Small Pets: Meet Papoe

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How old are you?

I am almost 1 year old…but I am still too small for my age.

Where did your name come from?

My species can be found in Papua and Mommy’s friend thought that Papoe will suit me. The pronunciation is pa-poo.

How did you end up with your mom?

Mommy just lost her favorite turtle, my eldest sister Kame. She couldn’t handle the pain unless she had a new one to keep her busy. Two days after my sister passed away, she went to a pet-shop and saw me. She brought me home to meet my other sister, Kroten.
Papoe (@underneath the shell)

What type of turtle are you?

(If your mom has any information/links to share about the type of turtle you are that would be wonderful, if not I can look it up and add to the article)
I am a Pink Belly Short/Side Necked Turtle or Emydura Schultzei. I have shared about my species here> http://kamekroten.wordpress.com/2012/03/22/herptile-spotlight-6-pink-belly-shortside-neck-turtle/

What are some of your favorite things to do?

I like to hide under Mommy’s pillow.
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What is your favorite snack?

Hmmm…let’s see! Turtle pellet, carrot and turnip green.

Do you have any tankmates or other furry/finned/feathered members in the family?

I live in one tank with my brother, Kurome. He is a melanistic Reeve’s Turtle
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Do you know any tricks?

Not yet 🙁 I am very shy. My Sister and brother already know how to climb on Mommy’s hand…but I still haven’t mastered that because I tend to hide away.
Kroten and Papoe

What would you like others to know about turtles?

Turtles are not as dormant as many people think. We have different personality and can be passionate too. We are no different with Cats and Dogs. I have told you that I am very shy, but other siblings are well trained. My late sister, Kame, was the best. She knew her name, she followed Mommy everywhere, she liked to sleep on Mommy’s leg, she liked to play with things. My sister Kroten slowly acted as passionate as my late sister, Kame. My brother Kurome is very smart…he knows his name in four months and already followed Mommy around.

Does you mom want to share anything about you that others may not know?

Mommy said that I have already told everything about turtles that not many people know on previous question.

Do you know of any other turtles that have blogs/facebook/twitter pages that you would like to share?

Yup, you can read about three little turtle here> http://trailerparkturtles.wordpress.com/
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kurome papoe and kroten (from left to right)

Is there anything else either of you would like to include?

I just want to say that turtles can also be a cute pet 🙂

Turtle Age: Lifespan of Different Turtles

Taken from: http://www.petcaregt.com/Turtle/Age-of-The-Turtles.html)

It is said that the owner of a turtle should be extremely committed and patient towards the pet. Turtle is rather placid and cute pet to keep in initial days, but as it grows people tend to develop a dislike for it. The dislike holds dominance due to the demanding size of the turtle and its extensively long life. Major reason why people disown the turtles is just because of their long lives. Have a look at other side of the coin; there are people who are immensely happy to own a pet which can provide them with a companionship of almost a lifetime. Mentioned below is turtle age information of different species of turtles along with the number of years they live, for you to select the one which best suits you.

  • Green Sea Turtle : These turtles are destined with almost the same number of years as its owner has. The average age of a green sea turtle is around 80 years.
  • Alligator Snapping TurtleA: Actually the potential lifespan of the turtle when not kept in captivity is not known. An assumption by studying various snapping turtles is made that these turtles when kept in their natural habitat can live upto or more than 150 years. But when tamed and looked after in a fairly good manner, their lifespan outgrows 70 to 80 years.
  • Leatherback Turtle : The life of leatherback turtles when set free is around 100 years. In captivity they are observed to live a life of around 30 to 40 years.
  • Red Eared Slider Turtle : These turtles in their natural habitat can survive well for around 60 to 70 years. As one tames them, the lifespan of this turtle becomes limited from 40 to 60 years.
  • Common Musk Turtle : The average age of this turtle when kept in captivity and when set free does not extend beyond 60 years. Usually it is expected to accompany you as a pet for 50 years if you take really good care of it.
  • Big Headed Turtle : The expected life of this turtle when tamed will never exceed 25 years. If it is left in its natural habitat its life can stretch from 30 to 35 years.
  • American Box Turtle : If you are actually out to get yourself a companion for lifetime then the best suited turtle for you is American box turtle. The life of this turtle might not end even after you die as this turtle lives a minimum life of 100 years.

These were some of the turtles along with their life spans. Mentioning their age will help you determine if you can afford to keep a turtle. If you tend to get bored easily by a pet then turtles are certainly not meant for you. But if you have ample of patience or moderately enough patience then for sure you can opt for a pet turtle. Then too mind it, that you never opt for species of sea turtle which reach their juvenility at the age of 150. Yet another breed to be avoided by even the most committed tamers is Aldabra Turtle which is expected to have a life beyond 200 years. So, think before you conclude upon any decision.


Common Types of Pet Turtles:

(Taken from:http://www.petturtlecareguide.com/pet-turtle-facts/)

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  • Slider TurtlesRed eared slider turtles are semi aquatic turtles that are very typical pet turtles. However, there is a misconception that these slider turtles do not require much care. It is a fact that all turtles require a lot of care and commitment to live long, healthy lives. Many slider turtles die early as a result of improper care. With proper care, these turtles can live for more than a decade. An adult red eared slider can grow up to 12 inches long. Male red eared sliders are often smaller than females. Red eared sliders are omnivores, which means they consume a blend of animal and plant matter.
  • Map TurtlesCommon map turtles are both carnivorous and vegetarian. They can eat various kinds of food, such as crickets, fish, earthworms, carrots and leafy green veggies. Map turtles usually prefer large spaces with a dry basking area and shallow water to bath in.
  • Box Turtles: They are semi aquatic turtles, however, they spend most of their time on dry land. They need only a shallow range of fresh water. On the other hand, there are other types of box turtles that are more aquatic, such as the Chinese and Malayan types. Box turtles will generally require a tank with adequate space to bask and swim around in. Water needs to be deep enough to swim through but shallow enough for the turtle to easily climb in and out of it. These turtles eat both plant matter and meat or live foods.
  • Yellow Bellied Turtles or sliders: They are easily adapted to captivity. They are suited to shallow water aquaria. They do need basking areas that are raised above water level. Moreover, they are omnivorous, but younger ones are typically more carnivorous than adults.
  • Mud Turtles: They are semi terrestrial turtles and well suited to sandy, damp, or muddy environments. They are omnivorous and almost never grow over 5 inches long. Like many other types of turtles, mud turtles like to bask. They can live very long lives as well—up to 50 years old.

No matter what type of turtle you buy as a pet, all turtles require fresh food and water. They also require an environment that is most comfortable for them.


Caring For Your Turtle

(Taken from: http://www.wormsandgermsblog.com/M2%20Turtles%20-%20Owners.pdf)

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  • Feeding: Turtles need a wide variety of different foods, from mice to worms to insects, as well as vegetables and some fruit. Land turtles need to be fed differently than aquatic turtles.Commercial pelleted turtle feed is available, but it should only be used to make up a small portion of the animal’s diet.
  • Aquarium/Terrarium: Turtles are cold-blooded animals that rely on theirenvironment to regulate their body temperature. Turtle enclosures requirespecial heating and lighting, and certain types of bedding/litter to ensureyour pet stays healthy and happy. Aquatic turtles need an area to swim,and land turtles need a shallow dish of water to drink from and to soak in

Can My Turtle Make me sick?

(taken from: http://www.wormsandgermsblog.com/M2%20Turtles%20-%20Owners.pdf)
Yes. The most frequent disease people get from turtles is salmonellosis, which is an infection caused by the bacteria Salmonella. Although Salmonella can also make your turtle sick, the majority of reptiles, including turtles, carry Salmonella as part of the normal bacteria in their intestine, and the animal may look completely healthy. Nonetheless, the bacteria can still make a person very sick. Salmonella may be found on any part of a turtle, not just in its stool.
People catch Salmonella by swallowing it. With turtles, this usually happens because people get the bacteria on their hands and then touch their face or the food they are eating. Salmonella also survives very well on objects and surfaces in the house with which a turtle, or something touched by the turtle, has been in contact.

Salmonellosis usually causes diarrhea. Most people recover in a few days, but some people become very sick when the bacteria get into the bloodstream. In some cases, people have died from Salmonella. People can also get Salmonella from touching or eating undercooked food such as chicken that was contaminated with the bacteria during processing, and not from a turtle.
Young children are at an increased risk of catching Salmonella from a pet turtle, because they often do not wash their hands properly after touching a turtle, and they often put their fingers or objects in their mouths. People who are immunocompromised (e.g. HIV/AIDS patients, transplant recipients, cancer patients) are also more likely to get sick from Salmonella because their immune system cannot fight infection


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And for those interested, I found a few great places to explain the difference between turtles, Tortoises and terrapins.
Reeves Turtle Information & Care:

Reeves Turtle Care (Chinemys Reevesii) is a small or medium size species of turtle found in China, Korea, and Japan. They are a semi-aquatic species that thrives in calm streams, shallow pond, shallow parts lake and wetlands. they are also omnivorous, in the wild, they eat native aquatic plants, fish, snails, freshwater shrimp,and incests. These species are currently are facing threat of habitat destruction, human consumption and pet trade.

Size:
Reeves Turtle will reach a maximum of 10″ if they are females, male would be smaller in size.

Captive Habitat Needs:
Provide an large aquarium for adequate space for this species. Provide at least 100 gallon aquarium for a single female and 75 gallon aquarium for a single male.
Use a canister filter, biological filter, or an large power filter to provide adequate water quality. These species are sensible to water quality. These species are susceptible to shell rot if you don’t provide adequate water quality. Provide a basking platform, so these species can bask. Provide UVB and UVA light for this species. Keep water temperature at mid 70’s and 80 degrees, basking temperature should be around low 80’s through 90 degrees.

Feeding:
Feed this species, pellets, minnows, insects, leafy vegetable. Feed this species small amounts until they stop eating, then discard any leftovers.
Outdoor Care:
Reeves Turtle can be kept outside in a shallow pond. provide aquatic plants for cover and food, provide a basking spot for these species to bask. They may hibernate depending on where you live but take precaution.

More on Reeve’s Turtles:

Author’s Note:
Many many thanks to Papoe’s mom for sharing pictures of him and the others with us. Photos were used with permission. You can find Papoe, Korten and Kurome at http://kamekroten.wordpress.com/

 

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Small Pets: Meet Shimi

How old are you?

Iz 1 years old! On da May 24th iz gonna be two!!

Where did your name come from?

My name be japanese! It means spot! Cause I habs a lot ob spots on my back!

How did you come to live with your human family?

Da mommy had three rats already and wanted to habs two new furiends! So hers was looking online when she found me and my sister (Shima) in need ob a home! So hers emailed those people to ask them iffin she could habs us! When she went to visit she fell in love wiff a third rat (Beju) so she ask iffin she could take us home all three! And that was okays! Now we was still to youngs to come homes so da mommy had to waits a few weeks! Two days before she went to pick us up, she got an email… every rat found a new home except for one!!! So they asked if maybe da mommy would likes to takes home four instead ob three! Da mommy said obcourse! So thats why we also gots my other sisfur (Aki)

What type of mouse are you?

Iz nots a mouse! Iz a rat! Iz a pet rat wiff dumbo ears! That means my ears be on da side ob my head instead obs on top!

Do you live with any other furry siblings? If so who are they?

I libs wiff my sisfurs who be Aki, that be a brown rat! Hers name be japanese and means Autumn. Shima looks like me wiff a brown fur and a stripe on years back. Shima means stripe in english. And we habs Beju who be kinda ob a beige color. Beju means beige in english. Aki and Shima be real sisfurs. Beju comes from another mother who had gotten sick. Hers had to get medicine so hers could not gibs milk anymores! Thats why Beju came to libs wiff my mommy and sisfurs! Hers be born on da may 25th so she be one day younger!

Do you know any tricks?

Iz not sure iffin this be a trick but I listen to my name! I also listen to da door! When I gets to run free in da house and somepawdy opens da door, Iz always run to da door to greet thems! Iz also follows da mommy through da house! Likes a doggy!

What advice do you have for someone who wants a small pet?

Nebers just buy a small pet wiffout reading information first! We maybe small but that does not mean wez be easy pets! Most small pets lubs to live wiff cagemates! Except for hamsters! Make sure we habs a big enuff cage and neber ebers buy us from a petstore!

What is a typical day like for you?

Iz nap a lot!!! But Iz also lubs to cuddle or to runs around!

Do you get out of your cage often?

I does! I lubs to snuggle or run arounds! Sometimes Iz just sit on mommy’s shoulder when hers be busy doing stuff!

Is there anything you would like to share that others may not know about you?

Neber buy one rat! No mater how much time youz gonna spend wiff a rat it not da same as a cage mate!


Cages for Rats

(Taken from:http://exoticpets.about.com/cs/careofrats/a/ratscare.htm)
A large wire cage is best, especially one with horizontal bars that allow the rat to climb on the sides if they wish. A tall cage with ramps and platforms is ideal for providing room for multiple rats. As minimum, a cage with 12 by 24 inches (2 square feet) of floor space is okay for two smaller rats, as long as the cage is tall and you provide shelves and/or hammocks for extra space. Larger is always better. Large aquariums are okay, but do not provide good ventilation (and must be cleaned more often).

Avoid cages with wire flooring as spending time on wire flooring has been linked to bumblefoot. Many cages have wire balconies and shelves, which are not ideal. However, you can modify wire balconies by covering them with a thin sheet of wood or other solid material (fix to the cage with wire ties). Also look for wire that is a fine grid (1/2 inch by 1/2 inch maximum). Your best bet is to look for cages that have plastic or wood shelving, or you can modify cages using melamine covered boards to make your own shelves (easy to clean). Many enterprising rat owners have built their owne large cages. See the Dapper Rat’s Grotto and their pages of other ideas for inspiration.

Bedding
For bedding, avoid cedar and pine wood shavings (see “The Problem with Cedar and Pine Shavings” for more information), but aspen (or other hardwood) shavings are fine. There are many other good pet bedding and litter options available these days that are very absorbent, not dusty and safe for small pets. Some are pelleted so might not be all that comfortable for rats to play and sleep in, so some people use the pelleted products (which are usually very absorbent) under a layer of softer loose bedding. For a sampling of the newer alternative pet bedding products, see “Top Ten Alternatives to Cedar and Pine.”


Food & Water

(Taken from: http://www.ratfanclub.org/caresheet.html)

            A bulk grain mix does not meet the nutritional needs of rats.  Food blocks or nuggets made specifically for rats are best.  If a fortified grain mix is fed, you must make sure your rats eat the vitamin/mineral nuggets in the mix.  About 20% of their diet should be a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables such as broccoli, kale, cooked sweet potato, and cooked beans.  Fluoride is toxic to rats so if your water is fluoridated, you must give your rats bottle water.  Chlorinated water also is not good.

 

Accessories

Rats need a water bottle, a food dish for fresh foods, and we recommend a hanging dispenser for dry foods.  Many rats will use a litter box if it is placed in the corner they choose for a toilet.  A concrete block, bird pedicure perch or similar toys in the cage will help keep their toenails short.  Rats also need sleeping quarters and enjoy boxes, igloos, the Super Pet Giant Roll-a-nest and hammocks.  While most rats will chew on a hammock and eventually destroy it, this rarely causes them any harm.


A Rat’s Diet

(Taken from: http://christinepurr.hubpages.com/hub/Pet-Rats-Are-Awesome-Rat-Care-Tips)

Rats in the wild will eat anything they can get their hands on. They’re foragers, thieves, and gluttons when the chance arises… so does this mean your pet rat can eat like a garbage disposal? NO! Domestic rats are different from their wild counterparts, and this is just one of the many differences. A pet rat’s main diet should be of a high quality rat lab blocks or pellet chew forumulated for their metabolism. Harlan Teklad is a great brand, as is Mazuri. Gerbil/Hamster food contains much higher calorie content. Avoid buying rat food which also says ‘gerbil/hamster’ food. A high caloric intake can lead your rattie to a future with tumors. Look for brands that list soy meal as the main ingredient – this food should be their staple food – available at ALL times, along with smaller helpings of veggies and fruits: peas, carrots, broccoli, apples, bananas, banana chips, and pears are recommended often. Avoid feeding rats caffeine, soda, coffee, chocolate, oranges, lemon, and avocado. If you’re unsure about a particular food, look it up. Always better to be safe than sorry. Rats also look forward to treats, so try incorporating the healthy stuff, along with yogies (rats LOVE ’em), into their daily diet. Remember: Rats can’t vomit, or burp, so nothing that can get stuck in their throat – like peanut butter, and nothing carbonated!

Make sure fresh water is available at all times. Water bottles that cling to cage wires or fit over a tank casing are essential as water dishes get beding/rat stuffs into them, getting dirty and contaminated fast. Rats do like playing in water, so having a water bottle and a water dish for play is another idea.


One Rat? Or Two? Buy pet rats in pairs!

(Taken from: http://www.discover-pet-rats.com/buy-pet-rats.html)

Don’t break this rule unless you have a LOT of time to spend with your small pet! When you can’t be with him, a rat is happiest with a rat buddy.

These intriguing critters are social animals, and as much as they thrive on attention from people, life is not complete without a friend of their own kind… Someone to clean out their ears (yum!), to snuggle with for warmth & to pass lonely days.

While you’re unavailable – during school or work time, or taking a snooze, or out munching pizza – they’re busily grooming or playing little rat wrestling games.

Pet rats are also smart critters which makes them prone to boredom and listlessness when isolated. An otherwise healthy rat can pine away when left alone, becoming depressed and vulnerable to getting sick.

With more than one rat, the burden isn’t as great on you to fill their waking hours. Your rats will entertain themselves and still readily include you in their friendship when you give them their daily dose of attention. Buy pet rats a buddy to make life more enjoyable for all!


Author’s Note:

My deepest sincerest apologizes to Shimi, this article should have been posted earlier today but I had overlooked it. My dear sweet Shimi, will you forgive me for the oversight?

I would like to thank Shimi for letting me use the pictures and for wanting to be interviewed. The pleasure was all mine. You can find Shimi on facebook here

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Small Pets : Meet Buddy Bunchkins

Meet Buddy Bunchkins

How old are you?

I will be the 3 years in March.

Where did your name come from?

I was so friendly that they say I is the Buddy, and the Bunchkins just came to Lil Momma.

How did you come to be with your family?

I was just the baby and Lil Momma was having the tough times in the life…she needed me and I needed her. We was the lucky to finds each others.

Do you have any cagemates or fursiblings you share the house with?

I has my homes to myself but I gets lots of free times where I runs likes the crazy arounds the house. I has the sidekick..his name is Tiki and he a good boy for the parakeet.

What is your favorite snack?

My favorites snack is the kale. The normal day for me is the love, cuddles, eatings and poopings. I loves to poop. I also love the attentions and playings.

Do you get to go outside when it’s warm?

I loves to lay in Lil Momma lap when it warm outsides. I does not likes it if it too hots – it can be the deadly for us piggies!

What is your favorite thing to do?

My favorite thing to do is the photo shoots with Lil Momma. I loves the camera. I also love to eat. It the way to my heart!

Do you have any advice for someone considering getting a guinea pig as a pet?

Yes, advice to gives the world is we piggies are the special. We are the sensitive, lovings, and loaded with the personality. We loves the attention from our Lil Mommas and Big Poppas in the life. We needs the good care and food so please treats us with lots of the loves, respects and gentles. We only wants to loves you and makes you happy! ….. Thank you for the interviews! I hopes I did the goods job. Sharing is the caring so YAH you can use the photos of me! I hopes we can be the fur-ends!! WHEEEK!!


Author’s Thanks: Thanks to Buddy for letting me use pictures of him with permission. You can find him on facebook, youtube or tumblr


Types of guinea pigs
(Taken From: http://www.cavymadness.com/care/index.html)
The humble guinea pig comes in a wonderful array of textures and colours in its coat. The wild cavy would have a short coat with an agouti coloring, meaning that it would light and dark bands of colour on each hair (much like our Titania at the top of the page). Breeding has wrought a whole assortment of beautiful coats – the guinea pig at right is a Satin, which means a shiny coat.

  • Abyssinian – One of the oldest breeds; a “bedhead” piggy with rosettes, which are cowlick-like hair patterns that radiate from a center point. Breed standards require the rosettes to be in a specific formation; winnie, our model Abyssinian, is not likely a “proper” Abby. The variations of the Abyssian coat can be pretty to downright hilarious.
  • American – The most common breed, and usually what comes to mind when someone mentions guinea pigs. The smooth coat lies flat against the body. The colouring on the coat can be solid or patterned; a white stripe around the middle is a common pattern, and is often referred to as a Dutch coat. Nutmeg (the American, at right) shows an imperfect white band, and you can also see the Agouti colouring in her coat, which is a solid colour with black ticking among the hairs.
  • Peruvian, Silkie, and Texel. – Peruvians often remind Star Trek geeks of Tribbles, for their hair grows forward from the face, often obscuring it to the point where front and back are not easily identifiable. The hair grows from a center part down the back, and requires extensive grooming (and trimming, for comfort). Peruvians’ hair can grow long enough to drape several inches from their body; show-quality Peruvians often spend their days in hair rollers! Silkies (also known as Shelties) are often confused with Peruvians, but their hair only grows back from the neck, and have softer hair. Texels (pictured below) appear to be a Silkie with a perm; their long hair grows in coarse ringlets.
  • Teddy they are result of a mutation, and has a dense, coarse coat that can be either soft (often referred to as a plush coat), or rough, often with kinks in the short hairs. Show-quality Teddies are rubbed from back to front to keep their hair poufy. Titania, our Teddy model at right, has a silver agouti pattern, which is the coat of wild guinea pigs.
  • Baldwins and Skinny Pigs have no coat, save for patches of hair on Skinny Pigs (Baldwins have no hair whatsoever). Their loose, thick skin needs additional care from sun and irritation. Despite their somewhat prehistoric appearance, their temperament is still docile and cuddly.

The white crested is a difficult breed, because the rosette of a Crested guinea pig must be centered between the ears, and no other rosettes can be present. Many guinea pigs will end up with a rosette on top of their head, which gives them this distinctive “stern” look.


Easy checks for a healthy guinea pig

(Taken from: http://www.omlet.us/guide/guinea+pigs/guinea+pig+health/health+checks/)

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Thankfully, guinea pigs are very hardy creatures, and if kept clean and fed well they rarely become sick. There are, however, some daily checks you should make, to ensure that your guinea pig stays well, it also helps you to notice any change very quickly, and visit your vet at the first sign of illness.

  • Eyes- The eyes should be clear and bright, with no sign of cloudiness or discharge. An eye that suddenly goes cloudy may mean that the guinea pig has got an ulcer as a result of a piece of hay in its eye. Any eye problems require urgent veterinary attention. Guinea pigs do normally secrete a milky discharge from their eyes, which precedes grooming, as they use it on their paws to groom themselves, if you see this you do not need to worry about it.
  • Nose –The nose should be clean, and as with the eyes, shouldn’t be runny. Any discharge or sneezing may suggest that your guinea pig has a cold.
  • The coat- The fur should be dense and clean. Any patches of hair loss or areas where the skin is red and sore may suggest that your guinea pig has mites. Watch him closely, is he scratching more than usual? Mites burrow under the skin and cause a distressing condition called mange, and the sooner you spot any problem, the sooner you can get it treated, something your guinea pig will certainly thank you for. Sometimes you may see little tiny nits walking on your guinea pigs fur, these are hay mites, which are harmless and a simple shampoo will get rid of them for you.
  • The feet –Check the nails, and never let them get too long. Guinea pigs have no fur on the bottom of their feet, so check the bottom of their feet regularly for any sign of soreness. If their feet are sore their bedding wants to be as soft as possible, wood shavings and soft meadow hay is best.
  • The bottom –Yes, this bit needs checking too… The whole area should be clean and dry. If the guinea pig is wet and smelly between its legs it may have a urine infection. Old boys may also get a problem where their poo gets stuck, and they are no longer able to eat the sticky caecotrophs as they should. Your vet will be able to show you how to help them.

Diet

(Taken from: http://www.mchumane.org/GuineaPigCare.shtml)

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Guinea pigs are enthusiastic drinkers. Be sure to purchase a large water bottle so they will not run out of water during the day. Be sure to change water daily.
Guinea pigs have a three-part diet.

  1. Give as much timothy hay as they want. This provides necessary fiber and keeps their teeth ground down. Avoid alfalfa hay because it is too rich. 
  2. Commercial guinea pig pellets—give about 1/3 cup per day and leave out so they can graze. Pellet mixes should contain vitamin C and not be too loaded with “treats.” Check the expiration date—the vitamin C breaks down if you keep the pellets too long. 
  3.  Fresh veggies and maybe a little fruit every day. Avoid iceberg lettuce; all other lettuce is fine. So are carrots, parsley, broccoli, collard greens, turnips and parsnip. Give fruits in moderation such as apples, cantaloupe, raisins, grapes and bananas You can buy treats, but give sparingly. Avoid the ones with high sugar or fat content such as yogurt drops.

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Author’s Note: Many thanks to Buddy Bunchkins for answering the questions and letting me use his pictures for the blog. Pictures were used with permission. Please visit him on his facebook page.
 
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Small Pets: Meet Picaroon the Lovebird

Meet Picaroon the Lovebird

How old are you?

My vet believes I’m about 3 years old. My human mom says my “gotcha” day is October 3rd since that’s when she got me (celebrated like a birthday).

How did you come into your parents life?

I sort of “flew” into my human mom’s life. Her dog of 8 years had finally lost his battle to cancer the same day I was found “lost” in a neighbor’s yard. Here’s how it’s told on my Facebook page.
“One day I was flying around free when I saw a sad dog angel sitting outside a fenced yard. I was curious and flew down to talk to him (I’m not afraid of dogs or cats). He told me he was sad because he had to leave his human mom and he was worried about her. He had kept her happy and safe for 8 years and didn’t want to leave her side. He explained he couldn’t cross the rainbow bridge til he knew she was safe. I told him that every animal deserves to cross the rainbow bridge. If he needed someone to watch over his human, then why not me? The dog angel smiled and wagged his tail before crossing over the rainbow bridge.”

What type of lovebird are you?

I’m a Peach faced lovebird, but a special mutation called a “red opaline”. This means my whole head is red instead of just my face and my body is a lighter green than a regular peach face.

Do you have a cagemate? I remember reading that lovebirds need to be kept in pairs, does your mom know if this is true?

I don’t have a cage mate, it’s actually a myth that lovebirds need to be kept as pairs. We are, however very smart and (like all birds big and small) seek companionship and entertainment to enrich our lives. Most lovebirds do tend to bond to ONE person or bird, but I love lots of people! Maybe that’s why I make such a good therapy bird!

Are there any other birds in the house with you?

There’s no other birds in the house with me, but there is a dog and a cat. The cat is pretty sure I’m tasty looking, but the dog is very protective of me and won’t let the cat near my cage. It’s like having my own body guard!

Do you know any tricks?

I’m very good at learning tricks. Right now I can retrieve some objects and put them in designated spots. I can go through tunnels. I ring a bell with my foot. I’m also learning to play Blackjack! Right now I just flip over the cards that are face down, but I hope to learn to deal them out soon! So far it’s only taken me about 5 minutes to get the basics of the tricks. I love to work for millet. It’s my favorite!

Does your mom have any advice for owning a lovebird?

All of us birds need a proper diet and vet care like any other pet. I think sometimes humans forget that we’re just as important as, and live as long or LONGER than, a dog or cat. We’re very smart and need stimulation everyday. It’s sad and lonely being locked up in a cage all the time. With someone that has time for a bird, we can be great pets, but also very messy and noisy, hehe.

Does your mom have any websites or information about lovebirds that she is interested in sharing?

My mom says there’s lot of great bird rescues out there and great birds looking for homes! Here’s a list she found of ones all over the world! http://www.avianwelfare.org/links/organizations.htm

Is there anything else you want to share about yourself?

On top of being a smart and silly lovebird, I also do great work as a therapy pet with a group called Furry Friends Pet Assisted Therapy Services. We go around to different places like nursing homes, hospitals and libraries to visit people and make them smile. I think it’s the best job in the world! Right now I visit two nursing homes and the head and neck trauma unit at the hospital here.


lovebird3

Things to Consider Before Purchasing
(Taken from: http://www.birdguys.com/pet-bird-articles-love-bird.html)

Despite the misconception, love birds can be kept as pets as single birds. If you choose to purchase only one, be prepared to give it a lot of attention or it will become bored, mischievous and quite troublesome. If you don’t have the time to spend with your love bird, then buy it a mate keeping in mind that the affection that would have been for you will now be focused on the partner.

There are numerous types of love birds- some very rare and others quite common. The easiest type of love bird to keep as a pet is the Peachfaced Love Bird.

Love birds are not talking parrots though they can be quite vocal. They are also not that cuddly though this varies from bird to bird as love birds are one species with very strong individual personalities. They can become very attached to their humans, especially when they are kept as single birds. There is some evidence that males are less jealous and territorial than females, so this too must be kept in mind when purchasing your love bird.

When looking for a bird, be sure that you choose a hand raised bird that is very comfortable with human contact. Love birds not constantly handled easily become skittish and nippy. Even a hand raised bird that is later left alone in its cage can revert back and be very difficult to re-train.

Love birds live for up to 20 years so in most cases they will be your pet for life. They cannot be housed with any other species of bird as they can be aggressive and even kill other birds.

Types of Lovebirds:
(Taken from: http://www.birdtricks.com/caring-for-lovebirds.html)
There are nine species of lovebirds; eight of the nine can be purchased as pets. The eight species available as pets are:

1. Abyssinian Lovebirds
2. Red-faced Lovebirds
3. Nyasa Lovebirds (Lilian’s)
4. Black-cheeked or Black-faced
5. Fischer’s Lovebirds
6. Masked Lovebirds (Black-masked or
7. Madagascar Lovebirds Yellow-collared Greyheaded
8. Peach-faced or Rosy-faced

Here’s a neat little chart I found at http://birdboard.com/forum/topic/245843-agapornis-types/, please click on the image to enlarge

lovebirdtypesyp5

HOUSING:
(Taken from:http://www.africanlovebirdsociety.com/lovebirdcare/)
Lovebirds need a cage which has at least two places to perch, with room to fly from one to the other. A cage with a horizontal measurement of 24 inches to 30 inches is appropriate. Anything less than 18 inches would be too small and restrictive. Perches need to be a size which is comfortable for the birds feet, not too small or too large.

It is convenient to have two sets of food and water dishes so that they can be alternated and washed each day. Water must be changed and the dish washed every day. Food dishes can stay longer, with food added each day if preferred, but food dishes do need to be completely emptied, washed, and refilled at least once a week. Caution — food dishes sometimes look full, but only have seed hulls and waste in them, with no good food for the bird!

Lovebirds need activity in the cage to stay healthy. Swings, ladders, and interlocked bamboo rings are favorites. The 6 inch cockatiel swings are the best size for lovebirds. Pet departments or stores have many choices in toys for pet birds. Avoid small toys designed for parakeets and budgies. Lovebirds have very strong beaks for chewing and can break these items. Toys designed for cockatiels and small parrots are the right size for lovebirds.

FOOD:
(Taken from:http://www.squidoo.com/lovebirdcare)
All of our birds are on a mix of roudybush pellets & a good seed mix. Plus lots of fresh foods daily. We start our birds out on fresh food as soon as we can so the birds are willing to accept a wide varitty of foods.

Lovebirds need the same size food as cockatiels and other small parrots. If you plan to feed your birds a seed mix, choose one which contains nutritional supplements to assure a “total diet” to keep birds healthy. Other less expensive seed mixes, or seeds sold for wild birds will not have all the nutrients your bird needs, although they can also be used if you provide lots of fresh foods. I do not recommend a seed only diet. Note –pellet diets like Kaytee Exact or Pretty Bird are nutritionally complete and very good for birds, though some birds will be slow to accept them. Birds that are used to seeds will need to be given adequate time to adjust and learn to eat a pellet-only diet.

Try to give fresh foods at least 3 or 4 times a week. Our birds love apples, broccoli, cabbage, kale, carrots, parsley, and spinach. You can try other vegetables and fruits, too. Our birds also like corn tortillas (not salted tortilla chips) and whole grain breads. Don’t feed anything with high fat, salt, or sugar content, like donuts, cake, or cookies. Caution — remember to remove any uneaten fresh food from the cage before it spoils.

Try to keep cuttlebone in the cage all the time to provide calcium for the bird. Millet sprays, sometimes called “seed trees” are a good treat.

lovebird1
Activities:
(taken from: http://www.mspca.org/programs/pet-owner-resources/pet-owner-guides/bird-care-adoption/bird-care-guide-lovebirds.pdf)
Lovebirds awaken with the dawn, get a drink, eat, and then immediately begin to chirp. They will generally quiet
down by mid-morning and resume their chirping in the late afternoon.
These birds are very active, flying and climbing about, gnawing on wood or chew toys, and grooming themselves
all day. They love toys of all kinds such as seed bells, swings, ladders, mirrors, shiny objects, and wooden
gnaws. They are natural paper shredders, so be sure to provide them with dye-free paper to play with. A lovebird
outside of its cage will not stay on its playpen since they like to explore. Be sure that any room that your lovebird
is playing in is free from open doors or windows, water containers such as drinking glasses and toilets/sinks and
that they are never near a hot stove. You should always monitor your bird when it is out of its cage!


Author’s Note:

Thanks to Picaroon and her mom for answering the questions, you can find her on Facebook under Picaroon the Lovebird. Pictures were used with permission. This article is a part of the Small Pets theme. 

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Farm Pets: Meet Pony, Luna & Thunder

goatxing

What are the goats names?

Thunder, Pony and Luna.

How did they come into your life?

My mom heard from a friend that there were 3 goats on the news who have been wandering around an apartment complex for about 4 months, and animal control was just then trying to catch them. My mom called animal control telling them we could foster the goats if no one else offered to keep them. A few days later at 11:00 we get an unexpected call from AC telling us they were bringing the goats to our house! One of the goats was killed by dogs, so only two goats arrived at our house, a shy male and a pregnant female. They were both skinny and very shy.

We had the two goats for only about 5 days  until male goat died of unknown causes. We were very worried about the female goat, who we named Pony. After the male goat died, she began to walk up to us and let us pet her. We were surprised at how friendly she was!
A few months later she gave birth to two female kids on a full moon while it was thundering. (The July moon is called the ‘Thunder moon’) So, we named the brown kid Thunder, and the pure white kid Luna.
The kids grew up quickly, and learned how to misbehave from their mother. One day I was outside filming my dog doing agility when I suddenly heard a banging noise outside by the driveway… The goats had escaped through a small gap in the fence and were jumping on my dad’s car!! I was so lucky he was out of state with the reserves. (I can’t remember the exact cost of damage they did, but I can find out) I recorded the goats jumping on the car and made a YouTube video.

How did you end up getting featured on Animal Planet?

The local news did an update about our goats, and featured my video of them on the car. This is the original video of the goats jumping on the car

I also received a message from a producer of the show ‘Bad Dog’ wanting to use my goat video on their show.  They interviewed my family and filmed the goats misbehaving. (The goats kept trying to run off/eat their camera equipment!) The episode they were on is called Home Wreckers.

Did you train them? (are goats trainable?)

I train my dogs and my foster Beagles to do tricks and agility, so I have attempted to training our goats, and I failed miserably. Our goats are crazy about food… I tried teaching Luna to jump over a hurdle, and she was actually getting the hang of it until Pony and Thunder noticed I had food. Here is a YouTube video of me trying to train the goats- 

We still have Pony, Luna, and Thunder, but my dad hasn’t has much patience with them lately. He doesn’t have to worry about them jumping on our car now since they’ve gained weight. :p My mom and I absolutely love the goats, they have such unique personalities, and although them being stubborn is usually a pain, it can be cute at times. While many goats escape out of their yard to get to grass, our goats escape and walk up to our house to find us. They are sweet, naughty goats who just want our attention and love.

goatxing2

Goat Information/Care:

(Taken from: http://www.goatworld.com/articles/goatsaspets/petgoats.shtml)
Basic terminology

Learn the lingo:

  • Kid – a goat less than 6 months of age
  • Doeling – immature female goat
  • Buckling – immature male goat
  • Doe – mature female goat
  • Buck – mature male goat
  • Wether – castrated male goat
  • Chevon – goat meat
  • Mohair – the fiber from Angora goats
  • Cashmere – the fiber from Cashmere or Pashmina goats

Fundamental Facts

  • Lifespan: 10-12 years, may live as long as 30 years
  • Productive life of a dairy or fiber goat: 7 years
  • Space required per goat: 15ft2 indoor and 200ft2 outdoors
  • Breeding age: females – 8 to 10 months
  • Gestation period: 150 days
  • Number of kids per gestation: 1 – 2

Behavior Bonuses

  • goats are social animals and enjoy the company of other goats or farm animals.
  • are notorious for undoing simple gate closures.
  • tend to respect electric fencing.
  • investigate everything in their environment with their mouths(!) including paperwork, clothing, jewelry, etc.
  • can be trained to lead, come when called, stand for shearing & milking.
  • are avid climbers!
  • may chew off the bark around trees.
  • Bucks may exhibit active fighting behavior – watch out!

goat4


(Taken from: http://www.goatworld.com/articles/goatsaspets/goatsaspets.shtml)

Goats as Pets

A goat as a pet primarily means that you are willing to let it be the type of animal it is. An outside animal that you cannot necessarily have sleeping on the bed with you each night (though some report that their children make a practice of this). A goat basically needs the outdoors to be within it’s natural elements. Having a goat indoors can pose many problems, to include that your favorite piece a furniture may become a “rip and chew” party. Of course cats and dogs are reknowned for this as well but they appear to be a bit more trainable to discourage that type of undesireable behavior.

For the most part (at least in my opinion), a goat has basically only a few things on their mind; eat, drink water, sleep, play, fight and reproduce. And taking up the greatest percentage of that time is eating. Most goats will eat several times a day, stopping only to rest and letting their rumens process the food. An hour later they are back at it again. So to have an “outdoor pet” of this type, you must be willing and able to provide the proper food and nutrition at all times for your goat just as you would any other pet. And the water is important as well. Never deprive a goat of water. One must either have an ample field or pasture for the goat(s) to browse in addition to supplementing the diet with nutrients not readily available such as hay and alfalfa.


goat3

(taken from:http://www.wisegeek.org/do-goats-make-good-pets.htm)

Do Goats Make Good Pets?

Goats are herd animals, which means that you should plan on keeping at least two if you want them as pets. In addition, they need a roomy space, and do not thrive in restricted living conditions. Because of their natural curiosity, the space also needs to be rich with stimuli, and you should be prepared to put together a varied and interesting diet for the goats to keep them out of trouble. Like other livestock kept as pets, you may experience difficulties finding someone to care for your goats if you go on a trip, let alone tracking down a veterinarian to provide routine care, if you live in a non-rural area. In addition, some municipalities consider these animals to be livestock, and you may not even legally be allowed to keep them in a residential area.

Although they are hardy and adventurous, goats are not self-sufficient. They require daily attention including food, play, and water. If you are keeping them as milk producing animals in addition to pets, they will need to be milked one to two times a day to prevent mastitis, a painful infection of the udders. Goats can also get aggressive if they are bored or sense that you are afraid, which can result in a painful butting. Billy goats, in particular, can be obnoxious if unaltered, and both billies and nannies can emit strong hormonal odors.

On the other hand, goats are loving, affectionate, loyal animals, and many people deeply enjoy keeping them as pets. For people with more limited space, pygmy goats might be an excellent consideration, as they do not get nearly as large as some breeds, such as Swiss Alpines and Nubians. The native intelligent and intensely curious animals are fun to have around, if you are willing to put in the work.


(Taken from: http://exoticpets.about.com/cs/goats/a/goatsaspets.htm)

More on Goats as Pets: 

You should also find a veterinarian who will treat your goats. They are susceptible to a number of infectious and chronic diseases. Vaccinations and routine preventative treatment for worms and other parasites are necessary and you should consult a vet for what is required in your area. It is a good idea to review some of the common problems. Health Topics is an collection of articles from the National Pygmy Goat Association about common health concerns of pygmy goats.
Be sure your goats are obtained from a conscientious breeder that practices good preventative medicine. If possible it is always best to visit the breeder so you can see in what sort of conditions their goats are kept.

Most importantly, you will want to think about whether you can meet the needs of a goat and whether goats will meet your expectations as a pet a goat before committing to goats as pets.


goat2

(Taken from: http://fiascofarm.com/goats/getting-your-goat.htm#taming)

Goats for Pets: Friendly Goats vs. “Taming” “Wild” Goats:

If you want goats for pets, and you want to approach and touch these goats, you need to make sure the goats are approachable and touchable BEFORE you get them. Do not get goats “wild” thinking you will “tame” them later; it can be next to impossible to “tame” a “wild” goat, though, it is not totally impossible in some cases.

There is no simple way to “tame” a goat. To win the goat over will take a lot of patience, caring, love and food treats such as corn chips or raisins. Try not to chase the goat, because, being prey animals, this will only make them more scared of you. Let them get used to their new home first. Once used to their new home, you might try taking advantage of their natural curiosity and just sit there, in a non-threatening peaceful fashion and let them approach you. If, and when, they do approach you, offer a corn chip. Go slowly and patiently and don’t push the issue to fast. The younger the goat is, the easier it will be to convince them that you are their friend, but a young age is no guarantee they will be tamable. The older they are, the more patience you will need.

You can skip a lot of frustration by starting with friendly goats that are already used to people to begin with.


(Taken from: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/raising-goats-as-pets.html)

Choosing the Goat Type

There are several types of goat breeds, for you to choose from. Each breed has its own advantages and it depends on personal choice, which breed of goat to get. Just make sure you follow the above-mentioned pointers while choosing them, such as friendly, debudded, doe-wether combination, etc. There are the Nubians (least naturally healthy and proud temperament), Oberhaslis, LaManchas (wonderful temperament), pygmy goats (docile, small and faithful companions), Nigerian dwarf goat, etc.

Raising goats as pets and raising goats for profit are two different things. While getting goats as pets, one can buy the dairy goats, however, it’s not necessary to milk them. Moreover, as with any other pet, goats also need to have a physical examination, carried out by a veterinarian, once a year and need to be vaccinated. Watch out for attacks by stray dogs and other animals, as goats are fairly vulnerable to attacks. Goats will supply you with lovely milk, however, don’t get a goat for the sole purpose of getting free milk. Get them if you love them and want to take care of them and the milk supplies, cleared plantation, etc. will all be additional benefits you receive, for taking care of these endearing animals


goat1

(Taken from: http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/NewsEvents/FDAVeterinarianNewsletter/ucm133649.htm)

Billies or Nannies?

Another issue to consider when deciding to buy a goat is gender. Uncastrated male goats produce a strong, pungent and, to most people, unpleasant odor. Male goats, or bucks, also tend to be aggressive. Both of these less-than-desirable attributes are intensified during the breeding season, which for most goats runs from September to December or January. Buck goats can be castrated as early as 7 days old, which generally mitigates both these problems. Female goats, called does, do not have a noticeable odor, unless they are kept in unclean conditions. Generally speaking, does are even-tempered and affectionate when hand raised. However, I must again point out that goats are highly individual in their personalities. Female goats need only be bred if their milk is desired.

Whether you choose a male or female goat, it should be dehorned. Some strains of goats are born without horns, or polled. Horn buds appear a few days after birth in goats that are not polled. The easiest and most humane time to remove horns is during the first two-weeks of life. However, goats can be dehorned as adults. At any time, a veterinarian should perform this procedure.


Author’s Notes: Many thanks to Miss Molly for letting me interview her about her goats.. the videos were quite amusing. She has a blog too where she mainly talks about her dogs and occasionally mentions her goats.

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Small Pets: Meet Murtle the Turtle

Meet Murtle the Turtle

How old are you?

I  am 3 years of age.

Where did your name come from?

Mom had heard the name “Murtle” somewhere on TV. She thought it was a cute name, and when she was naming me, she thought it would be perfect.

What kind of turtle are you?

I am a Cumberland Slider Water Turtle.

Do you have any siblings that you share a tank with or the house with?

I do not share my tank with anyone, but I do share my house with a few others. There are four kitties: Lester, Cruizer, Hazel, and Zeke. There is a doggie: Buddy. And in another tank, there are 2 regular fish, and a bottom feeder fish called a picasimus.

What is a typical day like for you?

I wake up, and I get onto my big rock and sunbathe. I swim around my tank most of the time, then go back to sunbathing. I get fed at night time, and then sleep in the water with my nose sticking out so I can breathe.

Where do you go when your tank is cleaned?

I have a large portable tub filled with water that I can swim in as my tank is being cleaned.

Do you get to venture out of your tank (go outside)?

I do not venture out of my tank. I usually need a place with lots of water to swim around in. I can walk on land, but it is difficult for me to do so.

What advice do you have for someone looking to get a turtle?

I suggest saving one from a pet store, as I was. Never save one from the wild, they need to live on their own, as they also might carry a disease. If you pick a water turtle, be sure to have a very large tank, so they have enough room to swim around. Do not fill the tank up all the way, and be sure to have a sunbathing lamp and a rock for them to get up on. Feed them water turtle food, which should also be at the pet store. They like other things like lettuce and cucumber, just be sure not to overfeed them with it!

Anything else you would like to share?

If you have a turtle, be sure to give them lots of love and care! They are very fun animals to have.


Info on Cumberland Slider Water Turtles

(taken from : http://www.theturtlesource.com/i.asp?id=100200355)

Cumberland Sliders are a rare cousin of the Red Eared Slider, found only in the upper Cumberland and Tennessee rivers in Virginia, Kentucky and Northern Alabama. Lighter and more yellow in color than most Red Eared Sliders, and lacking the“red ear”Cumberland Sliders are similar in husbandry requirements, and in active personalities. Their care and description are essentially the same as the Red Eared Slider and follows:

The most common turtle available the world over, Red Eared Sliders make excellent starter turtles, and adults will brighten up outdoor ponds in nearly all US temperature zones. They do well in tanks, water and land setups, and when kept with most other species.

They bask frequently, and will even pile on top of each other for the best sunning position. In community set ups, it’s often the red ears example that quickens other species taming down. Red ears are omnivorous, eating pellets, most greens, insects, fish, mollusks etc.

Feeding your slider:

(taken form: http://www.reptilecity.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=reptiles&Product_Code=CS2&Category_Code=TURTLES)

Your slider will require a special diet in order to insure proper health. There are a number of commercially available diets, which are made specifically for aquatic turtles, and baby aquatic turtles. The slider is omnivorous and eats a varied diet. It is important when feeding your turtle to carefully move them into a separate feeding container, which also contains water (halfway as deep as your turtle is tall). This allows your turtle to skim and feed off of the surface of the water, as it has evolved to do. It is important to do so in a separate container, to keep the habitat from becoming too acidic. There are a number of theories about how much a turtle should eat. Obesity can become a problem with all reptiles, and likewise can be fatal with all reptiles. If not fed a premixed diet, meats should make up no more than 35-45% of its diet. A turtle is full when it slows down its feeding response. Some experts claim that a turtle should be allowed to eat for only 10 minutes, while others say 1 hour. This theory is a broad guideline, as each specimen is different. Some animals eat faster than others. Monitoring the rate at which the turtle is consuming the food is a safer and more practical approach to judging when it has received enough. While commercial turtle foods are the best, and most convenient, some owners prefer to give their turtles more fresh ingredients to comprise their diets. It is important to properly educate yourself in your turtle’s dietary needs before attempting to regulate their captive diet. Meats and staple protein sources should only be given every 2-3 days. Never feed your turtle raw or uncooked chicken, as this can cause salmonella contamination. Shrimp and krill are packaged for commercially available turtle foods and treats. Various feeder worms, fish, greens, vegetables, and fruits are suitable. Making greens available daily will also provide for healthy turtle habits between protein feedings. Dandelion, romaine lettuce, collard greens, mustard greens, and turnip greens are normally enjoyed by most aquatic turtles.

With proper nutrition aquatic turtles should seldom need supplements. During development, however, aquatic turtle may develop calcium deficiencies. If not prevented this can lead to soft shells, other deformities, and even death. Calcium supplements specifically formulated for the needs of reptiles are available low prices. To administer these supplements, which are in powder form, simply dust the food source in the calcium powder. Do this once to twice a week, and provide the turtle with a secondary calcium source. Turtle will readily chew on cuddle bones, which also are available in most pet retailers. On very rare occasions your turtle may need additional supplement to help it-overcome illness or deficiency. Just as with any other pet, having a good relation with a veterinarian, specializing in herpofauna medicine is advantageous. Not only can a veterinarian assist with medical concerns, but they can also provide answers to questions that you may have regarding captive turtle care.

Turtle Care:

(taken from: http://www.austinsturtlepage.com/Care/care.htm)

Turtles are ectothermic, what used to be called “cold blooded”. This means that they do not generate their own body heat. They rely on the sun to get warm and the water to cool down. You will need to ensure that their air temps, basking temps and water temps are within the acceptable guidelines. This will not only ensure their health, but will give them a more natural feeling about their habitat and allow them to act naturally.

         Turtles are not like dogs and cats – they do NOT enjoy going for walks and being handled. It is key to remember this as some keepers allow their turtles to walk around on their floors, they take them outside for walks or they hold them and carry them around and some even take them to the pet stores as they would their dog. This is not something your turtle will enjoy, nor is it good for them. This causes unnecessary stress and could will eventually lead to health problems. Leave them in their habitat and watch them swim, eat, bask and move about in their home which you have provided. They will be much happier and so will you.

I also found a great website that talks more about turtles, their habitat and food.

http://www.austinsturtlepage.com/Care/care.htm

Also there are restrictions in certain states for having turtle as far as size, type, etc. You may want to check with friends, family or online depending on where you live.

There is a difference between a cumberland slider and a red eared slider.

Posted Image

Above is a cumberland slider and below a red eared slider

Other turtle blogs:

http://2punkdogs.blogspot.com/

http://kamekroten.wordpress.com/


Author’s Thanks: Many thanks to  Murtle for letting me do the interview, check out Murtle on facebook. Pictures were used with permission.

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Small Pets: Meet John the Hamster

Meet John the Hamster

How old are you?

I am nearly 1 ½ years old, my birthday is August 17th. My Mummy chose me a birthday when they estimated my age at the rescue that took me in.

Where did your name come from?

My Mum likes animals having names that are different, rather than the cliché of calling a white pet “snowball” or similar. And it’s fun for an animal to have a more human name. John came from a college teacher she had that was inspirational for her, and she just liked the name. Think it suits me.

How did you come to live with your mum?

I was taken in along with some other hamsters by Furry Friends Animal Rescue (Surrey, UK) on Christmas Eve 2011. My Mum saw us and hadn’t had a pet for years so decided she wanted to give one of us a home. She chose me because I was older and she thought the baby hammies would find homes quicker. So on February 26th I was adopted and came to live with her.

Are people scared of you because you look different?

Some people are, and it makes me sad. I often get comments like “pet of the devil; evil hamster with those red eyes”. My Mum thinks my red eyes are beautiful, we don’t understand why certain coloured animals are unpopular.

Are you a true albino hamster?

No I’m not a true albino, if you see my pictures my ears have dark speckles.

Do you have any cage mates or other furry family members you live with?

Not a cage mate as Syrians meant to live alone, but I have a brother called Whiskey who lives in the same room as me. He was also adopted from Furry Friends, but much later than I was and he’s older than me. But because I was here first I call myself the big brother 😉

What are you favorite things to do and/or eat?

I love running in my ball, and getting to explore different places in the house. My absolute favourite food is peas! Can’t get enough of them.

Have you ever escaped your cage?

Not escaped my cage but I did escape my ball once. It was when human Grandma was looking after me while my Mum was away. My Mum told her to leave my cage open on the floor and I’d find my way back, which I did. Found asleep in my cage the next morning

Do you get to go outside of you cage often?

Oh yes every day for quite a while. Mum waits til I wake up in the evening then I get to come out and play.

Do you know any tricks?

I don’t yet, but my Mum is planning to try and teach me some. She thinks I won’t manage it because I’m too stubborn and independent!

Does your mum have any advice for owning hamsters?

Yes, hamsters require more care than most people think and a lot of websites/videos you see giving hamster care are often at least partly incorrect. Hamsters need a large cage with plenty of space and plenty of toys for enrichment so that they don’t get bored. Paper based bedding is best, people often use sawdust which can be dusty and isn’t good for them. They need wooden objects in their cage that they can chew on, as their teeth constantly grow so they need to gnaw on things to keep them a good length. A wheel or ball on a stand (John has a ball on a stand, he didn’t understand how to use a wheel!) is good for them to exercise. It is also good for them to have small amounts of fruit and veg in their diet.

Is there anything you or your mum would like to add?

Yes, we are very pro rescue and would always advise getting a pet from a local rescue rather than a shop or breeder. A lot of people don’t realise that you can get hamsters, or in fact most kinds of pets, in rescue. John uses his Facebook page to fundraise and promote animal rescue. There are so many out there in various rescues that need good homes, we would like to say please choose rescue


www.furryfriendsrescue.co.uk
https://www.facebook.com/animalrescue2


hamster2

About Syrian Hamsters:
(taken from:http://exoticpets.about.com/od/hamsters/p/syrianhams.htm)

Latin name:Mesocricetus auratus
Other Names: golden hamster, teddy bear hamster (long haired), black bear hamster, European black bear hamster, fancy hamster, standard hamster, and the hairless variety is sometimes called the alien hamster.

Expected Life Span:

2.5 – 3 years.
Size:

Syrian hamsters usually about 6-7 inches (15-17 cm) in length.
Behavior and Temperament:

Syrian hamsters are nocturnal but may wake for short times during the day. They generally quite good-natured and easy to tame and handle. They have a reputation for being nippy, but that is usually due to lack of handling or trying to handle them during the day when they would rather be sleeping.
Social Characteristics:

Syrian hamsters are solitary and territorial. They should always be housed alone. They may tolerate other hamsters when they are young, but by the time they reach 8-10 weeks old, territorial fighting usually starts and may be fatal.
Appearance:

The natural coloration of syrian hamsters is golden brown (technically agouti, meaning the hairs are banded with darker and lighter colors), with a lighter belly. They also have a dark marking on the cheeks, extending from the jaw up toward the ear. Through selective breeding there are a number of variations in colors and patterns.

Hamsters as Pets

(Taken from:http://pethamstercare.com/)
Hamsters have no detectable body odor. They are inexpensive to buy and outside of cage cleaning and proper food are relatively maintenance free.  These adorable rodents are subject to very few health problems and diseases. Since they sleep during the day, they are active at night when most people are home. A hamster can be a wonderful family member and an excellent pet.

hamster4
Are Hamsters right for you?
(Taken from:http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/hamsters/tips/hamsters_as_pets.html)

What type of schedule do you keep?
Hamsters are nocturnal, which means they will be most active at night. If you’re a light sleeper who is disturbed by the smallest of sounds, a squeaky wheel at 2 a.m. might drive you to distraction. If you work a graveyard shift and are looking for furry companionship during the day, hamsters are bound to frustrate your expectations. But if you’re a night owl, a hamster could be the perfect companion when you’re burning the midnight oil!

Do you have children?
Because of their small size, hamsters are often purchased as pets for children who want to play with them during the day. However, just when it’s time for your child to go to sleep, it’s time for a hamster to wake up. A hamster awakened suddenly from a nap during the day may bite. Therefore, hamsters need to be handled only with adult supervision by children under 8 years old.

Hamsters require a gentle touch and may be easily startled by sudden movement and loud noises. The motor skills of children under 8 are usually not refined enough to make a hamster feel comfortable being handled. Young children who lack fine motor control and self-restraint may inadvertently drop a hamster, squeeze him, or scare him into biting.

Young children are also at greater risk for zoonotic diseases (diseases that are can be passed from animals to humans) because of their undeveloped immune systems and because of their tendency for close contact with pets without proper hand-washing. Children under 5 are particularly vulnerable to the effects of salmonella, a type of intestinal bacteria that hamsters can carry. Although rare, hamsters have been known to carry Lymphocytic choriomeningitis, a virus that can seriously sicken young children

hamster3
Hamster Bedding:
(taken from: http://pethamstercare.com/)
Avoid cedar and pine wood chips; aspen is a safer option. You can also use many of the newer paper or other fiber-based beddings.
Hamsters love a cozy nest for napping. However, the cotton nesting materials found a pet stores is unecessary (and can cause problems if eater or wrapped around toes). Shredded toilet paper or facial tissues are an excellent nesting material (and economical too).

hamster1

Chores:
(taken from: http://www.healthypet.com/KidsKlub/CareSheetArticle.aspx?title=Caring_for_Your_Hamster)
Daily

  • Feed your hamster a pellet diet as directed by the label. Note: a seed and nut diet is not a complete diet; only a pellet diet is complete.
  • Because hamsters are nocturnal, it might be best to feed them in the evening so that they eat when their food is fresh
  • Supplement the diet with fresh vegetables such as leafy greens, lettuce, spinach or carrots (avoid high sugar fruit)
  • Clean up leftovers before they spoil
  • Be sure their water bottle is filled with fresh water
  • Scoop up soiled bedding each day

IMPORTANT NOTE: Hamsters have high metabolisms and can become hypoglycemic if they do not eat every day. If your hamster appears tired or isn’t eating well, go to your veterinarian immediately.

Weekly
Completely clean the aquarium once a week with hot, soapy water.

Yearly

Take your hamster to your veterinarian at least once a year, though twice a year is preferable because their life spans aren’t very long. Your veterinarian can also cut their nails at that time for you if you aren’t comfortable doing it.

Tip: Let your child know that hamsters may only live for a few years so that they aren’t overly shocked when their pet dies.

For More Hamster Information & Care Tips:

http://www.hamsterific.com/
http://www.petco.com/assets/caresheets/smallanimals/Hamster.pdf

http://www.wikihow.com/Care-for-a-Hamster

kiahamster

And hamsters are also famous…they are the stars of their own Kia commericals


Author’s Note: Many thanks to John and his mum for letting me interview him. Pictures of John the Hamster were used with permission.  Please visit him on his facebook page John the Hamster.

This post is a part of the small pets theme. Please click on the badge below for more interviews/articles on small pets.
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Small Pets: Meet Pete the rescued Betta

This interview is dedicated to the loving memory of Pete. You have touched so many lives, swim free little one.

May I ask how old are you?

Mama says im just under a year old.

Where did you get your name from?

The name pete just came out of nowhere. Its nothing special but thats all mama could see me as.

How did you end up with your mama?

Well Mama says shes nto quite sure how it happened. She was at walmart getting fish filter & happened to see me. To her it looked as if i was dumped into another bettas bowl & we started fighting. I was the weaker of the two & was on the verge of giving up. She went everywhere to the front desk looking for some one to help her get me out of there. One employee had happened to see her crying over us & he pulled me out of the other bettas bowl & put me in my own. (Mama made him cry). She tried to call everybody she knew to get to take me but nobody answered their phones. She wasnt just gonna leave me. (at the time one set of her fish just had babies & she had 3 tanks already set up) So she brought me home, I spent a few days with my Dad to be (they are getting married in august). But mama just couldnt leave me there not under her care.

Do you have any furry, finned or feather siblings?

Yes. I have 5 fishy siblings in a ten gallon tank & 9 fishy siblings in a 20 gal tank. Not to mention mamas parents 4 kittys Cream,Cheeto,Grady & Midnight.

What’s you life like now?

Life is now wonderful! Mama loves to play games with me & I get a whole five gallon tank to my self! Plus some snails dont forget about my snail friends ^-^

What advice would you give to someone thinking of having a betta fish in their home?

Well we like intereaction so plenty of facetime & bloodworms we love bloodworms.

DEDICATION:

This article is dedicated to Pete, who sadly left us to swim over the bridge on May 9, 2013. Swim free little guy. It was a pleasure to interview you and get to know you. Please know you will never be forgotten and you will always be loved.

betta2

Betta Fish Care
I found a really great page with illustrations on care, choosing the right one, etc. Go here.

Betta Fish Care Tips:
(Taken from: http://bettafishcare.us/)

  • Always keep male betta’s away from other males as they are very aggressive and will fight to protect their territory.
  • When adding a new betta to the tank make sure that the water is at the correct temperature before adding. Otherwise you may shock him when placing him in the tank.
  • Keep a good fitting lid on your tank as betta fish can jump and if you don’t you may find that they have jumped right out of the aquarium..
  • Don’t over feed as that can lead to many problems and cause your betta to become constipated and swim irratically.
  • Learning how to properly care for your betta fish will extend his life and keep him in optimum health

General Betta Care & FAQ:
(Taken from: http://www.aquariumguys.com/betta-fish-care-article.html)

It is best to have a home for your betta fish ready to go before he arrives from the pet store. Your betta will be fine in a small tank or bowl, but the larger it is, the happier he will be.

There are a couple recommended setups for betta fish:

  • an individual small tank for one betta fish, 1/2 gallon or larger
  • a glass or plastic fish bowl for one betta fish, 1/2 gallon or larger
  • a divided tank for several male or female betta fish
  • a community tank for one male or several female betta fish

Regardless of which setup you choose, you will need:

  • betta fish food
  • aquarium gravel
  • a live plant or plastic plant
  • a net and siphon or gravel vacuum
  • a pH test kit

Also recommended:

  • basic freshwater test kits especially ammonia test kits
  • an aquarium thermometer, and if your tank is 5 gallons or above, a heater
  • water conditioners, stress relief, and medications for betta care
  • A tablespoon of freshwater aquarium salt
  • a separate bucket or container for preparing water

betta3

Food:
(Taken from: http://www.wikihow.com/Take-Care-of-a-Betta-Fish)
Your Betta’s diet should consist primarily of pellets. For special occasions feed frozen brine shrimp or blood worms. Check the ingredients of your pellets. The first three should be protein based. Experts say protein in the pellets should be no less than 40%. Tropical fish flakes, goldfish flakes, etc are not for bettas.

Feed your Betta no more than 3 pellets every other day! This is very important, as overfeeding is the number one cause of death. Bettas will continue eating as long as you feed them and will eat themselves to death. Also, overfeeding can cause bloating of your Betta fish. Though, this is not as serious as a similar condition referred to as dropsy, it can however cause bladder problems later on that can be fatal.
Clean up any extra food that your Betta does not eat. Similarly, watch your Betta to see if he spits up any food. This could be a sign that your Betta is a picky eater. Try another brand of pellets or dried food.
Though live food may be exciting to watch, frozen and dried products still work great. They are safer and free from potential parasites. Frozen or dried blood worms are a great treat.

betta_fish_anatomy

(click image to enlarge)

Betta Fish Anatomy:
(Taken from:http://nippyfish.net/bettas-101/betta-fish-anatomy/)
1. Dorsal Fin – Used primarily to stabilize the betta in the water and to aid in turning. Consists of many branches. One of three unpaired fins.
2. Caudal Fin – Often called the tail fin, the caudal fin is used for propulsion and is often the first fin to deteriorate when bettas experience fin rot. In rare cases, bettas may bite their own caudal fins causing fin loss. Bettas have been selectively bred to illustrate a variety of caudal fin shapes including halfmoon, double tail, delta tail and the common veil tail. One of three unpaired fins.
3. Anal Fin – Used for stabilization while swimming.One of three unpaired fins.
4. Pectoral Fins – Used for turning and propulsion. These paired fins are located just behind operculum.
5. Ventral Fins – Sometimes called pelvic fins, these are used for fine motor skills like sharp turning, ascending and descending in the water column and stopping.These are paired fins.
6. Operculum – The gill covers that protects the fragile gill tissue from injury or damage.
7. Caudal Peduncle – The area at the posterior end of the betta’s body just before the caudal fin begins.
8. Eye – Bettas have very good eyesight and can see in color. They often react to movement outside their tank or their own reflection.
9. Mouth – Bettas have an upturned mouth used positioned to fetch insect larvae and small insects from the water’s surface.

betta1

Bettas on Facebook:
An Additional link to stop the cruelty at Walmarts against Betta Fish.

Author’s Note:
Many thanks to Pete and his mama for letting me do the interview. All pictures were used with permission. You can find pictures of Pete on his facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/PeteTheRescueBetta
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Small Pets: Meet the piggies of Peewee’s Piggy Palace

Meet the Piggies of Peewee’s Piggy Palace

How many guinea pigs do you have?

I currently have 5 adorable girls.

May I ask their names?

Lola, Sophie, Maggie, Zoey, and the newest addition Annabelle.

Do they all have different personalities?

They are all very different.

Where did you get the idea to create peewees piggy palace?

I am a stay at home wife and mother so I figured I’d better find a way to help support the veggie bills and vet fund. I made a few items and posted my progress and some how to’s on a forum. People loved them and started asking if I could make them some as well.. I had so many requests.. I figured I’d better stay organized and open an Etsy shop and started a facebook page.

What was the first item you made?

I think it was a cuddle cup. It is not a piggy favorite of my girls so I do not make many of them.

What was the strangest?

A fleece ball.. Not exactly strange, but not something I would have thought they would love like they do.

Do you let your piggies test the items to see if the idea is a hit?

Oh yes! Personal “guinea pigs” is a must have! They love new items.. For the most part. It’s great to see how happy they get. I wash and dry all my items several times before selling them so know I’m putting out a quality product that piggies and their slaves will love. I take pride in my work.

What are their favorite toys/items from your collection?

That’s a tricky one. Number one is the hidey huts.. then must be Peewees Piggy Wash!

What advice would you give to first time piggy owners?

Please do research before getting them. There are great online resources. They are not maintenance free animals, but are a great joy to have. Please adopt!!

What is the easiest item you’ve created?

The fleece balls for sure!

Fleece ball in little pink flowers with white and pink fleece.. Fun for piggies and other small animals

What is the hardest?

Frogs and flowers in pink Set of 3... Hidey Hut, Cozy Cave, and Tunnel

My hidey huts. Not necessarily hard more than time consuming.

What would you like to make in the future?

Peek-a-Boo Corner with little pink flowers and pink

A girls gotta have some secrets.. Lol

Would you consider making something for ferrets or hamsters or will you stick to piggies?

I have made other items for pocket pets as requested. Guinea pigs are my main sellers though.

May I ask if you know why they are called cavys?

The Latin name for guinea pigs is ‘Cavia porcellus’. They are sometimes referred to as ‘cavies’ (singular being ‘cavy’). The guinea pigs found in the wild in South America are called ‘cavia cutleri’, see Their History for more information about where guinea pigs are thought to originally come from.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I would love to thank my wonderful husband, who now knows the fabric store inside and out, my wonderful parents for all their love, support and help.. and my customers and fans who make this so fun and rewarding! This has been such a wonderful journey in my life. I have had the pleasure of chatting with some amazing people who have the same love for these furry (and some not so furry) bundles of love. I have even built a life long friendship.. whom without this we may have never crossed paths.. Love ya Jenn!

Guinea Pig Facts:

Body temperature is 99 – 103°F
Heart rate is 240-350 beats per minute
Respiratory rate is 40-150 breaths per minute
An average adult male weights 900-1200 grams or roughly 2 – 2.5 pounds
An average adult female weighs 700 – 900 grams or roughly 1.5 – 2 pounds
Life span is 4 – 8 years
Guinea pig’s teeth are open-rooted, that is they continue to grow
Guinea pigs are strict herbivores.

Guinea Pig Care:

Guinea pigs are known for their expressive vocalizations. They’ll whistle and grunt when they’re excited, and squeak with delight when their favorite humans enter the room. Guinea pigs rarely bite, but they can nip if mishandled or fear of a threathening animal. It’s important to get your pet used to you-and used to being handled. Start by feeding him/her small treats in their cage. When they are comfortable with that, carefully pick them up, one hand supporting their bottom and the other over their back.

Guinea Pig Supply Checklist:
Solid-bottom cage with wire cover or plastic bottom “tub” cage
Guinea pig pellets
Cage bedding (aspen or hardwood shavings, timothy hay or processed
paper products)
Small, heavy food dish
Grass hay
Bricks, rocks, cardboard boxes, plastic pipes & other safe toys
Medium flower pot or covered sleeping box
Brush and comb
Attachable water bottle with drinking tube
Unpainted, untreated piece of wood or safe chew toy

DIET

(Taken from: http://www.guinealynx.info/pamphlet.pdf)

Every cavy needs daily:
VITAMIN C: Cavies cannot manufacture their own vitamin C
and require 10 to 30 mg daily to prevent scurvy. You can give a
quarter tablet of a 100 mg chewable or plain vitamin C, or provide
a small amount of liquid drops to each cavy.
FRESH COLD WATER in a drip bottle, changed daily. Do not
add vitamins or medications to the water.
PLAIN HIGH QUALITY GUINEA PIG PELLETS
formulated with vitamin C (approximately 1/4 cup of pellets daily).
Purchase pellets in small quantities and store in a cool, dry, and
dark place to preserve the potency of the vitamin C (check the
expiration date to assure freshness).
UNLIMITED HIGH QUALITY GRASS HAY (timothy or
orchard grass) to keep their digestive system running smoothly and
give their teeth a good workout. Alfalfa hay is fine for pregnant,
nursing, and young cavies or malnourished adults, but because of
high calcium content it should be reserved as a treat for the average
adult cavy. Excess calcium could contribute to the formation of
bladder stones.
VEGETABLES: Serve small amounts of fresh vegetables
(about a cup a day) as an additional source of vitamin C and other
nutrients. Parsley, romaine and leaf lettuce, a small piece of carrot,
tomato, green or red pepper, spinach, and cantaloupe are popular
choices. Your pet will also appreciate clean, pesticide-free grass,
clover, dandelion greens, corn husks and silk. Introduce new
vegetables gradually. Once introduced, provide a variety daily to
help maintain good health.
OPTIONAL: Unsweetened, pure cranberry juice is an excellent
source of vitamin C and can help prevent urinary tract infections. Dilute
juice with water and change once or twice daily to prevent spoilage.
NOT RECOMMENDED: No mixes or treats containing nuts,
seeds, dried fruit, sugar, corn syrup, or dyed pieces. No dairy or
meat products (cavies are herbivores). No rabbit pellets (they
contain no vitamin C and may include antibiotics dangerous to
cavies). No seeds in husks (a choking hazard). No multivitamins
(this can result in toxic overdose of vitamins other than C). Avoid
cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, collards, bok choy, and
broccoli (they may cause gas and are best offered sparingly or not
at all). Avoid iceberg lettuce (too much may result in loose stools).

Sharing the house with other pets:

Can a guinea pig share the same household with other pets?
Yes, but you need to be extremely cautious. If you have free range predatory animals like a dog or a cat, never leave them together unsupervised, not even for a few seconds. Cats and dogs have natural instincts to hunt and a quick moving piggy could arouse their natural instincts. Even if your cat or dog is very friendly, they may even think that they are just playing with the piggy, not realising they are hurting them. A possible solution would be while your guinea pigs are having their free range time in a safe room ( for example: no wires, no household plants that the inquisitive piggy can reach ) then you could place your cat or dog in another room, leaving messages on doors to alert other family members. You will have to make sure you have a very secure cage for your guinea pig, as some cats or dogs might work out how to open the cage door! Remember young inquisitive toddlers can also learn how to open a cage door. Pets like rabbits, ferrets, hamsters, rats and mice should not be introduced to a guinea pig. Pets like hamsters can bite a guinea pig, even though they are much smaller. In the interest of the guinea pigs safety, its best not to introduce any other type of pet to your guinea pig and be very cautious at all times.


Author’s Note: Many thanks to the owner of Peewee’s Piggy Palace for taking time out of her crafting to answer my questions and share some info about her girls and crafts. Please visit them on their facebook page or the etsy store .

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Small Pets: Meet Benji

Meet Benji

First and foremost, how old is Benji?

Benji is approximately 6 months old. We got him after our budgie Toby (the namesake of the FB page) passed away suddenly overnight.

Where did the name Benji come from?

My sister and I tried out different names… I always loved “Benji” the dog on TV from years ago, and I was fairly certain that our little one was a boy when we got him. Plus he just looks like a “Benji”! 😛

Does Benji know any tricks or how to talk?

Benji has been with us for just a few months and is young. He doesn’t have any formal tricks up his sleeve and doesn’t “talk” – at least not clearly enough for any of us to hear. He only just started playing with the toys we provide for him and is coming out of his shell. He tosses balls and bells around and loves to chirp along to human conversations, basketball games on TV, and the sound of running water (or a toilet flushing). Budgies usually pick a sleeping “spot.” Every night Benji gets on his swing to sleep. It’s very cute and sweet.

Does Benji have any cagemates or siblings?

Benji is a single budgie. For now, he will remain that way.

Is Mr. Martian friendly?

Mr. Martian is there to provide something soft and warm for Benji to play with. He seems pretty friendly and to not mind Benji’s attention.

What is the difference between a parakeet and a budgie?

“Budgie” is short for “budgerigar.” Budgies are small, brightly-colored parrots from Australia (green in the wild, many colors as domesticated pets). The Latin name is Melopsittacus undulatus. Parakeets are any of numerous small usually brightly-colored long-tailed parrots. All budgies are parakeets, but not all parakeets are budgies.

What things do you recommend first time budgie owners do to their house before bringing their new budgie home?

I’d recommend doing the same as if child- or puppy-proofing a place. Budgies are inquisitive and, like babies, taste and pick up things in their mouths (beaks), so small items should be kept out of reach, as should objects you don’t want destroyed or chewed on, like books, leather items, clothes, at least until the new budgie has become familiar with its new surroundings and has settled in comfortably. Make sure there are no containers of water (like toilets with lids up) that a small budgie can fall into, and use caution when opening doors that lead to the outside world. Budgies are very small and light, so they can get caught up in a wind current and carried pretty far away if they manage to get outside and try to fly.

Anything else you would like to share?

Budgies often have been labeled as “starter pets” because they are small, fairly low maintenance (compared to other parrots and pets), and inexpensive. They are not starter pets. They are just as intelligent and full of life as any other pet parrot and require the same attention and care.

(This picture is courtesy of the wonderfully talented MAEVONNE  T. LEE, check out her paintings out at  http://ml-creations.tripod.com/)

Would you like me to dedication the article to the memory of Mr. Toby?

Yes. The Toby was a treasure whose light was the inspiration for the FB page, videos, etc. I know for a fact he touched many lives in just a short period of time. I like to believe that God took The Toby’s light and made it into a bright star to shine on everyone. 🙂

Dedicated to the loving memory of Mr. Toby

The Toby was a treasure whose light was the inspiration for the FB page, videos, etc. I know for a fact he touched many lives in just a short period of time. I like to believe that God took The Toby’s light and made it into a bright star to shine on everyone. 🙂

Parakeet General Information:

(taken from http://www.birdguys.com/pet-bird-articles-parakeet.html)

Parakeets are the most popular pet birds. They come in a wide range of beautiful colors and are affectionate and playful. There are many types of parakeets the most common pet parakeet is the budgerigar or budgie. With a life span of about 10-15 years in captivity, they offer the companionship of a parrot without the burden of a 50 year plus commitment. They make the ideal first bird for children and new bird owners.

(Taken from: http://www.birdtricks.com/Parakeet/parakeet-care.html)

Answer the following questions before deciding to buy a Parakeet:

1. Can I provide an appropriate location and space for this bird to live?
2. Will I be able to provide a safe environment for the bird?
3. Can I spend supervised time with this bird outside of the cage each day?
4. Can I handle the natural calls this bird makes?
5. Can I or another mature responsible person take care of this bird for its lifetime?

(Taken from: http://www.parakeetcare.org/about-parakeets.php#.UQr4sb_omYE)

Budgies are not expensive, which is another reason to why they are very common pets. They are usually found between 10 to 30 dollars, but some breeds can go up to 50.

Parakeets are intelligent and social animals and enjoy the stimulation of toys and interaction with humans as well as with other Parakeets. A common behaviour is the chewing of material such as wood, especially for female Parakeets.

Parakeets can be taught to speak, whistle tunes, and play with humans. Both males and females sing and can learn to mimic sounds & words. Both singing and mimicry are more pronounced and much more perfected in males. As a whole, females rarely if ever learn to mimic more than a dozen words or so. Males can very easily acquire vocabularies ranging between a few dozen to a hundred words. Generally speaking, it is the pet Budgies and even more so the ones kept as single pets which talk the best and the most.

How to care for a parakeet: 

(Taken from: http://www.wikihow.com/Take-Care-of-a-Parakeet)

  1. Prepare the cage. Line the cage with paper towels or copy paper (better choices than newspaper) and change them regularly. Set up the cage with perches, water/food dishes and toys. Bring the bird home to quiet place and play soft music for a few days.
  2. Acquire a parakeet.Acquire a parakeet. Find a reputable bird dealer where the birds are known to be very well cared for. Try to verify the quality of the dealer or pet store, and, if possible, learn who their breeder is.
  3. Make sure the birds aren’t overcrowded on the perches, and check to see that they are being fed clean, quality food, including fresh fruits and veggies.
  4. Make sure the birds look content, vigorous and in optimal health. You may need to visit at different times during the day, as parakeets take naps and look drowsy at times during normal waking hours.
  5. Avoid birds that stay on the bottom of the cage or have unclean vents or crusty nostrils.
  6. Change the food and water daily. Let the bird get used to you and the surroundings, doing nothing but maintaining his food/water and cage, before trying to train the bird to perch on your finger.
  7. Convert your bird to a healthy pellet diet. Seeds are a very common source of bacterial infection, and can easily lower the health and lifespan of your bird. Bacteria can build up and overwhelm your bird over time. Birds adapt to pellets at various rates, and initially may reject them, perhaps vigorously. However, usually 90% of parakeets will convert within two weeks using the following plan:
  8. Leave pellets in a food dish in cage at all time.
  9. Give birds seed for only one hour in the morning and one hour at night.
  10. The rest of the time they have to snack on pellets.
  11. Generally, the 10% of parakeets which don’t switch in two weeks will switch after a short period of reverting to a seed diet.
  12. Add fresh food frequently. Feed fresh vegetables such as kale, beets, peas, carrots, parsley, cooked yams, sliced apple, mandarin oranges, citrus, and the like. Food can be clipped to the bars of the cage or chopped small in a food processor and put in a bowl.
  13. Offer treats. Millet sprigs or “sprays” are a favorite treat, but don’t feed too much of it (about 1/2″ per day), as it is fattening like junk food. Avoid sweets or excess oats, both of which are fattening.
  14. Try to interact with your birds daily for at least 30-90 minutes. Without regular and sufficient attention, they will lose interest in human interaction. A pair will tend to bond with one another (regardless of sex) and ignore humans, but through interaction, you can be considered part of the flock.
  15. A way to interact with your bird is to sing together, give it baths and if it seems to be rapidly dropping a mobile toy, pick it up. There is a chance it is trying to play a game with you.
  16. Talk to it. Sometimes parakeets get lonely. A good way to get them happy again is to talk to them.
  17. To get them to climb up on your finger, push a little bit on their stomach, and say “Step Up.” By continuously saying that, they will start to say it by themselves, and will “Step Up” whenever they say it (which will usually be when they come to a stair/ledge).
  18. Let your parakeet exercise. Think about how your bird(s) can get exercise. Many people assume they can just leave the birds in a small cage all day, where the birds, which in the wild fly and exercise a lot, otherwise get fatty and fat related illnesses. If trimmed, just have a decently big cage with good toys and give the bird some play time out of a cage every day. Manual exercise can be achieved by a sensitive toss or holding it in your hand and sensitive dragging down until looks tired, shown by heavy breathing.
  19. Be conscientious. Parakeets are a lot of work but you will find them an affectionate and funny companion. Most will talk and how much they learn is really up to you. Be prepared to do some daily care, maintenance and offering of attention and time to talk and play with your birds, or consider getting another hobby.

Bird related blogs: http://harleybird.wordpress.com/


Author’s Note:

You can find Benji on facebook or youtube.com. Thanks so much to his mom for letting me interview him and share a bit about Toby as well as parakeets in general. If you like the watercolor budgies, you can find them at http://ml-creations.tripod.com/

This article is a part of the Small Pets Theme, featuring interviews of small or pocket pets. Please click the below badge for more interviews.

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