The 5 best exotic pets for small homes 0 905

Pet mouse... on a skateboard!

Whether you’ve made your home in a city, or your apartment is just on the smaller side, keeping a pet can be a wish that’s difficult to fulfil. With larger animals like dogs or hutch-based pets like rabbits or guinea pigs out of the question, there are still countless options for types of pet you can provide a loving home to. Here are our top five:

1. Hedgehogs

The perfect pet for the smaller home, hedgehogs take up less space than larger mammals but have more than enough personality to make up for their smaller stature. As long as they have a reasonably spacious enclosure and room to run around twice a day, a hedgehog can make the perfect household companion.

2. Snakes

If you have a vivarium, time to spare and room in the freezer for their food, most smaller snakes can prove to be a fascinating pet that not only offers a unique experience but takes up little space. Content to lie under a fun lamp for the majority of the day, as with most reptiles, snakes are just a beautiful to look at as their more significant, more space-heavy counterparts.

3. Mice

More of a ‘watching’ than a ‘cuddling’ pet, mice are ideal for a smaller home where the atmosphere is calm, and handling is kept to a minimum. Generally, like hamsters and rats, mice are more than happy to go about their day in their home and come in multiple varieties and colours.

4. Tarantulas

For the more adventurous pet owner who is looking for something a little more on the wild side, a tarantula can be the perfect addition to the home. Provided you have a secure, suitable place to keep your tarantula and a ready source of food, these giant spiders tend to prefer to keep to themselves, and need very little else.

5. Tropical Fish

If you’re looking to bring a little of the ocean into your home but space is at a premium, smaller breeds of tropical fish can provide both a focal point and a pet that will always be happy to see you. Guppys, shrimp and even a single Betta don’t need much tank space but provide a beautiful display.

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5 things to consider before getting Pygmy goats 0 43

If you are considering getting a new pet then Pygmy goats are a great way to go. These fun-loving, friendly, easy to manage animals are perfect for anyone with a good sized garden looking for something different.

1. You need to have more than one

All goats are herd animals, so if you want to keep them you need to buy at least two. With herd mentality it would also be wise to buy two from the same herd at the same time, otherwise you are giving yourself a lot more work trying to acclimatise them to each other. If you don’t want to breed, you need to buy female goats or castrated males.

2. They do have some environmental needs

Though not demanding, Pygmy goats do have some needs. Their coats aren’t waterproof so they will need shelter. For two or three goats a normal garden shed measuring approximately 8 foot by 10 foot is enough, with a bench or two and some straw for a bed. They need good outdoor space and shouldn’t be tethered. Goats do tend to be adventurous so make sure the area is well fenced and definitely don’t have anything you don’t want to be ruined in the area! Be careful of any additional plants as well, there are a number of plants goats cannot eat, such as daffodils or tulips.

3. Their diet

About 80% of a goat’s diet needs to be dietary fibre, so hay is perfect. Beyond this, a couple of servings of goat mix a day will suffice. They can eat a few treats like chopped apples, but too many could cause stomach problems in at least one of their stomachs (goats have four!).

4. They need your company

Goats need to spend a lot of time with their owners, especially at the beginning, so make sure you have the time for them.

5. Watch them around children

Though every goat is different, their natures tend to be friendly, but not necessarily gentle in their playfulness, so beware of butting.

If you feel you have the space and time, you are guaranteed to have a lot of fun if you add Pygmy goats to your family.

Photo: Pygmy Goat by kimberlykv licensed under Creative commons 2

6 tips for feeding hedgehogs 0 57

How to feed hedgehogs

When looked after properly, hedgehogs can make great pets. But if you’ve decided to start feeding the hedgehogs in your garden, there are a few things you should know.

1. Commit to feeding hedgehogs

If you’re lucky enough to have hedgehogs in your garden, this isn’t a very common occurrence! They are sadly endangered, so it’s especially important that, if they get used to finding a food source in your garden, it doesn’t get cut off.

2. Get to know a hedgehog’s diet

In the wild, hedgehogs are insectivores. Over 70% of their natural diet will be insects and beetles, some worms and the occasional slug or snail. Brush up on your hedgehog facts, so you know what to feed them and what to avoid. Which brings us on to our next point…

3. Know what to avoid when feeding hedgehogs

It’s very important to avoid bread and milk. Hedgehogs cannot digest bread, and cow’s milk will give them very bad diarrhoea. This can even be a cause of death, so we can’t stress that one enough.

Salty foods like bacon and corned beef will also give them health issues, so stay away from those.

While raisins and sultanas are generally bad for hedgehogs on account of the sugar content, one or two that have dropped from a bird table won’t do any harm. Just don’t make a point to feed them sugary foods like this.

4. Put out the right hedgehog food

Hedgehogs love:

• Spike’s Dinner hedgehog food. You can serve either the tinned or dry versions, and will find them in large pet shops.
• Ark Wildlife Hedgehog food
• Wildthings Hedgehog food
• Tinned cat, dog, puppy or kitten food. If you choose the chicken flavour, you’ll be popular!
• Meat flavoured biscuits for cats and kittens. Cheaper brands tend to have a higher density of cereal and aren’t quite so nutritious.

5. Share your leftovers (but only some)

Leftover meat like chicken or mince will go down a treat with a garden hedgehog. Chop the meat into very small pieces, as their teeth are too small to tear big pieces.

You can also put down some grated cheese for them, but nothing fancy: just mild or medium cheddar.

6. Know the difference between a winter feed and a summer feed

If you’re feeding tinned meat to your hedgehog, it’ll freeze quickly on a winter’s night. Biscuits are better for wintertime, and when the sun comes out, you can go back to feeding them tinned foods.

Find out more about hedgehogs, including whether a hedgehog is the right pet for you.