Sunday, February 23, 2020

GUINEA PIGS – Not Pigs, Not From Guinea and Not For Sale!

English: guinea pig Српски / Srpski: morsko pr...
Guinea pig
(Photo credit: 
Despite their name; did you know that the guinea pig is neither a pig, nor does it come from the Republic of Guinea? In fact they don't come from anywhere near West Africa, and originate from the Andes in South America. They are also not universally known as the fluffy squeaking household pet we know and love in Western Europe!

Fact File
• Species: Cavia porcellus
• Common Name: Guinea Pig or Cavy
• Geography: Andes, South America
• Order: Rodentia
• Suborder: Hystricomorpha
• Family: Caviidae
• Subfamily: Caviinae
• Genus: Cavia
• Weight: 0.7 to 1.2 kg
•Length: 20 to 25 cm

The guinea pig was domesticated as a source of food by a native from the Andean region (modern-day Colombia, Ecuador and Peru) in around 5000 BC. It is still a delicacy in the highland regions, living off family food scraps.

European history wasn’t graced by the Guinea Pig’s presence until a series of 16th century English, Spanish and Dutch expeditions brought home guinea pigs for European eyes, where they were quickly taken as exotic household pets by the rich and famous.

Strangely, however, recent excavations on Puerto Rico and other West Indian islands show that the Guinea Pig must have been bred (and presumably eaten) long before the arrival of the Spanish.

Lab Rats
Since the 17th century, the guinea pig has been used as the subject of scientific research. Early examples of this were vivisection to establish anatomy, and bizarrely to assess the chemical combustion of respiration, where 17th-century scientists recorded that the heat from guinea pig breath melted snow, therefore proving that heat was generated from the digestion of food.

A Source of Food
Guinea pigs were originally foodstuff in the Andes and is now commonly found cooked and for sale in Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Bolivia, particularly in the highland regions. High in protein and low in fat and cholesterol, it is reported to taste like a rabbit or chicken thigh.

Popular Culture
Perhaps due to their popularity as pets in Western Europe, the guinea pig has become a star of the cuddly animal variety, often appearing as characters in books, cartoons and movies; particularly aimed at children.

• The Fairy Caravan, a novel by Beatrix Potter
• Michael Bond's Olga da Polga series
• The Magician's Nephew by C. S. Lewis
• Pigs Is Pigs by Ellis Parker Butler
• Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Trouble with Tribbles", written by David Gerrold, and based on Pigs Is Pigs
• Golden Hamster Saga books

Film and television
• Shredderman Rules
• Dr. Dolittle (1998)
• Nick Jr.'s Wonder Pets
• South Park season 12 episode "Pandemic 2: The Startling"
• G-Force

• Egg Banking plc
• Snapple
• Blockbuster Video

Pigs in Space
Yes, that’s right - guinea pigs are amongst the few species to have traveled into space – and survived! In fact, they were amongst the earliest successful space travelers (before humans) and traveled on Sputnik 9 biosattelite in 1961 with a safe arrival back in the USSR, and more recently on a Chinese biosattelite in 1990.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Prevent Your Pet CHINCHILLA From Experiencing Environmental Stress

Chinchillas, rodents and pets
Chinchillas, rodents and pets
(Photo credit: 
There are ways you can prevent your pet chinchilla from experiencing environmental stress.  You as the owner should make sure all their needs are satisfied.  You should also make sure that you are reliable enough to take care of their needs.  Your pet depends on you to take care of them physically and emotionally.

Make sure the cage is large enough where they can run around and play.  Be sure to include a wheel where they can exercise, some toys they can chew on and a hideaway.  All of these items can prevent your pet from being bored and stressed out.  You should also cover their cage will also help them be less stressed and provide a sense of security.  Make sure they get their daily exercise away from their cage.  This helps them to be able to roam around and not be holed up 24 hours a day.  This by itself can be stressful because they'll feel locked into one entity, which would be their cage.

If you must employ a change with your pet in the way of ownership, living arrangements or meeting other chinchillas, introduce it gradually.  Your pet will be more accepting of a slower process than they would of a quick and rash one.  A quick and rash one does nothing but contributes to more unnecessary stress.

Added stress can contribute to shock.  In your pet's case, this happens when they feel they can't consume the magnitude of what's going on around them.  The chinchilla feels their situation is out of control and can't be corrected.  They're unable to digest the scenario.  This type of shock can result in immediate declining health and/or death; sometimes, they may decline slowly and eventually expire.  Stress-related shock doesn't happen often, but if your pet has hyperactivity, they'll more likely to experience it.

It's normal for your pet to be wary of the unknown.  Eventually, they'll learn to adjust.  Chinchillas are used to routines.  They like to stay in the land of familiar surroundings and not rock the boat.  They don't particularly care for challenges, especially when it means making a change that affects them directly and swiftly.  If they have to, they will change, but they prefer to remain uninterrupted.  If they are in an unsafe environment, then it is essential that changes are made.  Eventually, your pet will appreciate your efforts to move them into better surroundings.

Your pet prefers to be in a setting where they're not threatened by change.  However, if they do have to change scenery, the most important thing is that they have time to get adjusted.  Depending on how old they are and their health status, some chinchillas adjust faster than others.  The biting of fur would occur mostly in an older animal.  This may come from having another animal in the house.  The older one would feel that their territory was being invaded.

Changes that would make your pet feel happy are a new cage, television or a new movie or a new chew toy.  More times than not, they would welcome these with open arms.  If in the event, any of these items don't satisfy them and cause stress, you'll have to make some adjustments so they can adapt and eliminate the stress. 

Friday, January 11, 2019

Got A PET RAT? Some Helpful Tips About Pet Rats - Pet Rat Health, Pet Rat Training, and Pet Rat Car

English: A pet fancy rat: black? standard blaze
A pet fancy rat: black? standard blaze
(Photo credit: 
However, more people than commonly thought to own a pet rat, or even several pet rats - often nicknamed fancy rats. If you have arrived here you may own one or some already, or thinking of owning one, or simply want to know more about the fancy rat. Whichever is true, you should know that pet rats are more delicate than some might think, and caring for them requires a lot of attention to detail. Here you will learn some tips about attending to pet rat health, which pet rat cages are best and how they should be prepared for your pet rat, and general tips about pet rat care and pet rat training.

In order to house your pet rat, care must be taken to which cage you choose and how to prepare it. The cage should be large enough so that your fancy rat has room to run around. It should be made to provide an environment of different activities for your pet rat - toys to play with and keep your fancy rat interested are very important, for example, because fancy rats can literally get sick with boredom. The cage should also have places in which your pet rat can snuggle and rest, and preferably something it can climb. The cage floor should be properly bedded with newspaper or some fabric. Keep an eye on the cleanliness of the cage as well - clean it on a weekly basis, at least.

Which toys should you use in the pet rat cage? well, pet rats have personalities, and each pet rat is different. An old tennis ball can be good for one, a wooden ring to chew on can be good for the other. At the end of this article, you will find a pointer to the source of an abundance of ideas for pet rat toys. However, just like with a child, your pet rat can have all the toys in the world - but nothing would match up to some quality time with you. So make time to play with your pet rats. Pet rats are also good companions for each other - if you put more than one of them in the same cage (if the cage is big enough, of course) they'll be able to play with each other, and that will make their lives much better and more interesting.

Pet rat care begins with what you feed them with. Rats can eat pretty much everything, but in order to keep your pet rat healthy, there are certain things you can do with regards to their diet. You can feed them ready-made mouse food that you buy in a shop, but make sure you diversify it with bits of fresh fruit and vegetables (except citrus fruit which is bad, especially to males). Trial and error will tell you which foods your pet rat loves best - like I said, rats have personalities, and each one is different. You can sometimes even spoil your pet rats with a sweet delicacy such as a dog biscuit if you find they like it. You can also hide food in their cages for them to look for. Water should be given in a drip bottle attached to the wiring of the cage - make sure water never runs out.

A healthy diet, without overfeeding, will generally keep your pet rat healthy. But pet rat health requires attention in other aspects too. For example, pet rats are very sensitive to heat or cold. They should be given worm cloth to snuggle in during cold days, and fed cold food (such as frozen veggies) on hot days.

If your pet rat does not act like its usual self (particularly if it's much quieter or more indifferent than usual), if it does not drink or eat normally, or if it sneezes often or shows signs of breathing difficulty - it may be sick. If you notice a lump in your pet rat's body, that may be a sign of serious illness. Rats may also contract skin diseases or worms in their digestive systems. Whatever the symptoms are, the best thing to do is to when you notice something out of the ordinary is to take it to the vet, the sooner the better.

What about pet rat training? Is that even possible? Of course it is! That is the fun part. Rats are very intelligent animals. They catch on fast, they are curious, and they aim to please.

Don't push your pet rat too much in training or teaching trick. Be patient. This is not a race.

Rats can be trained to litter at particular places in their cage, and save you some trouble cleaning it. You can create a corner with some special bedding for that, place older litter in it so your pet rats can smell it. If there are certain places in the cage your pet rats prefer to litter at their own will, don't fight them. Create that litter tray where they prefer it to be.

Pet rats can be taught many things - to come to you when you call their names, stand on their hind legs and clap the forepaws, and so much more. Their reward is mainly food, and praise from you. Be patient, it takes time.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Raising Baby Ferrets

Photo: Pixabay
Ferrets can be purchased from a breeder or adopted from a shelter even when they are young. Baby ferrets are better known as kits and if you choose to get a male, it is called a hob while a female is called a Jill. 

When you acquire them, they have already been weaned and they now need adult nourishment. Since their teeth are not yet sharp enough to chew anything, it is best to soak the food in warm water for 5 to 10 minutes before this is given. You must never give them cat food because studies have shown that this causes health problems. 

Kits need more fat and protein than kittens. This is because they have a short gastrointestinal tract and a rapid intestinal transit time which means it takes some time for the food to pass through the stomach and into the intestines. When you are looking for the right food product to buy, look at the label and see to it that this contains 35% protein and 20% of fat. 

The baby ferrets need a balance of meat and poultry products as this will decrease the risk later of urinary tract obstructions later on in life. Aside from that, they must also be given water constantly either in a dish or bottle. 

As the baby ferrets grow older, you can give them occasional snacks such as bananas, crackers and raisins but only in small amounts.

Aside from food, baby ferrets should be housed in a cage. This should be big enough to let them move around and be easy for you to clean. There should also be sufficient bar spacing so they are not able to escape. It must also have a large door so the kit will not have a hard time getting in or out. 

The bottom of the cage should have a plastic bottom so you can easily clean it. This will allow you to change the bedding or simply wash it. If buying one is expensive, you can make one by sewing a few scraps together and putting it inside. 

When the ferrets are still young, you should already begin toilet training them. This will enable them to put their waste in a litter box instead on your carpet. The best way to do this is by putting a small amount of waste in the box and when they do this correctly, you give them a snack as a reward. You should be careful not to punish or hurt them when they are still learning because these creatures do bite back.  

Eventually, they will get a hang of it and to protect your home and your pet, it is best to ferret-proof your home to prevent any untoward incidents. 

One of the things that a baby ferret needs are a toy to play with. There are plenty of these in the market. Just make sure that they can withstand the ferret’s sharp teeth. In fact, some baby toys and rattlers are fun for them to play with so you should supervise how they use it because they will eventually eat their way through it.  

Baby ferrets need constant love and attention. Don’t forget to also bring them to the vet for vaccinations and anti-rabies shots so they will be able to stay with you for a long period of time. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

What to Do When FERRETS Bite Hard

English: A picture of a ferret's teeth, very w...
A picture of a ferret's teeth, very white and in good condition
(Photo credit: 
Ferrets bite hard. That’s not an option, but it’s a sad risk ferret owners have to consider. It can happen to anybody at any time with a nearby ferret. But there’s no need to panic. Most bites are not as harmful but still, precautionary measures must be taken properly. 

A Quick Look on Ferret’s Teeth Structure

Ferrets’ teeth are in many ways synonymous to human teeth. But the lethal part in the ferret’s dentures would have to be the tip of their canines. That is the sharp part that some owners decide to cut off at the outset of its growth to avoid ferret bits from plaguing the whole ferret experience.

The good thing is that ferrets’ canine tips can naturally break off from excessive biting of objects. Giving them hard toys they can chew, for example, can help eliminate the threat of its sharp canines.  

Ferret Bite Quick Tip 1: Assess the extent of the damage. If bitten, the very first thing to do would be to assess the depth of the bite. If it is just a minor scratch, clean the wounds but do not make any dismissive presumptions. In the case where you are confronted with a major bite, you need to have it checked immediately. 

Ferret Bite Quick Tip 2: Clean the wound immediately with your first aid kit. Cover it afterward. Having a first aid kit would be very beneficial for both you and your pet ferret. Wash with soap and water, clean it with peroxide, cover it with gauze and if all else fails to proceed to the next step. Note the color of the wound and make sure that the blood flows for a considerable amount of time before cleaning it up. 

Ferret Bite Quick Tip 3: Go to the nearest doctor. Seeking the help of a medical professional will help you have the objective assessment of the wound. It will also ensure that you did not acquire any infections from the ferret bite.  

Ferret Bite Quick Tip 4: Have the ferret checked by the veterinarian. It is not just you who needs to be checked but you also need the help of your veterinarian to have your ferret checked. You also have to have the dentures of your ferret checked to see if there are any remnants of the skin or anything unusual that came from the bite. This is to ensure that both your health and the ferret’s health remain uncompromised.     

Ferret Bite Quick Tip 5: In the case where one ferret bites another, have them both checked and keep them in separate cages until the tension dissipates. In the case of a ferret to ferret bites, you will have to have both of them checked with a veterinarian. If at all possible, analyze the causes of hostile behavior. Eventually, you may have to combine them in a single place again but make sure that this is done with utmost care and in a gradual manner.  

Ferret Bite Quick Tip 6: Furnish your first aid kit immediately for both humans and ferrets. 
Your ferrets must also have their own first aid kit, furnished with pretty much the same thing that the human first aid kit has except that all the objects are downsized to suit your furry creatures.

Exert caution in treating wounds of your ferrets, otherwise, they will see it as an attack and bite you as you treat it.  

Monday, October 8, 2018

How To Re-home Your CHINCHILLA

Domestic chinchillas (Chinchilla lanigera x ch...
Domestic chinchillas (Chinchilla lanigera x chinchilla brevicaudata)
(Photo credit: 
Re-homing your chinchilla is not necessarily a delight to accomplish.  However, if you are in a situation where you can no longer properly care for your chinchilla, the best thing to do is to seek out someone who can give it the love and care that they need.  It will break your heart to let your pet go, especially if you've become bonded to it.  It's also better if you let someone else handle it rather than let it suffer and die.  

You can start your search by placing classified advertisements in the section designated for exotic animals or chinchillas.  Make sure you let them know that there is an adoption fee attached.  You should set the fee at a starting price of $50.00.  It has been advised that you should set it higher than that.  This way, you will weed out the freebie seekers or cheapos.  These types of people are usually not interested in taking care of a chinchilla; they just want to purchase it for their own corrupt whims.

The purpose of the adoption fees is to see if the candidate can properly and is financially able to take care of an exotic pet such as a chinchilla.  Chinchillas need routine care not only from you, but also from a specialized veterinarian.  When you're dealing with specialties, that usually costs more than general things.  If the interested person has an adverse reaction to the fees, then that's a strike against him.  You'll know that they're not interested in the chinchilla's well being.  You want to make sure that the person getting your pet is the most qualified.

Find out how long this person has been taking care of chinchillas.  Did they keep them healthy and active?  Ask them what kind of food did they feed them.  Let them know what brand of pellets and hay you used, in the event, it's different from what they use for their pets.  If they already have a chinchilla, will they try to get them together as mates?

Find out more information about trying to have more than one chinchilla in the same household.  Find out about their veterinarian and how he or she takes care of their chinchilla(s).  Does he or she have the best interest of the pet in mind?  If the person were to go on vacation or had an emergency, is there someone available who is knowledgeable in taking care of chinchillas?

If they can answer your concerns and you feel comfortable with them, then your chinchilla may have a new owner and a new home.  Before the prospect signs on the dotted line, take your chinchilla over there to see if they will adapt to their new environment.

The place should be clean and free from a lot of noise.  Chinchillas aren't comfortable with excessive noise in their domain and it's easy for them to get infections.  See how your pet interacts with them.  If they do well and pass the test, then you probably have a winner.  If your pet clams up and doesn't get comfortable, then you may have to continue looking.

Monday, August 20, 2018

MICE As Pets - The Perfect Low Maintenance Pet That Will Even Learn Tricks

A female fancy mouse with her litter
A female fancy mouse with her litter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Mice are a popular choice of pet and unlike their generally bad reputation can be very sociable, intelligent and clean. The most popular type of mouse to have as a pet is the regular domestic mouse which is available at almost any pet store. More specialized types of mice are also available. Pet mice owners believe mice to make the perfect pets because they are fairly low-maintenance, do not make a loud noise and are sociable animals. 

When you purchase a mouse you will obviously have to choose a suitable home for it. The most popular type of housing for mice is the metal cage with a solid floor. This will allow your mouse to grip and climb up and down the walls of the cage. You will need to put a soft layer of hay, shavings or shredded paper on the floor of your mouse's cage. This will have to be cleared out at least once a week to prevent the cage turning smelly. You can equip your mouse's home with toys and play objects fairly cheaply, by adding decorations like pipes, through which they can tunnel, blocks, running wheels and empty cartons. Mice are nocturnal animals and so love to run around and play at night.

While the best type of food that you can feed your mouse will be available at your local pet store, you can also give your pet other alternatives like, leafy vegetables, carrots, celery, cereal and even certain types of worms. Beware that there are some foods that you should never feed your mouse. These include; peanuts, uncooked meat, citrus fruits, such as lemons and oranges, as well as garlic. If you feed your mouse a new type of food product and notice that it develops diarrhoea or skin irritations you should seek veterinary advice as soon as possible.

Much like a cat or dog your pet mouse can also be taught tricks like coming when it is called. After exercising a little patience and trial and error, you will see that your mouse will quickly dispel those rumours that they are un-intelligent animals.