5 fun ways to play with your pet ferret 0 31

If you’ve got a pet ferret, you’ll know that they’re curious, fun-loving creatures who are always looking for new ways to explore and play. Maybe this is because ferrets are actually a part of the Mustelidae family, which includes otters and seals, two animals known for their love of fun and games.

Below, we’ve listed our top five ways you can play with your ferret:

1. Nip training

One great way to interact with your ferret is to ‘wrestle’ with them (using your hands). To do this without getting bitten, you’ll need to nip train your ferret using a combination of treats and patience. Rather than putting your ferret down when he bites you, try holding onto him for a few seconds, then put him down. When he doesn’t bite you, give him a treat. If your ferret latches onto you using his teeth, hold him by the scruff of the neck and put your finger gently in his mouth until he lets go.

2. Rub their tummy

Ferrets love a good tummy rub. If your ferret grabs hold of you with its arms, then you should rock them gently back and forth, as if they’re in a hammock. You could also try sliding them around the floor, being careful not to move too quickly.

3. Try a sheet

Drape an old sheet or light piece of fabric across the floor and let it billow full of air. Your ferret will like climbing under it to play. You can they try to tickle him or play your own variation of hide and seek.

4. Chasing games

Ferrets adore trying to catch things, so why not try attaching something light to a shoestring and running around the garden with it. Your ferret will soon be on your tail.

5. Create a cardboard castle

This will give your ferret an awesome playhouse to roam around. Make sure you cut holes in the sides so he can slide through them, and fill it with sheets or soft towels so that he can’t hurt himself.

For more pet care advice from Niche Pets, click here.

Photo: Milo by Max Moreau licensed under Creative commons 2
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How to prepare for a fennec fox 0 31

You’ve seen these beautiful little creatures plastered all over the internet and the time has come to introduce one to your family. Like most unusual pets, the fennec fox is considered a wild breed of animal. There are a few things to take into consideration before welcoming one of these large-eared mammals into your home.

They need space

And a lot of it. These adorable little foxes are energetic and need space to move around in. Unlike with a cat or dog, you can’t let them have run of the house while you are sleeping or away. They are playful, delicate creatures with long claws and an affinity for digging. Give them a large indoor pen or cage that is entirely escape and damage proof. If you have space outside, you can set up a kennel. Fennecs come from a warm climate, so you’ll have to make sure the outside kennel has a heated area. Remember those long claws just love to dig, so make the enclosure escape proof.

Litter box training

Each fennec fox is different but most take well to litter box training. Just remember, if they get over excited or desperate, the will go wherever they are. Unlike cats, they do not go outside on their own and should never be allowed to do so. Make sure the litter box area is sectioned off because fennecs love digging in it. Many owners have had great success by laying down puppy pads in certain areas of the house.

Noise Management

Fennecs vary widely in their noise habits. They are predominantly nocturnal and will yip at night when they play. Some are quiet and only make sounds when they see you in the morning. Their barking sounds similar to that of a dog but is slightly muffled. They rarely bark and instead trill and yip while they play. If you leave them alone too long they might let out a wail that will tug at your heartstrings.

Other things to remember

These adorable little foxes are like a halfway point between cat and dog. They can be mischievous and will nibble on most small objects in their path. Make sure you hide anything that could get into their digestive system. They enjoy chewing on rubber, so wires should be placed out of their reach.

Although these exotic, unusual pets can be a handful, they will spend a large portion of the day adorably curled up and cuddling on your lap. They are friendly and get along well with other domestic pets, making them the perfect addition to your family.

For more information regarding pet care advice, get in touch here.

Photo: Fennec Fox by suneko licensed under Creative commons 2

How can you avoid dental problems for chinchillas? 0 37


Despite looking like a rabbit or squirrel, a chinchilla is actually classified as a rodent. Native to South America, they’re loved for their super soft, highly dense fur, which makes them irresistible to stroke. Unfortunately, this soft fur is also much loved by not only the native people of the Andes mountains, where chinchillas originate, but fur coat fans of the Western world, which has lead to 90% of the wild chinchilla population being wiped out in the last 15 years.

Chinchillas are popular pets, but not a recommended choice for a pet keeping novice, as they’re very sensitive to high temperatures, require a lot of exercise and regular baths in pumice dust.

One of the biggest problems encountered by chinchilla owners is that of their pet’s teeth. Chinchillas have two sets of teeth – the long teeth you can see at the front of their mouths, and the molars which are located further back in the mouth. Chinchilla teeth keep growing throughout their lives, and to combat teeth overgrowth, they like to gnaw on wood and hard surfaces to keep their teeth at a manageable level. Pet shops sell a variety of gnawing stones and toys which encourage chinchillas to gnaw and wear their teeth down.

Another way to keep your chinchilla’s teeth in check is with a good quality hay. A good quality hay, such as Timothy hay, is ideal for this, as it’s a tough grass which means the chinchilla has to really grind their teeth on it, and wear its teeth down as a result. Cheaper hays can be soft, and do not offer the same resistance as Timothy hays, allowing the back teeth to grow without regulation.

If you suspect your chinchilla has overgrown teeth, look out for symptoms such as drooling, and problems with chewing and swallowing food. While it’s easy for anyone to see overgrowth problems with the long front teeth, the molars at the back of the mouth are just as likely to become overgrown, and these are difficult to see without the kind of equipment seen at your veterinarian’s. If you suspect tooth overgrowth, your vet is probably the only person who can give you a definitive answer.