Is a miniature donkey the perfect pet for you? 0 341

Often overlooked in a world of unusual pets you don’t need to live on a farm to home a miniature donkey. With their adorable size and gentle nature, mini donkeys are an ideal pet for families with children. Mini donkeys, however, can be as stubborn and as big of a commitment as children can be. With the ability to form lifelong bonds with their owners, mini donkeys are a rewarding unusual pet.

Is a mini donkey right for me?

Donkeys and horses ascended from the same ancestors but millions of years of adaption later has caused them to be two very different creatures. Miniature donkeys are widely found to be very sweet-natured but also very stubborn, your donkey will have a personality of its own and may need training to ensure its good behaviour. For mini donkey pet advice, consult with a vet and make sure to do thorough research.

What to consider

No doubt thanks to Eeyore, donkey’s have a reputation for being solitary and unintelligent, this is however not the case. Miniature donkeys require mental stimulation and companionship, so before investing in your miniature donkey consider the time, affection and important pet care that will go into caring for your mini donkey. Donkeys have excellent memories and love affection, so they will remember every hug and pet!

Give your donkey a happy home

Miniature donkeys do not enjoy adverse weather conditions and require access to shelter 24 hours a day, and access to a water trough 24 hours a day. Miniature donkeys can become overweight very quickly which can cause multiple health conditions so your donkey must have regulated access to pasture or carefully weighed amounts of hay to keep them happy and healthy!

Miniature v standard donkey

There are few actual genetic differences between miniature donkeys and standard donkeys except that miniature’s stand at around 36 inches tall, this makes them not only adorable but more suited for smaller paddocks. However, miniature donkeys will become very stressed if not kept with another donkey or equine friend.

A miniature donkey is the ideal smaller alternative to a standard donkey, and is a lifelong friend with the average lifespan of 30 years!

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3 surprising behaviours of pet rats 0 221

Pet rat behaviour

Rats have been given a bad name by decades of bad press. Far from the dirty, disease-filled pests that are portrayed on our screens, these sociable, clean animals have a few surprising perks to owning them.

These sociable, friendly pets are highly trainable animals who show affection for their owners and have many cute little quirks that make them great companions. They also have a very strange way of showing they’re happy!

With that in mind, here are three surprising behaviours of pet rats.

1. They are incredibly playful animals

This one will be no surprise to those who will have seen the boxing, chasing and excited jumps with their own eyes, but many are unaware that rats spend lots of time playing with each other and their owners. One scientific study actually showed that rats giggle when they are tickled. It’s highly recommended that you fill your pet rat’s cage with lots of enrichment toys and interact with them daily. Many owners report that their pet rats love being chased or to wrestle their hands!

2. They are incredibly social animals and love to show affection

Rats are incredibly social creatures. While of course every animal has its own personality and there are exceptions to the rule, they need to live with at least one other rat and most enjoy lots of daily interaction with their owners. It is not a rare sight to see pet rats snuggled up in the laps, pockets and sleeves of their humans. They will also nibble and lick them, as they would other rats, in a show of affection.

3. They boggle their eyes when they are happy

Surprising when first witnessed, one of the most peculiar aspects of rats is the way they display their contentment. While cats purr and dogs wag their tails, when a rat is very happy or relaxed they will brux and boggle – which is a sort of teeth grinding and very fast bulging of the eyes.

Rats are brilliant pets for all ages and there are many positives that come from owning these friendly, misunderstood animals.

What can degus eat? 0 257

What can degus eat

When they’re living in the wild, degus focus on dietary fibre. It makes up about 60% of their diet, with the other 40% consisting of natural vegetation. But when they’re kept as pets, you’ll need to keep a close eye on what you feed your degu.

Good quality hay

For the most part, your degu’s diet should consist of good quality hay. There are lots of brands that will suffice, but two of particularly good quality are Timothy Hay and Meadow Hay. Keep an eye on the colour: if it’s pink or white, you should throw this hay away as it’s growing mould. If it’s green, it can cause bloating. Occasionally, you can mix some Alfalfa hay in with your regular hay. It’s high in protein, so great in small doses.

You can top up your degu’s bowl with a little bit of guinea pig or degu-specific food, but don’t go overboard. It’s important that your degu doesn’t start ignoring the hay because it’s got a range of health benefits, including the maintenance of a healthy gut and strong teeth. Around 10g of degu food a day should do the trick.

Human food in moderation

The good news is you can feed your degu some of your human food! Give them to your degu in moderation though, as they can cause gas and bloating. On rotation, you can feed them the following foods around once or twice a week:

• Asparagus
• Carrot tops
• Dandelion leaves
• Broccoli
• Cauliflower
• Fresh herbs
• Brussels sprouts
• Celery
• Cabbage
• Courgette
• Green beans
• Beetroot
• Dried herbs
• Pumpkin
• Butternut squash
• Marigold flowers
• Radish

Some sugary foods can be an occasional treat for your degu. In excess, they carry the risk of diabetes, so we’d only recommend doing this once a month.

• Apple
• Cherry tomatoes
• Peas
• Sweet potato
• Carrots
• Cucumber
• Sweetcorn or corn on the cob

When it’s treat time for your degu, give them a tiny amount (one or two) of:

• Sunflower seeds
• Peanuts
• Pumpkin seeds
• Whole nuts

As a general rule, the main thing to avoid giving your degu is fruit not listed here, rabbit food, hamster food or anything with molasses.

Just like us, degus love food – whether it’s good or bad for them. Bookmark this page to make sure you give your degu a balanced diet, and happy feeding!

Learn more about caring for your degu and other pet care advice here: http://www.nichepets.com/category/mammals/degus/