Sunday, July 30, 2017

How To Make a BUNNY Happy

Let's talk about how to make a bunny happy! (Because you have to admit, when they're happy, we're happy too!)

English: Holland lop show bunny broken sable point
Holland lop show bunny broken sable point (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
First things first. How do you know when your bunny is happy? Bunnies love to show it! If your bunny flops on her side and just lies there with her eyes closed, you'll know all is right with her world. She might scare you the first time she does this, and it's not uncommon for a new bunny owner to think something is wrong. Don't worry. Your bunny is just telling you she's happy. It's the happy flop.

Then there's the binky. If your bunny binkies, you know she's on top of the world. Binkies are crazy happy dances. Your bunny will hop in the air, twirl her head and spin around then maybe start running at top speed. Any bunny owner will attest to the great joy it brings to see their bun or buns do the binky dance.

Now, how to keep your bunny content? First and foremost is attending to her chewing needs. Bunnies absolutely love to chew. Phone books are popular with bunnies who love to shred the pages, so make sure you keep all of your old phone books (you might even ask your friends and family for theirs.) A bunny can go through a phone book pretty quickly.

Toilet paper and paper towel rolls are also safe and popular chew toys for bunnies. To make it even more fun, you can take a roll and stuff hay inside for them to dig out.

Boxes and paper bags are also a great source of entertainment for bunnies. You can fill the paper bag with hay, or just put an open paper bag on the floor for the bunnies to crawl into and dig. You'll be surprised at how long they can entertain themselves by playing with the bag.

Cardboard boxes are also an incredibly easy source of entertainment. Take a fairly large box and cut several doorways and windows into it. (Bunnies always prefer to have at least two entrances.) Your bunny will love to go in and dig, chew (making the doorways or windows bigger) and hide away. It's also a great place to put your bunny's haywhich she can eat as well as dig. You can also securely tape a bunch of cardboard boxes together, so the bunnies can run through them and play.

Use your imagination and creativity, and you'll find there are endless ways to turn everyday cardboard boxes into a playground for your bunnies.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Keeping a Pet SPIDER

Spiders might not be for everyone, but for some people they are fascinating and ingenious little creatures that make unique pets. There are over 38,000 spider species in the world, and climbing, however pet enthusiasts only commonly keep a tiny percentage of these. Most commonly kept are the tarantula species as they are large, have little venom and are fairly easy to care for. In this article you will learn the basics for keeping such a fascinating pet.

Mexican Red Knee tarantula (Brachypelma sp), a...
Mexican Red Knee tarantula (Brachypelma sp), a new-world species (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Before you buy
Make sure your motives for buying a pet tarantula are right. Some people buy them to look cool or even brave. This won't be good for you or your spider in the long run! Also make sure you understand they aren't companionable pets and they are more geared to being observed rather than 'played' with. Most tarantula species can live for around 5 years, some for much more, so put a lot of thought into if you really want one. Reading this through may help you decide!

If you decided you really do want an eight legged friend, research! You should look at what sort of tarantula you want and what its specific needs are. Some good starter species include;

The Pink Toe
Mexican Red Knee
Chilean Rose
Curly Hair

You should also be aware that if you have asthma or an allergic reaction to insect bites extreme caution and thought should be given to your decision. Tarantulas have a bite equal to a bee sting and can flick irritating hairs at potential threats. While the above species are fairly docile, they will still defend themselves if they feel threatened.

Housing a pet Tarantula

Most spiders need very small amounts of space. Most spider keepers use plastic 'faunariums' which are small plastic tubs with ventilated plastic roofing. These are more than adequate. Of course you can buy starter kits that have glass tanks and mesh tops or you can buy glass vivariums with mesh tops for the same purpose. It all depends on preference and budget!

Keep in mind the dimensions, species such as the Pink Toe are arboreal, meaning a taller space, rather than floor space is preferred. Others, such as the Red Knee, prefer floorspace, to burrow and rest on.
You should position your enclosure somewhere quiet, away from household 'traffic' and noise. You should not place it in draughts, next to radiators or in direct sunlight.

Heating and light

Tarantulas do not require lighting however a small heat mat, either to cover half the tank at the bottom for terrestrial species or half of the side for arboreal species, is needed. A thermometer should be placed in the enclosure to make sure the temperature is correct for your species of spider.

Decor for your spider
Generally tarantulas require very little decor. It is generally easier to maintain the enclosure with less decor. Depending on the type of tarantula, you will require different set ups.

Food and water bowls

You will not need food bowls for your spider, however a water 'bowl' is essential. You should provide a small, fairly shallow dish or bowl made from either plastic or ceramic, you should avoid metal types as they can be harmful.Inside the bowl or dish moist cotton wool or 'bug gel' should be placed. This will help the spider to get extra moisture without the risk or drowning.

You should check the individual requirements of each specie, but generally vermiculite, bark or other soft material, such as peat. Desert species shouldn't be kept on sand as it can cause molting problems, instead you should ensure there is a covering of dry vermiculite.

Other Decor

Climbing (arboreal) spiders, such as the Pink Toe or Stripe Knee will appreciate small plastic plants, either attached to the side or roof of the tank or stood securely in the tank.

Terrestrial species, such as the Chilean rose, will appreciate cork bark, resin hides or even bark hides to take refuge in. Some species, such as the Mexican red knee will like to occasionally burrow. You can partly bury plastic hamster 'tubes' in the substrate to recreate a solid burrow that won't collapse.
Any other decor, such as stones, plants or ornaments should be cleaned with hot water and inspected for sharp or dangerous edges. They are not needed and will be purely for the 'look' of the enclosure, making it a little more natural.

Moulting in spiders
Spiders grow by shedding their exoskeleton. This is a delicate process in which the spider is most vulnerable. During this process the spider will create a large amount of silk on the floor or other stable surface. When he is ready to moult he will lay on his back with legs tucked in.

It is really important not to disturb the spider during this time as their outer skin, the exoskeleton, is literally coming off and any disruption can seriously damage the soft underlying skin, being potentially fatal to your pet.

The length of a moult can vary between species. The preparation can be a week or so to a few days although the actual 'shedding' process is usually around several hours. You will know when it is over as a 'skeletal' spider will be left and your pet will most likely retreat to safety.

It is important to gently mist the enclosure during this time, not soaking it but not allowing it to become 'arid'. You also need to be careful not to directly spray your pet! Food items should be removed from the cage and the water dish should be moist.

You should remove the moult, either disposing of it where other pets or children won't get hold of it or safely keeping it as a record of growth. If you choose to do this you should put it in a bag or container, again away from children and pets.

Feeding your tarantula
Spiders in the wild eat a great range of foods, depending on the species they will eat insects right up to lizards and small birds. Luckily most pet tarantulas, certainly those for beginners, are well suited to a diet of insects.

When purchasing your spider you should ask about what it is usually fed on, yes they do sometimes have a preference! It will also give you an indication of how large the prey items should be. As a general rule the item should not be bigger than it's thorax ( the part before the abdomen, where the legs are situated).

When feeding your spider there are several types of food to try. Most common is crickets. Brown crickets are softer and more suited to younger spiders although adults will enjoy them along with the larger, tougher, black crickets (also refereed to as 'field crickets'.)

You can also give meal worms and morios although they tend to burrow and can be a nuisance to your spider if uneaten. Some people like to feed roaches, small locusts and the occasional wax worm, but this should be as a very occasional treat.

It is best to research what your species would naturally eat and with the advice of the supplier, use good sense to form a nutritious diet for your pet. You can also use gut loading supplements to enhance the diet.

Spiders will eat only a little. You shouldn't feed daily, one or two items a week is more than enough. This should be altered depending on the size of the item taken. Younger spiders will require slightly more, perhaps 2-4 small items a week.

Any uneaten food items should be removed before the end of the day as they can annoy and cause damage to your pet. Spiders will sometimes refuse food especially before a moult. Because of the vulnerability during this time, even a cricket could kill your spider, so you must remove uneaten food!

Problems with spiders
Spiders rarely get any health issues, however there are a few that can cause problems and must be dealt with.


This is caused by too moist conditions, in which mites will multiply rapidly. If left untreated they will clog the mouth and 'book lungs' (the 'nostrils' on the side of the thorax) causing death. Signs of mites include the spider seeming reluctant to move, perhaps submerging himself in the water dish or curling up with legs underneath. To confirm mites, check in the night, when lights have been off, with a bright torch. If you see specks crawling on the tank walls, decor, substrate or spider, it has mites.

To deal with it you must move the spider to a different container while the substrate and decor is removed from the original. You should soak the decor in hot water and rinse the tank with a bleach solution. Be extremely careful to thoroughly rinse the tank out, if you can still smell bleach after it has dried, rinse again! You can then place new substrate and replace the decor along with your pet. If the problem persists you should seek a vets advice.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

MONGOLIAN GERBIL - Meriones unguiculatus

MONGOLIAN GERBIL - Meriones unguiculatus - Photo Dan Foy Wikimedia

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Showing Your Pet HEDGEHOG

In 1995 the world of hedgehogs changed. That was the year that the first competitive hedgehog show was held. The show was so popular that now there are sanctioned hedgehog shows in several states and Canadian provinces.

Long-eared hedgehog(Hemiechinus auritus)
Long-eared hedgehog(Hemiechinus auritus) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Why there are Hedgehog Shows
The purpose of the hedgehog shows is to encourage hedgehog owners and breeders to adhere to the Standard of Perfection. The Standard of Perfection is a guideline of what the perfect hedgehog should be the type of hedgehog that the breeders should aspire to. The shows are a way to reward the breeders and owners of the hedgehogs who come closest perfection. These hedgehogs are the ones that the judges feel will improve the overall quality of the species.

Types of Classes
At a hedgehog show, there are usually several different classes. The classes are usually divided by things like age, sex, and the color of a hedgehog. The shows try to create a big enough variety in their classes to give each hedgehog an opportunity to compete in lots of classes.

In addition to classes that divide hedgehogs into categories, there are usually classes that separate the youth competitors from adults.

What the Hedgehog is Judged On
When a hedgehog judge looks at a hedgehog they are evaluating several things including; color, quality of the quills, and body shape. All of the judges at hedgehog shows agree that the most important thing to consider when evaluating a hedgehog is the temperament. The first thing they are looking for when evaluating a hedgehog is temperament. These animals are pets, a good, friendly, quiet personality is important. Hedgehogs with ideal conformation but have are high strung or cranky won't place as well as a quiet, friendly hedgehog with mediocre conformation.

Preparing your Hedgehog
Make sure you have a clean cage that you can keep your hedgehog in while you are at the show. The type of cage isn't important. You just want to make sure the cage is safe and clean. Line the cage with fresh bedding. After you have finished preparing the cage, you will want to make sure you have plenty of extra supplies close at hand.

After packing everything you are going to need, it is time to get your pet hedgehog ready. This means it will need a warm bath that will remove any debris from its body. Gently scrub at its quill with a toothbrush. Don't forget to trim your hedgehog's toenails.

How to Enter
If you are interested in entering your hedgehog in a show, you will want to contact the show organizers and have them send you an entry form. Make sure you fill out the entry form correctly and follow the instructions.

Thursday, July 6, 2017


Teddy bear hamsters are among the most popular Syrian hamsters that possess beautiful furs. They are also known as fancy hamsters, Angora hamsters and long-haired hamsters. Most female hamsters of this type have plush furs while the men are characterized by their long skirt of furs located at the back. According to most pet enthusiasts, their furs look elegant and those that have longer furs draw the most admiration and attention.

Teddy Bear Hamster Photo: Wikimedia

Most teddy bear hamsters may grow up to five inches in length. Those who have thick furs may look larger than those who have thin ones. According to sources, these species rank as the second largest hamster in the world. Females usually reach their maturity at the age of six weeks while males mature when they reach the age of seven to eight weeks.

As observed by many pet owners, teddy bear hamsters love to live alone. Putting them in a cage with other hamsters would only lead to a fight. They are also known for nipping a person's hand when they weren't gently held.

Their elegant furs draw most people to get them as pets. Teddy bear hamsters usually have gold furs which sometimes have splashes of deep red lines. The fur strands typically range from one to two inches in length.

These creatures are able to groom themselves; however, one may brush them using a clean toothbrush in order to remove tangles. One should consider a toothbrush that has soft bristles to avoid scratching the skin of the hamsters. These soft bristles are capable of separating dead hair from the coat. Always brushing your hamsters will allow their furs to shine.

Hamsters generally face various health issues and they can usually live from two to three years only. However, their lifespan may be extended if they receive utmost care from their owners. According to some pet enthusiasts, some of the health issues faced by teddy bear hamsters include diarrhea, mite infestation and overgrown teeth.

Diarrhea in hamsters is usually caused by a diet consisting of lettuce and other foods that are low in fiber. Moreover, dirty cages also contribute to the onset of this disease.

Hamsters may also be infested with mites. Mites are parasites that cause severe itching. If this problem is left untreated, hamsters may scratch themselves which can result to infections. To treat this kind of ailment, one should apply adequate amount of mitacide to the hamster's body. It is also advised to thoroughly clean the cage and add fresh bedding.

Also known as malocclusion, overgrown teeth is another health concern faced by hamsters. This condition is characterized by the continuous growth of teeth until they no longer fit with one another. This inhibits the hamster to chew its food properly. If this will not be treated, the hamster will frequently experience starvation. According to veterinarians, malocclusion may be prevented during the hamster's early age. They advise pet owners to provide their pets with chew blocks so that their teeth will naturally wear off.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

How To Find a VET For Your CHINCHILLA

An Experienced Vet is Worth the Search

Chinchilla Photo: Wikimedia

Establishing a good working relationship with a veterinarian can be a challenge for any pet owner, but is a special challenge for the exotic pet owner. The exotic pet owner must find a vet who is willing to see their pet, knows something about their pet, and has the facilities, equipment and materials to treat their pet.

An interest in exotics doesn't necessarily equal proficiency in treating them. I say this from experience, as although I am fascinated with exotic pets, I have no special training in treating them medically. When I was practicing as a veterinarian, except for very routine care, I generally referred exotics to a specialist nearby. Thing may have changed a bit since I went to school, but during my training, exposure to exotics was still very imited even though I sought out extra exposure to exotic pets in my choice of clinical rotations. If at all possible, try to locate a vet who specializes in exotics and has taken specialized training (e.g. a residency in exotic animal medicine, or one who is board certified in an exotics specialty).

Such specialists can be hard to come by, so the next best is someone who has lots of experience treating exotic pets. Ask a potential veterinarian about their training, credentials, and memberships in specialty organizations such as the Association of Avian Veterinarians (AAV) or the Association of Reptile and Amphibian Veterinarians (ARAV). At the very least, choose a veterinarian with a real interest in exotic species and who is willing to learn about them and who will consult with a specialist when needed.

Personal recommendation or word of mouth is probably the most efficient way of finding a veterinarian. Friends, breeders, or organizations (e.g. the local herpetological society, other clubs) are good starting points. Other places to locate veterinarians include the yellow pages/phone directories (look for clinics that specifically advertise that they treat exotics), the state/provincial veterinary association directory, or even web pages that have veterinary directories (including the AAV and ARAV sites mentioned above). Several species specific web pages have sections where readers can submit contact information for veterinarians they have used.

Most importantly, do not wait until an emergency to find a vet. If your pet should get sick, a veterinarian with whom you feel comfortable and who is comfortable dealing with your pet will make the situation less stressful. An initial check up is well advised for any new pet and this is a good chance to see how a veterinarian handles your pet and how comfortable they are with your pet, and also to see if you and the veterinarian make a good match - sometimes there is a personality clash and you won't develop a good rapport with a certain veterinarian.

A veterinarian familiar with exotics will spend a good deal of time discussing the care and husbandry of a particular pet, as many problems with exotic pets are related to improper diet or husbandry. The veterinarian should also appear confident handling your pet.

There are several criteria which can be used to evaluate a practice in general and the following web pages discuss these in detail:

- How to Find a Veterinarian - advice from About's Guide to Veterinary Medicine on finding and evaluating a vet, with a link to some online vet finder directories. 

- How to Find an Avian Veterinarian - helpful tips for finding a veterinarian- geared toward bird owners but also applicable to any exotic species. 

For exotics there are more specific considerations, including: 

- special training or continuing education related to exotic pet medicine 

- how often exotic species are seen in their practice 

- special facilities or equipment to handle exotic pets

- experience (personal or professional) and familiarity with the husbandry and medicine of a particular species 

Finding the right vet can be a challenge and may not seem that important when your pet is healthy, but the effort will be well worth it if your pet should fall ill!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Your GERBIL Should Live in an Aquarium

To understand why your gerbil should live in an aquarium we'll first have to look at gerbils in the wild.Gerbils are a burrowing animal, they dig up the ground and create underground tunnel systems in which they reside.The other noteworthy trait of a gerbil is that it is a rodent, which in short, means they like to chew allot.

English: A male and female fat-tailed gerbil (...
A male and female fat-tailed gerbil (Pachyuromys duprasi).  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Gerbil movement is more like hopping than running, and their large back feet are furry on the bottom to protect them from the heat of the sand. Gerbils are fast but overly inquisitive. In their natural environment, they mostly eat insects, and additionally gain moisture from desert plants that store water in them. A gerbil has fur all over its body, including the tail, as this prevents it from getting sunburned.

There are several quite obvious reasons why aquariums make better housing for a gerbil:

When the gerbil starts to dig around through his bedding, the bedding is contained within the aquarium and isn't splashed sideways on the floor (which I just finished cleaning of course).
Cages that have more than one level can become a serious danger, especially to pups. They run around and play around and a fall or stumble and can end up with a broken leg.

Gerbils also tend to chew the wires of the cage which isn't particularly good to the cage or good to the gerbil.

Moreover Gerbils are social animals, and prefer to live in groups. Often very large groups live well together, as long as the living environment is big enough; otherwise, the gerbils may become frustrated and attack one another.That's why it's very important to have a large roomy aquarium for you gerbils. Aquariums tend to be bigger than cages thus provide to the little ones more room play in. Moreover hamster wheels can easily be fitted at the top of an aquarium.

The other choice would going with a plastic habitat. IMO these aren't very good as a gerbil may chew them up and from experience escape is far too easy using those.

If you don't have a gerbil, get one!

Gerbils are a very popular house pet, and there are several reasons for that. They are typically non-aggressive, and they rarely bite unprovoked or without stress. They are small and easy to handle, since they are sociable creatures that enjoy the company of humans and other gerbils. Gerbils also have adapted their kidneys to produce a minimum of waste to conserve body fluids which makes them very clean with little odor.