They even don’t like to be held very tightly and for a long time. Never lift them from the top as they have the natural tendency of getting scared as the degus in forests get carried away by birds. Owners can gain familiarity by stretching out their palms and calling out to them calmly. The degus develop voice familiarity and get trained to climb onto the palm of the owner. 

In the forests, the degus can live up to less than a year and less than one percent live up to two years. But in captivity, they can live up to five years and more. Females, who live with males, die fast as they become weaker because of constant pregnancies. Their pregnancy periods last for eighty-seven to ninety-three days. Therefore, it is recommended that members of the same sex should be kept together as pets. If the owner is interested in breeding them, opposite sex can be kept together but should be careful about not exhausting the female with regular pregnancies. Keep In mind, that they shouldn’t beget a child more than once a year.  

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Exotic Pets: RACCOONS

Raccoon - Photo: Flickr 
Raccoons are sometimes called the masked animals because of the black fur near their eyes which resembles a bandit’s mask. Their fur is usually of the colors white, black, grey and brown. They can be found in major parts of North America and Europe. Their native habitats are deciduous and mixed forests.  

They have five long fingers on each limb which help them in easy opening latches, boxes, jars, open trash cans and turn knobs. Their prints have a great resemblance to human baby’s handprints. Raccoon’s tracks are found mostly on mud near water, where they usually wander in search of food.  Their body weight can vary from six to thirty-five pounds and the length of their body can vary from twenty-four to thirty-six inches. Their bushy tail measures up to ten centimeters and has an alternate coloring of white and black. The black circle around their eyes, make them look mischievous and give them an image of a thief.  That is substantiated by the fact that they are often sighted in urban areas stealing human garbage or eating other pet animal’s food. 

Raccoons are omnivorous and apart from eating a nut, berries, corn, mice, human garbage they also eat fish, shellfish, salamanders, egg, bird, frog, insects, and amphibians. They have a habit of washing their food before consuming it, especially those who live in captivity. Pet raccoons can also be fed with cat food, as they enjoy it very much. A female raccoon gives birth to four to five offspring at a time. Raccoons mate in January or February and following by birth in April or May. They don’t hibernate in winter but do become inactive.

Besides rabies, raccoons can also be the carriers of parvovirus, canine distemper, and roundworm. Nearly thirty-eight percent cases of rabies are a result of raccoon bites, in the United States. If any unknown raccoon is spotted in the locality at daytime, the local health department should be contacted immediately. Raccoons show no sign of rabies and their body fluids will have the virus if they are infected.  

It is illegal to keep raccoons as a pet in the majority of states of America because of the reason that they are a carrier of rabies which could risk human life. In states where they are permitted, special exotic pet permit should be taken. Orphans raccoons which are rescued from the forest have a higher risk of being rabies carriers. They should not only be vaccinated but also tamed. Raccoons can be bought from special breeders who would have taken care of everything beforehand because taming a raccoon is a really tough job. They have really wild instincts which require thorough and strenuous training. 

They have a natural tendency to bite, contaminate the food of other animals by excreting in it and are nocturnal. All these weird habits of raccoons require complete dedication of time and hard work. They can be even made to sleep at night. But raccoons held in captivity face health problems like obesity and develop a strange diet. The problem aggravates due to lack exercise. As they are omnivorous, they should be also fed with non-veg. diet, which is difficult for people who are vegetarian. When people make a decision of keeping raccoons as pets, they should be ready to keep it forever, because captive raccoons face lots of dangers when released in the wild. 

Sunday, September 24, 2017

CHINCHILLAS Staying Healthy With Pellets and Hay

The chinchilla's process of consuming food is quite different than other animals.  They should have a lot of roughage and fewer nutrients.  One of the things that they must have enough of is pellets.

Chinchilla pellets can be purchased from a breeder or a pet store.  Not all brands contain the same ingredients.  When you purchase them, be sure that the basic ingredients are in the mix.  This would include alfalfa meal, wheat germ, molasses, oats, soybean oil meal, corn, and added vitamins and minerals.  The chinchilla pellets are long because the animals eat with their hands and they must be able to grasp them.

Quito the chinchilla
Photo by Daveybot
The chinchillas consume the pellets until they feel full.  When they get to that point, they will stop and refrain from overeating.  You can either feed them once or twice a day.  You'll want to figure out which feeding regimen is best for them.  Stick with whatever works best and be consistent.  If you're not, the chinchilla will know and the inconsistency will cause them to be stressed.

A chinchilla's livelihood is based on routines.  You can feed the pellets to them either from a hopper feeder or a ceramic bowl.  The hopper feeder is good to use because you don't have to concern yourself about it falling over.  Ceramic bowls are good because they are heavy and the chinchilla can't chew it like they would a plastic bowl.

Chinchilla pellets are one of the best things they can eat; but if for some reason you can't locate them, you can substitute rabbit or guinea pig pellets for them.  These are fine to consume as long as they contain plenty of fiber and are low in fat.  If for some reason you do have to switch their pellets, do it gradually.  Once they get used to a system, it's difficult for them to change suddenly.  They will adapt, but they get stressed if it happens all at once.

Hay is good for them because it also provides fiber for their system.  You can choose from two kinds:  alfalfa or timothy.  They can be purchased in loose or small compressed blocks with a measurement of 1" X 1" X 2".  The animals will eat both kinds and it must be chemical and mold free.  Because of their sensitive digestive system, chinchillas can only consume fresh hay.  To remain fresh, it must be stored in a dry place.

Fifty-pound bags may be too much for a chinchilla owner, so cubes can be purchased in smaller amounts.  It's better if the cubes are broken into smaller pieces.  This way, they can handle them easier as opposed to being one cumbersome piece.  One pressed cube or a handful of hay is all an adult chinchilla usually eats.

An alternative to hay would be Bermuda grass.  If your house has a lawn with Bermuda grass, you can feed that to your chinchilla.  However, the grass must be chemical and fertilizer free.  Just wash it off and give your chinchilla a few.  Bermuda grass helps to remedy any digestive issues.  

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Djungarian HAMSTER - Phodopus sungorus

Djungarian HAMSTER - Phodopus sungorus - Photo: Pixabay