Saturday, December 3, 2016

How to Keep a Rabbit As a Pet

How to Keep a Rabbit As a PetRabbits are tame and make good pets as they require little care. They are affectionate and can be trained.

Rabbits are active and curious. Once around humans, they can form strong bonds with the family members. Rabbits live to a long age (about 12 years), so be prepared to have them around for a long period of time. They are not aggressive, in fact, they are quite mild mannered. However, if they are not handled properly, they can become aggressive and destructive.

Choosing a rabbit

While white is the commonest color, rabbits come in a range of sizes and colors. They may be single colored or even striped. When you are choosing a rabbit, look for one which seems healthy. Younger rabbits are easier to train and you can train them to use the litter box.

It is also a good idea to buy more than one rabbit as they are social animals and welcome company. You should make sure that they are neutered, otherwise you will be stuck with litters of babies.

The common rabbit species are:

  • American Chinchilla
  • Dutch
  • Lionhead
  • Beveran
  • English Spot
  • Himalayan
  • American Fuzzy Lop
  • Angora

Housing the rabbit

You can house rabbits in a hutch or large cages. They should have sufficient room to move. They can be kept indoors or outdoors. In fact, rabbits do well when they have some place to run around and even burrow. So they should be let out of the hutches for some time.

The hutch should be weatherproofed and locked, except when you need to open it to take out the rabbit or for cleaning. It should be lined with newspapers, sawdust and hay. Ideally there should be a separate sleeping area for the rabbit. It will have to be kept cleaned thoroughly at least once a week. On a daily basis you will need to remove leftover food, spoilt or wet bedding and maintain hygiene levels.


Rabbits have very sensitive digestive systems and should be fed properly. Meadow hay is a requirement because it gives them the chance to gnaw and they also feed on the hay which provides fiber. You can buy ready made rabbit food which should be given along with fresh vegetables, root vegetables, fruits and greens at least three times a week.

Don’t give too much of ready made rabbit food which is high in fat and starch because this can made the animal fat and prone to various diseases. Rabbits also enjoy the occasional treat of lilies and roses to eat. You should also keep a water bottle in the hutch and make sure the water is changed daily.

Health care

If fed properly and taken care of rabbits are quite hardy. However, they do need to be vaccinated against myxomatosis and viral hemorrhagic disease, which can prove fatal. Talk to the vet about shots and taking care of your pet.

You should also groom your pet regularly, brushing his fur gently. His claws will also need clipping when long. If you can’t do it yourself, the vet or his assistant will do it for you.


You should place some toys in the hutch to allow the rabbit to play with stuff. There can also be some large tubes for the rabbit to move in and out. You can also place miscellaneous objects for rabbits to play with.

If you keep your rabbit on a harness, you can take it for a walk. Otherwise you should make sure that you spend some time with it, stroking it and playing with it as rabbits enjoy contact.

How to Keep a Pet Goldfish

How to Keep a Pet GoldfishThe solitary goldfish swimming in a fish bowl is a quintessential part of many movies and cartoons.

A goldfish looks attractive, being gold in color and adds to the decor of the room. Taking care of a goldfish is not difficult, provided you are willing to spend some time and put in some effort to do so. A goldfish makes a good beginner’s pet. Some types of goldfish, when taken good care of, can live from 20 to 50 years.

Species of goldfish

There are actually many varieties of goldfish available over a hundred. Among them are:

  • Ryukin
  • Black Moor
  • Pompom
  • Fantail
  • Veiltail
  • Comet
  • Bubble Eye
  • Pearlscale
  • Oranda
  • Shubukin
  • Telescope Eye
  • Celestial Eye
  • Ranchu
  • Lionhead

It is well nigh impossible to list all of them you have to select one which you like. They are not all gold in color, but they usually have some gold on them. In fact, the black moor goldfish is actually black.

Your goldfish tank

While the common concept of housing a goldfish is a round bowl, this is good only for baby goldfish. As many species of goldfish grow to be quite large, they need sufficient place to swim around and so, the bigger the aquarium the better. Then you won’t have to keep on upgrading as your goldfish grows.

As a rule of the thumb, you should allow at least 8 to 10 gallons of water per goldfish, so keep that in mind when buying your tank and the number of goldfish you want to keep. You can either get a filter to keep the water clean or change at least 25 percent of the water every week. If the surface area is large enough, you may not need an aerator as the fish swimming will be sufficient to aerate the water.

Make sure that the tank has some gravel and some plants and rocks, real or plastic. However, plastic may have a tendency to get fungus or mould if kept damp, so you will have to keep it clean. Goldfish also require some hiding places which rocks and plants should provide. You should have a wire or mesh cover for the bowl or tank to prevent any other pet from accessing the fish and also to prevent the fish from jumping out.

Feeding your goldfish

While goldfish are omnivorous, you can feed them goldfish pellets or flakes. Try and remove whatever food is left after a few minutes, otherwise the tank will get dirty and start smelling. If your fish is older, then you can feed it once a day. For baby fish, 2-3 small feeds a day are better. Apart from fish food, you can also give it an occasional treat in the form of worms and shrimp.

It is easy to overfeed a goldfish and this will make it fatter and more prone to diseases.

How many goldfish to keep

You can keep one or more goldfish together. As goldfish are prey they do better together, or you will have to keep other fish which will go with the goldfish. If you keep more than one goldfish, you have to be careful that one does not eat all the food, leaving the other with little or none.

Looking after your goldfish

While goldfish do not require any particular labor intensive work, you still need to watch out for diseases. Often people buy goldfish, feed them and leave them and then soon find that they have died. It is important to feed the fish, keep the water clean and see that it is getting enough oxygen.

If it shows any sign of disease, it needs to be taken to a vet. In some instances, medicines can be mixed in the water in the tank. If there are other goldfish who can catch the infection, you may need to keep the ill goldfish separately.

Friday, December 2, 2016

How to Keep a Pet Gerbil

How to Keep a Pet Gerbil
Gerbils are cute furry creatures, much smaller than cats. They are playful and make endearing pets.

Gerbils are friendly and sociable animals. Belonging to the rodent family, they are available in many species, though the Mongolian gerbil is the commonest. They are easy to look after, but need to be in groups so it is a good idea to get at least two of the same sex if need be, otherwise they will proliferate.

While they are not exactly nocturnal, they are more active during the evening and night hours. They need human contact on a daily basis if they are kept as pets, otherwise they will become asocial and return to their wild ways. However, as a breed they are more timid.

Buying your gerbil

It is best to buy a gerbil when it is about five weeks old as older gerbils may be difficult to train. When looking at gerbils see that they are healthy and playful. If they are lethargic, not clean and do not look wide awake and inquisitive, there may be something wrong with them.

If it is genuinely sick, it may have a runny nose, sticky eyes and other symptoms. Even if you are buying a healthy looking pair, try and see they are about the same age and keep them separately for sometime, till they get used to each other. Or you can buy a pair from the same litter.

Housing your gerbil

You can keep your gerbils in a wire cage or an aquarium which is covered with a wire mesh to prevent them from escaping and provide ventilation. In either case if you are keeping more than one, separate one from the other with clear plastic or acrylic sheet till they get to know each other. Occasionally gerbils will just not get along with others and will keep fighting which will not be good for them or for you.

Ideally they should have a two tiered living space. You should use wood shavings and shredded newspapers for their bedding. Their bedding should be deep enough for them to burrow in. As their natural habitat in underground, you should provide them with hollow tubes or similar items so that they can follow their natural urges. Some branches can also be put in their housing as they like to climb.

Their habitation should be in a warm dry place away from direct sunlight or draughts. You can even get a cage which is meant hamsters or buy a more expensive gerbilarium.


Ready made gerbil mix is available as a feed. It is easy to use and feed and provides them with proper nutrition. Additionally you can add some fruit and vegetables to their diet. They will also need some water.

Apart from that they need something to gnaw on as their teeth grow very fast. Wooden blocks, tree branches are a good bet as is wicker which is natural. Don’t give them sweet stuff, chocolate, toffee, potatoes, onion, garlic and other foods which are dangerous for gerbils.

Cleaning them

As they are desert inhabitants they enjoy rolling around in the sand which serves to clean them. Gerbils also groom each other. So they do not need to be specially cleaned or bathed. Basically their fur should be clean and shiny.

Handling your gerbil

Though gerbils are not aggressive, never pull their tails or handle their tails. You need to hold it lightly but firmly, stroking it with your hand. This way they will get used to you.

You can also feed it while it is in your hand, this will teach him to know you better and associate you with food.

Gerbils live for about three years so you have to be prepared to care of your pets for that much time.

How to Keep a Parrot As a Pet

How to Keep a Parrot As a Pet
Parrots are very intelligent and provide companionship to their owners. Many species can even be trained to talk.

There are more than 350 species of parrots available in different colors. The traditional color of parrots is green with a red beak, but they are available in many brilliant color combinations as well. Parrots are easy to take care of and don’t require too much space, but they do need regular stimulation.

Selecting a parrot

You can buy a parrot from a pet shop, a breeder or adopt one, which will be the cheapest option. A breeder or previous owner will be able to give you lots of advice on caring for your bird. However, you have to be ready to shoulder the responsibility of taking care of and training your parrot. In fact before you decide to keep a parrot as a pet, you should talk to owners and see how much work it entails.

There are many internet forums, too, from where you can seek advice. You should buy the size and species of parrot which is right for you and your home. Basically, a parrot is more of an adult companion than one for kids.

You should buy a parrot which looks healthy and clean with good feathers. A parrot which has been hand trained or brought up in an aviary will make a better pet.

Among parrot species which are kept as pets are:

  • African grey parrots
  • Senegals
  • Macaws and Conures
  • Lories and lorikeets
  • Cockatoos
  • Cockatiels, Parakeets, Lovebirds
  • Amazons

Housing your parrot

The cage should be as large as possible and certainly large enough to house the parrot when it spreads its wings. There are many different kinds of cages available at different price points. The cage should be simple to clean and easy to open and of course lock.

The bottom of the cage should be lined with newspapers which are easy to remove, to keep the cage clean. Do not keep the cage in direct sunlight or draught and also keep it away from gas or cooking fumes.

It is very important to keep a perch for your parrot. Also provide it with various toys and perhaps branches made from non-poisonous varieties of wood. It needs something it can chew, destroy and play with. Keep a variety of toys and change them regularly to keep the parrot stimulated and happy.

What to feed your parrot

Parrots are easy to feed. You can get ready made parrot feed which should be supplemented with whatever foods you eat, including nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruits and even cooked meat and fish, cheese and biscuits. Don’t give it chocolate or avocado, both of which are dangerous.


Once your parrot has bonded with you, you can leave it out for sometime to allow it to spread its winds and fly. Also keep a couple of perches in and out of the house to allow it to rest and survey its surroundings.

Interacting with your parrot

Parrots are extremely intelligent they are reputed to have the intelligence of a 3-4 year old child. So they can be trained to do lots of tricks, talk and sing. However, parrots get territorial and possessive, particularly if they are always interacting with only on person constantly.

They may not do well with other pets, unless they get used to them. Parrots with ferret, cats and dogs are not a good idea. If you have dogs or cats, they can fight with the bird. The other point to remember is that parrots live a long life and can live for as many as 70 years, so keeping a parrot can be lifetime commitment.

How to Keep a Land Hermit Crab As a Pet

How to Keep a Land Hermit Crab As a PetThe hermit crab is often kept as a pet it is unusual and exotic, yet is easy to take care of.

All kinds of exotic and unusual animals are finding growing popularity as pets as many people move away from the more common cats and dogs. The hermit crab is one such pet. It is easy to take care, does not require too much interaction and yet it is a nice pet to have around.
Land Hermit Crab

Types of hermit crabs

Basically there are two types of hermit crabs, the land crab and the water crab. This is about the land hermit crab. There are two common species in the US, the Caribbean or Soldier crab and the Ecuadorian or E crab. Other species are kept in other parts of the world where they are commonly available.

These crabs are not true crabs which come with their own shells. They are small and soft and need an outside shell to go into to protect them. As they are sociable animals, it is a good idea to keep two or more together and you will also get entertained by their interactions and antics.

Housing your crab

The land hermit crab can do well in a glass or plastic fish tank or aquarium. A minimum 10 gallon tank will be needed, but if you keep many crabs, it will be better to get a bigger tank at the outset. The tank should have a sliding or removable lid.

You can line the tank with sand of any type. If you use beach sand, make sure to clean, wash and bake it to sterilize it. Crabs like sand and if it deep enough they can burrow in it. Forest bedding made of coconut fiber can also be used, mixed in the sand and is specially good when crabs have to molt.

It is important to maintain a temperate and humid temperature and that is where the lid comes in use. The temperature required is 72º-80º F (22º-27º C) and if it gets cold where you live you may need to use under tank heaters or lights. It is a good idea to place the heaters on one side and make sure that part does not get too hot either, since sand retains heat. If the temperature in the tank varies, the crab can move from one area to the other as per his wants.

Feeding your pet

Land hermit crabs eat almost anything. Specially made pelletted foods are also available and should be crushed for baby crabs and even moistened if required. Apart from that crabs can be fed whatever you eat. Fresh fruits and vegetables, cooked meats, fish, nuts, grass, leaves, cooked eggs, even popcorn and crackers can all be given. Do avoid high fat and high sugar foods, though they can be given occasionally as treats. Don’t give them dairy products. Cuttlebones and powdered egg and oyster shells provide the calcium necessary for the crabs.

Both salt and fresh water should be available to them in a shallow bowl. The salt water should have the proper amount of saline and should be placed in a large enough dish, so that the crab can get into it if it so wants. The water in the bowls coupled with the temperature should provide a humid atmosphere for the crabs to thrive in.

Toys and shells

Apart from sand and water and food dishes, you should keep some toys for the crabs. Crabs like to climb on stuff, so some strong branches are a good idea. You can also get half logs and wooden hut like structures for crabs to hide in.

You must provide shells in a variety of sizes and they should be very smooth inside. As the crab grows, it will move from shell to shell and find one which is comfortable for it to use. It will usually do this when it is dark and crabs should have a 12 hour light and 12 hour dark cycle which will help them adapt to the natural light rhythm.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

How to Keep a Guinea Pig As a Pet

How to Keep a Guinea Pig As a Pet
Guinea pigs are used not only in scientific research, but also kept as pets.

Guinea pigs are not really from the pig family – they actually are a type of rodent. They are larger than hamsters. They are very docile and tame and can be handled by older kids. They bond well with humans and do not bite. The total cost of keeping a guinea pig as a pet is not high, and is very affordable. The only thing is that it better to buy or adopt them in pairs or more (of the same sex, otherwise they breed very fast).
Guinea Pig

Breeds of guinea pigs

There are many different types of guinea pigs but the commonest ones are the Smooth Coated ones, with glossy fur, the Abyssinian which has short hair which grows in tufts and the Peruvian which has long silky hair. There are many others as well like textel, dutch, coronet, sheltie and if you go to a shelter or a pet shop, you may find others. They are available in different colors.

Housing guinea pigs

Guinea pigs need a somewhat largish accommodation to allow them some freedom of movement. You can either buy cages or a hutch for them. These should have a solid floor and wire tops to provide adequate ventilation. You can keep them outdoors, provided the weather is temperate. But you have to make sure that they are away for drafts and from extremes of temperature as they are prone to heatstroke.

It is better to cover the floor with grass hay. They also need a small enclosed space to sleep in  a flower pot will do. You can furnish the cage with some tubes and other play equipment, bricks, rocks and stuff they can move in.

Feeding your guinea pig

Guinea pigs are herbivores. They can eat ready made pellet food at least twice a day and they can also be fed fresh vegetables and fruits. They can be given grapes, cucumbers, corn, peas, carrots and pears. As most of the nutrition can be got from food, there is only one thing that they need and that is Vitamin C. You can give them fruits and vegetables which have this vitamin or add it to their meals.

They will also need an inverted water bottle, which should be changed daily. Bedding can be hay and newspaper. The hay can also be gnawed upon, eaten and burrowed in, so it has many uses.

Cleaning and maintenance

You have to remove soiled bedding and other stuff daily. If there is leftover food it must be cleared out. Otherwise the cage or hutch should be thoroughly cleaned once a week, otherwise it will start smelling.

Guinea pigs keep themselves clean. However, you should bathe them two to four times a year, using a specially formulated shampoo for them. You should use lukewarm water so that they do not catch a chill. If your guinea pig has long hair, its hair should be brushed daily.

If your guinea pig gets sick, gets lice or mites or coughs or sneezes, you need to take him to the vet.


After you and your pets have got used to each other you can start by hand feeding it you should allow it some freedom inside the house or shed. However, you have to be careful that they do not escape into the wild as they are easy prey. And inside, too, they can chew through electric wires with disastrous results, so they need supervision.

A guinea pig as a pet is low care and low cost. It does not need to be taken for walks and needs very little. It communicates and can interact affectionately. It lives for three to six years, depending on the breed and the care.

How to Keep a Fennec Fox As a Pet

How to Keep a Fennec Fox As a Pet
Fennec foxes are exotic pets and small in size unlike a regular fox.

Fennec foxes, also knows as dessert foxes, are from the desert regions of North Africa. They are from the canine family and look a bit like miniature foxes but they are small in size, only 14-16 inches in length. When fully grown they weigh only two to four pounds. They have small sharp features and large pointy ears in fact this animal is identified by its ears. They are basically wild animals and need to be trained to be tamed.

Housing and training your pet

Your fennec fox can be put in an escape proof kennel outdoors. If you are bringing it indoors, you can house it in a dog crate. Once it is house broken and tamed, you can allow it to roam around your house.

You can keep a litter box and train it to use it. When it does the needful, you should praise it and soon it will learn. If you take it out, it should be on a leash. This animal can escape very easily and can jump a great distance. It is sociable and will be friendly with other pets and want to play with them. It also likes to burrow underground, so you have to make sure it does not escape through that route. This pet is also more of a nocturnal animal.

Fennec foxes will jump on anything so you have to be careful when they are free indoors. They can also get entangled in wires, cables and electric points should be covered. If your bathroom door is open, make sure that the toilet seat cover is down.

Feeding habits

The fennec fox is basically an omnivore and will eat everything. Dog food, cat food, vegetables, fruits, raw meat, all can be fed to this pet. To ensure good health, you can also give it a vitamin mix. You can also feed it small mice, insects and eggs.

As the fennec fox is a desert inhabitant it does not require much water. However, you should make water available to it, so that it can take it when it requires.

Bathing and grooming

Generally fennec foxes are very clean and odor free. However, you can give them a bath in a sink with warm water and a cat shampoo, when required. It will dry itself off. Avoid hosing them or using running water as it will scare them.


While fennec foxes are not expensive in terms of upkeep, costing less than many other exotic pet, buying a fennec fox is not cheap. A good breeder will sell one for between $1,000 and $2,000. It can cost even more. Do buy from a reputed breeder and make sure it comes with a health certificate.

Buying one or more?

Normally these foxes live in large groups. They also mate for life and when mature, have at least two litters a year. If you are buying a single one, you will have to take a call on whether you want to get it neutered.

It is also important to check for vets in your area who take of these exotic animals as all don’t and some charge more.

Is it legal to keep a fennec fox?

You will have to check with the local laws in your area. In some places they may be permitted, in others, you may need to get a special license to do so. In many areas, though you may be allowed to buy and keep it as a pet, you have to make sure all the necessary vaccines have to be administered to the animal.