Table of Contents
Small Mammal Care Basics
The Dangers of not caring for Your Small Mammal Correctly
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Chapter 2: Hamster/Gerbil Care
Hamsters and gerbils can be awesome pets and can offer a great deal of love and enjoyment to your family. Hamsters and gerbils are actually quite easy to care for and require very little maintenance. They are actually very quiet pets. Another added benefit of owning a hamster or gerbil is the fact that they take up hardly any space. As well, hamster and gerbils emit very low odor from themselves and their cages, as long as they are maintained properly. Pets such as ferrets can smell quite badly, even if their cage is cleaned on a regular basis so they may not be a wise idea for someone living in a smaller house or apartment.
Although hamsters and gerbils require very little maintenance and care there are still some basic necessities that they have just like everything else in life. You want to make sure that your pet is happy and that it lives out as many years with your family as possible. In order to do that you need to make sure you are taking proper care of your hamster or gerbil.
The following chapter will go over the importance of properly caring for your hamster or gerbil and will give you some tips on how to do so.
Properly Caring for Your Hamster/Gerbil
Proper care and diet plans are the essential elements that contribute to the happy and healthy existence of any pet. Hamsters and Gerbils are no exceptions to this need. So if you want your hamster or gerbil to live a long and happy life there are some basic guidelines that you are going to have to follow.
The following are some guidelines that can be used to successfully care for hamsters and gerbils:
• Doing some research to find the most suitable and complete nutritional foods to include in the diet plan of the hamster or gerbil is one of the first steps to embark upon. With proper diet plans in place the pet will at the very least be well fed. You need to pay attention to the weight and eating habits of your hamster or gerbil as well. You need to look for signs of weight loss or weight gain. If the hamster or gerbil is not eating or is eating all of its food but still losing weight, you should probably change their diet. At the same time, if your gerbil or hamster is putting on an excessive amount of weight, you should probably change their diet plan.
• Using hay in the cage or carrier that doubles as its dwelling place, the hamster or gerbil will be very happy to fine tune their natural foraging skills and this will keep the hamster or gerbil occupied and out of mischief and boredom. Choosing the variety of hay that contains immature seed heads would be an added treat for the pet. Another thing to consider is putting wood chips in the cage as well as wooden blocks for the hamster or gerbil to chew on to maintain their teeth. As well, this will help to keep the hamster or gerbil from chewing on the cage which can be quite irritating.
• Surprisingly treats and veggies also make up good items to encourage interaction with these small mammal pets. However one should be careful when attempting to introduce such items as treats as too much can eventually create and obese pet and it can also give the creature a stomach ache when suddenly introduced into the hamster’s or gerbil’s diet. Therefore with any of these items introduced the pet owner must be sure it is done in very small portions and is maintained as a treat and not as part of the main diet plan. Plus, this will let the hamster or gerbil know that it is a special treat and they will appreciate it more. The treat will lose its value as a treat if it is given to the animal on a regular basis.
• Keeping the cages clean with fresh outlays of hay and other appropriate bedding material would also be a good idea, as the urine of these animals tends to be strong smelling. Also the pet owner should not be overly alarmed if the small mammal pet eats its own poop form time to time as this is a very natural behavior pattern.
• You should also seriously consider getting your hamster or gerbil an exercise wheel because these small little furry creatures have a great deal of energy. As well, exercise is important for the health of your hamster or gerbil and it will help keep them healthy and keep their weight under control.
• Let your pet out from time to time. Keeping the hamster or gerbil locked in the cage on a constant basis will begin to make the animal feel like a prisoner sooner or later. Let them out to explore sometimes, you can even get little balls that they can run on the floor in. These balls get rid of the fear of the animal getting lost or even worse, stepped on.
As you can see from the guidelines above, most of the care needed for a hamster or a gerbil is basically common sense. These small animals are awesome as pets, especially is it is your first pet or you are restricted with space for a pet. As long as you take proper care of your hamster or gerbil you are sure to have many happy years with them where you can create many lasting memories.
Chapter 3: Rat Care
Pet rats need a place that they can consider to be their home. They are no different than you or I. They need a place of their own to feel secure. There are a few different things you can make into a home to out your pet rat into. Plastic and glass aquariums are great options when it comes to creating a home for your rat. Another option is a metal cage but the problem with those is the fact that the rat might try to chew on or through the bars on the cage. No matter what you choose to build the rats home out of you need to make sure that it is comfortable and resembles where a rat would live in its natural habitat.
One important thing to remember when selecting where to put your rats home is the fact that rats do not like to be in places where there is a draft. Calm still are is advised. Another thing to remember is the fact that rats do not like a lot of exposure to sunlight. Therefore, you probably do not want to put your rats home directly in front of the window.
There are some other basic things of that you need to be aware of when you are thinking of choosing a rat for a pet. The following chapter will go over these basic guidelines and will provide you with some tips to help keep your rat happy and healthy.
Healthy Care for Your Rat
Rats are intelligent, loyal and playful fun loving little creatures, and it is really a treat to have one or two as a pet. However in order to have a successful relationship with this kind of pet, some measures need to be taken to keep the pet happy and healthy always.
The following are some ways basic ways the new pet owner can implement or use to ensure the pet rat is well cared for:
• Meeting the basic needs of the rat is very important and one of these would include its diet and nutritional needs. The owner should be able to source for the suitable food products at the nearest pet stores. Pet rats also respond well to treats and can often be quite greedy about them. Ideal treats would be foods that are not too rich and although yogurt and chocolate drops are among the more popular choices, giving the pet rat other alternative foods would be better. These alternatives should include a little fruits and vegetables but as these are usually given in its raw form and the amount should be minimal. It is important to remember a treat is not something that should be given on a regular basis as part of the rat’s normal diet. This is especially true when it comes to unhealthy foods as well as raw fruits because an excess of these can cause the rat to develop and stomach ache and foul smelling feces.
• Keeping the rat living areas clean is another very important part of caring for the animal. This is important as the rat’s urine and feces can have quite an overwhelmingly strong odor. However, cleaning would also mean removing all smells the rat has become familiar with, thus the need to provide a warm old towel or rag for them to hide in until the cleaning chore is over. Allowing them to watch the process is also fun as rats are very intelligent animals and can easily understand the mechanics of what is going on. You can almost see a sense of appreciation in their eyes while they watch you clean their home. As well, letting the rat watch will make them feel more comfortable with the situation because it will help them understand what is going on better.
• It is important that you give your rats something to play with so that they can keep themselves entertained and not become a nuisance. It is advised that you get your pet rat some toys. Toys for rats can either be bought from your local pet store or can be made for close to nothing. One idea for a toy that you can make at home for your rat is a shoebox house inside of their cage. Just like children, rats like to play house, believe it or not! Another idea would be to tie a small piece of rope from one side of the cage to the other. Your rat will surely find hours of entertainment as it plays with its house and climbs back and forth on its rope.
• It is extremely important that you spend a lot of time with your rat, especially because rats are extremely intelligent creatures. They will soon feel lonely if they are left alone and this will eventually turn to madness. You have to make sure that you take time out of every day to spend with your rat and making them feel loved and as a part of the family.
• Another important you need to consider is the fact that rats breed quite rapidly. Therefore, if you have more than one rat you should be prepared to have baby rats sooner or later. Make sure that you take the proper measures to prevent this if it is not your attention and if you do plan on breeding make sure you are prepared to take care of the babies.
Rats are very cool animals but it is very important that you treat them appropriately. Do not be one of the people who believe the stereotype that all rats are dirty and should not be touched. It is true, some rats carry disease, but these are not rats sold at a pet store raised from birth, they are rats that have lived their whole life in trash cans. There is nothing unclean about a pet store or breeder raised rat. It is okay to pet your rat and show it affection, and the rat will appreciate it very much.Other Details
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