Category Archives: Small Animal

About Those Bulging Cheek Pouches

Sept_2013_1You may have seen your hamster with bulging cheek pouches. What you might not know is that his cheek pouches aren’t always used for food. Read on for some interesting facts.

Did you know?

Hamsters stuff their cheeks to hoard food for later or to carry nesting material from one area to another. Female hamsters might also carry their pups in their cheek pouches.

When full, cheek pouches can make a hamster’s head double or even triple in size.

A hamster’s cheek pouches don’t have salivary glands and can keep contents dry and fresh.

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How to Speak Hamster

Sept_2013_1Perked ears, waving hands, hissing… do you know what these actions mean in “hamster speak”? Read on for tips on how to interpret your hamster’s actions.

Is he waving at me?
Your hamster may seem to be waving hello, but he’s really exploring with his senses. Since he doesn’t have good eyesight, he relies on his senses of smell, hearing touch and taste. To do that, it helps to stand on his hind legs and wave his front paws a little.

Hiss, hiss or stay away
As you may have guessed, a hissing hamster is not a happy hamster. In this case, he’s feeling aggressive or is afraid. Take it as the warning it is and leave him alone for a while.

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The Basics of a Guinea Pig Diet

guineapigGuinea pigs are popular pets. They’re small, fairly easy to care for and are fun to watch.

But this small animal needs a certain diet to stay healthy. Fortunately, the diet of a guinea pig is fairly easy to accommodate.

Wondering what you should be feeding your small friend? Here’s a look at a well-rounded guinea pig diet:

Pellets
A large part of your guinea pig’s diet should include timothy-based pellets. They’re specially formulated with extra vitamin C, which is vital for your pet’s health. Guinea pigs don’t produce this vitamin on their own and must get it through their diet.

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Strange Turtle Facts

Mar_2014_3If you have a turtle, you might be surprised to find that your shelled friend exhibits some pretty interesting and even strange traits.

Here are a few strange facts you might not have known:

They are vocal
Though they don’t have vocal cords, turtles can still make sounds. They suck in air and then force it out of their lungs, which can create some pretty distinctive sounds. The red-foot tortoise makes a sound similar to the cluck of a chicken. The male Travancore tortoise lets out an ear-piercing whine, similar to the sound of an electric motor, when they’re looking for a mate. You’ll hear a loud yelping sound, similar to a dog’s, when the giant musk turtle is afraid or is under attack. Also a female leatherback sea turtle, when nesting, will make sounds that are similar to a human belching.
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How to Choose the Best Cage for Your Hamster

Sept_2013_1There are a greater variety of hamsters now being kept as pets. But whether you have a tiny dwarf hamster or a large Syrian, you’ll need to consider your pet’s size when getting your hamster a home. 

Cage types

  • Wire cages: Wire cages tend to be larger and work well for large hamsters. Make sure the wire bars aren’t spaced more than a half inch apart.
  • Plastic cages: Plastic cages, many of which have various tunnels or levels, are good choices for small- to mid-sized hamsters. The built-in tubes are great for hamster exercise, although they may be more difficult to clean.
  • Aquariums. Small Chinese and dwarf hamsters do well in aquariums, which give them (and you) greater visibility. Continue reading

What you should know about feeding your ferret

Aug_2013_1Love ferrets? To keep your ferret his normal, playful self, make sure you’re meeting his dietetic and nutritional needs. Here are a few facts about feeding your ferret:

 

  • As carnivores who can’t absorb nutrition from vegetation, ferrets need a diet high in animal protein, high in fat and low in fiber.
  • It’s important to include high-quality animal protein in a ferret’s diet. A premium ferret food is recommended.  Continue reading

Rabbit Facts

Sept_2012_1A Rabbit Diet for Healthy Hopping

In the wild, rabbits spend their days eating grass and other greens. At home, rabbits depend on us for a proper diet.  Making sure they get enough water and fiber is important not only for their digestive health, but also for their continuously growing teeth. Keep reading for top tips to a healthy rabbit diet.

Hay for High Fiber

Hay is vital to a rabbit’s diet and should be available at all times. It provides roughage (fiber) and can prevent serious health issues, as well as obesity.  There are two basic types of hay: legume hay and grass hay. Legume hay (alfalfa or clover) is tastier for rabbits, but should be used in Continue reading

Dos & Don’ts of Rabbit Housing

Sept_2012_1

Bringing home a new rabbit? Every bunny needs a safe haven where he can eat, play and rest comfortably. Follow these tips and your bunny is sure to love his new home.

  • DO buy a cage or pen big enough for your rabbit.
    A bigger cage offers more freedom of movement.
  • DO line the litter area with rabbit-safe litter.
    Timothy hay, grass hay or pelleted newspaper are safe options for litter. Avoid pine/cedar shavings or clay cat litters as they can cause health problems.
  • DO use sturdy food or water bowls that can’t be tipped over.
  • DO get a home with a side opening.
    If your bunny is going to roam indoors occasionally, a side opening will allow him to get in and out on his own. Continue reading

Irresistible Toys for Ferrets

Aug_2013_1

Want toy ideas to keep your playful ferret entertained? Read on for some ferret favorites…

Tubes and tunnels

Ferrets were meant to chase rabbits or rodents and love running through tubes and tunnels. The Chewbular Play Tube and other tunnel systems can provide hours of fun. The Crinkle Tunnel adds another layer of amusement with its crinkly noises.

Plush or stuffed toys

Your ferret is sure to love small plush toys he can carry, chew on or hide. Use plush or stuffed toys with squeakers or without. Continue reading

How to Properly Set Up a Rabbit Cage

May_2013_1Preparing a home for a new bunny buddy? These cute, fun animals have specific housing needs. Follow these tips for the proper setup of a rabbit cage:

 

  • Set up your rabbit’s housing before you bring your pet home.
  • Unless they’re spayed or neutered, rabbits should be housed alone.
  • Caging should include a hiding area, food bowl, water bottle, salt lick, and hay manger.
  • The larger the cage, the better! Get a cage that has a lot of surface area, rather than multiple levels. Two levels are fine, but there is no need for a really tall cage.
  • The cage should have a solid bottom. Avoid a wire bottom, which can irritate a rabbit’s sensitive feet (the same goes for exercise wheels).
  • Use rabbit-safe litter or shavings to line the litter box. Make the bedding about one inch deep and be sure to change it at least every other day.
  • Rabbits need daily exercise for their health. An exercise pen is ideal for keeping your rabbit safe, but still giving them room to run.
  • Put the cage in an area that gets a lot of activity – rabbits are very social and love people! Continue reading