5 must-know tips for keeping llamas and alpacas 0 278

Llamas and alpacas are unusual pets, but they are becoming more popular with homeowners who have adequate land and time to care for them. These gentle giants are obviously adorable, but they do require a lot of hard work and know-how. Below we share 5 pieces of pet care advice for keeping llamas and alpacas.

1. Outdoor space

Llamas and alpacas need outdoor space that is safe and fenced off. They need enough space to roam and the rule of thumb here is that for every four llamas, you should have an acre of land. Your choice of land is also important as they need to be able to graze. Therefore, if you live in an urban area, keeping llamas and alpacas really isn’t an option unless you have access to somewhere out of town.

2. The importance of specialist vet care

You need to have good links with your vet and they need to be knowledgeable in caring for these type of animals. It’s also important to know that they need regular monthly check-ups as they are prone to parasites. There is obviously a big cost implication to keeping llamas and alpacas, so you should be sure that you have adequate finances to care for them.

3. Stress relief

These animals make great pets as they are fantastic for helping to treat stress. Many individuals choose to keep llamas because they make wonderful therapy pets, especially for children with special needs and individuals with dementia. What’s important to know is that you do need more than one to cater for their own well-being.

4. Diet, fluids and vitamins

Llamas and alpacas forage for food and you need to allow them to do this on your property. You do need to watch their weight as they will eat pretty much anything. Ideally, their foods should consist of 10 to 12 percent protein, so it makes sense to test your grass hay. These animals also need additional minerals, which are easily bought and placed info feeders. Fresh water is also vital to help in the prevention of fungal and bacterial infections.

5. Shelter

These animals do need adequate outdoor shelter to keep them warm and dry. A three-sided shelter should suffice as long as it is deep enough. Alpacas and llamas are conditioned for cold weather, but they will need somewhere to keep them dry and out of the harsh sun.

Photo: Alpaca by TrotterFechan licensed under Creative commons 2
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Which reptiles make good pets? 0 290

While some people might consider reptiles to be unusual pets, many people see them as a more practical and attractive option to cats, dogs and other mammals. The fact they have no fur means that people with dust mite allergies can enjoy caring for them. Here we take a look at three of the more popular types of reptile pets.

Tortoises

Known for being cute, tortoises can appeal to people who wouldn’t traditionally like reptiles.

There are a number of pros to owning a tortoise. In terms of pet care, they’re very low maintenance and compared to cats and dogs they are a lot more harmless. This means that the whole family can enjoy having a tortoise as a pet. Lastly, tortoises can live for 30 years or more, meaning that you can enjoy their company for a lot longer than mammals.

One challenge of owning a tortoise is dealing with hibernation which can last up to 6 months at a time. Depending on where you live this may be a big consideration as the temperature of their hibernation habitat must be monitored and the area will also need to be ventilated.

Terrapins

Like tortoises, terrapins can also appeal to people who wouldn’t normally consider a reptile as a pet. However, terrapins need a bit more pet care. They can be very timid creatures and may become frightened when you pick them up. This is why it’s essential to take your time and give it time to trust you. Hand feeding is the best way to gain the trust of a pet terrapin. It learns to associate you with its food and will eventually lose its fear. Although it can take time to earn a terrapin’s trust, it is well worth it as it will probably begin swimming over to reach you once it becomes used to you.

Bearded Dragons

Named as it is because of its ability to “puff out” its throat until it resembles a beard, the bearded dragon is considered one of the most docile and friendly of all reptiles. With a mild temperament, they will typically allow handling more than most other reptiles.

Once a bearded dragon gets used to its new home, he’ll take pleasure in your company and even scamper to the front of the tank to welcome you.

Photo: Terrapin by Neil T licensed under Creative commons 2

5 things you need to know about micro pigs 0 228

Micro pigs are no longer seen as a fad or even a luxury animal, as many homeowners have now embraced these animals as their family pet. The micro pig is intelligent, fond of people, and unlike dogs, do not need to be walked. Below we share the top five things that you need to know about the micro pig before choosing one as your family pet.

1. How big do they grow?

The size of the micro pig is a huge consideration when it comes to planning your outside and indoor living space for your new pet. Generally, they can reach a height of up to 16 inches and can weight up to 65 pounds. This usually occurs around two years of age.

2. How long do they live?

Micro pigs can live anywhere between five to 10 years, according to the RSPCA. However, it is not unusual for a micro pig to live for up to 25 years if they are healthy and well looked after.

3. Can you potty train them?

This is probably a question that many of us think about, but never dare ask. The good news is that yes, you can. This, however, can take a lot of time and perseverance. Just remember that micro pigs are clean animals and will not use a toilet near their bed. It’s also a good idea to use positive reinforcement and to have an area outside for toilet purposes.

4. Can they be kept indoors?

This very much depends upon your indoor living space. Ideally, they should be kept outdoors, but if you have an indoor living space that is at least 36 square metres, and has access to the outside, then this is also acceptable.

5. The outdoor area

The most important aspect here is that your micro pig can roam free in a safe outdoor space. It needs to be able to provide lots of space and to prevent the micro pig from escaping. As the micro pig is not very good at regulating its temperature, they are very prone to heatstroke. For this reason, they need to have shelter from the sun.