How to prepare for a fennec fox 0 343

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.

Discover more unusual mammals you can keep as pets

Photo: Fennec Fox by suneko licensed under Creative commons 2
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3 surprising behaviours of pet rats 0 222

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? 0 258

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/