Category Archives: Small Animal

Speaking Pet: Instinctual Rabbit Behavior

Sept_2012_1Because they are a prey species, rabbits show behavior that is mostly dictated by instinct. Read on for a list of the top instinctual behaviors you’ll see from your rabbit and our tips.

Instinct 1: Digging – Rabbits love to dig holes and burrows as safe havens. The key to handling this behavior is to channel it away from your rugs and carpet and onto items meant for bunny digging. Your rabbit will enjoy scratching at and chewing untreated grass mats and tunnels, like the Hide-A-Way Hut.

Instinct 2: Burrowing – Your rabbit is a natural burrower and loves to create cozy spaces underground. Recreate an underground environment with grass tunnels for your rabbit to run through and relax in. We also suggest offering a large nesting area using a Giant Igloo.

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How to Keep Your Ferret from Biting

Mar_2014_5Does your ferret bite during play? Nipping or play biting is natural when ferrets play together, especially among young kits. But when playing with humans (who have thinner skin), they don’t realize it can hurt.

Ferrets bite for various reasons: out of fear, to get attention, to initiate play or because they’re not socialized. It’s your job to train your ferret out of biting and socialization, good training and consistency are key. Use one or more of these methods to train your little friend.

Scruffing

This is the easiest way to show your displeasure. Pick him up by the scruff or skin on the back of the neck and say “no” firmly. This is how mother ferrets pick up their babies and it will show your dominance. There are few nerve endings in this area, but you should still be firm and gentle.

Distract with a Substitute

Another method is to use a toy to distract him when he starts biting. Get him to bite or wrestle the toy instead and help him learn the difference between toys and your fingers. A young kit will almost always bite while playing, but you can show him not to bite unless he’s just mouthing your skin or lightly nipping it.

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Understanding Guinea Pigs

guineapigGuinea pigs are fun pets, but it’s safe to say most pet parents aren’t familiar with their pet’s sounds and behavior at first. Do you understand your guinea pig? Here’s a short guide on guinea pig sounds and behavior you’ll want to know.
Wheeking
“Wheeking” is another name for the squealing or squeaking sounds of your guinea pig. She may seem like a quiet animal, but you’re likely to hear her squeal quite often. She might use it to get attention or to beg for her favorite food. A high-pitched squeal, however, could be a sign of fear or pain.

Purring
Similar to cats, guinea pigs purr when they’re relaxed and content. Pay attention to the tone however. A deep purr is a sign of contentment. A high-pitched one can signify annoyance or fear.

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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