Which breed of rabbit will make a good pet? 0 32

When it comes to cute and cuddly, you can’t do better than a rabbit. First becoming popular as pets in the post war years when they were kept as a valuable source of meat, rabbits have been lolloping their way into our hearts ever since. There is now a huge choice of breeds and varieties, some more unusual than others.

Angora rabbits

Appearing much like a fur ball with ears, the angora rabbit is well known for its soft, long, silky fur. As you’d imagine, this rabbit takes a lot of grooming to maintain its amazing coat, so be prepared to spend time daily brushing your fluffy friend.

Lop eared rabbits

The lop eared rabbit is possibly the cutest of all the rabbits. The lop gets its name from its floppy ears, which droop endearingly either side of its head. Lops need lots of love and attention, but do not require the daily grooming of the angora.

Giant rabbits

As the name suggests, the giant rabbit is much larger than an average rabbit. With the English Giant weighing in at over 8kg, this is a hefty bunny. Giant rabbits make great pets, but they will need larger accommodation than other rabbits. Most hutches are just too small for them and they will require somewhere to exercise every day.

Lionhead rabbits

One of the newer rabbit breeds, Lionheads have a wonderful furry ‘mane’ which gives them their name. Like the Angora, this rabbit will need some grooming, but not nearly as frequently – once a week should be sufficient to keep its mane tangle free. Lionheads are a smaller breed of rabbit making them easier to house.

Chinchilla rabbits

So named because its fur resembles that of the chinchilla, this rabbit has a wonderful dense and silky coat. It is considered a hardy breed, suitable for keeping indoors or outdoors and is very playful in temperament, so could be a good choice as a family pet.

An unusual breed of rabbit can make a fantastic pet but you must take into consideration whether you can provide for its extra needs before choosing your bunny.

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Why muesli is not the best choice for your chinchilla 0 56

Is muesli good for chinchillas?

Chinchillas are quite happy to gobble up treats, with raisins being their number one favourite snack. However, much like choosing food for ourselves, we know that too much in the way of sugary snacks can cause serious health problems. This problem is exacerbated in chinchillas, whose sensitive digestive systems can be badly affected by excessive sugars and starches.

What should your chinchilla be eating?

The best food you can give your chinchilla is a simple pellet food. These hard pellets contain all the nutrients your chinchilla needs, and are designed to be crunchy, to wear down ever-growing chinchilla teeth, minimising dental problems that come from tooth and root overgrowth.

The problem with muesli

Despite pellets being proven to be the best option, many pet shops unwittingly stock what looks like muesli for chinchillas. You can find pellets in these colourful mixtures, but they’ll be mixed in with raisins, dried fruits and vegetables and small pieces of hay or alfalfa. These will be full of claims that they “encourage foraging, just like in the wild”. However, your chinchilla is more likely to pick out the bits they like, leaving the pellets.

Let’s be honest here as well – when confronted with a bowl of sugary treats mixed in with vegetables and oats, you’d be drawn to the sugary treats first of all, too, so the chinchilla picking the nice parts out of the mix isn’t completely daft. The problem is that this selective feeding is no good for your chinchilla. There’s no way you can be sure that your pet is getting the nutrition they need if all they’re picking out is the dried vegetables, or sweet raisins. It’s a bit like humans trying to live entirely off sweets. It tastes good, but in the long run, they’re going to suffer.

While pellets may look bland and unexciting, they really are the best way to ensure that your pet is getting the vitamins and nutrients they need to keep them happy and healthy. The pellet-based food has been designed to deliver your chinchilla their exact dietary needs. You’ll also find you use far less pellet food, as it will fill up your chinchilla’s stomach without needing top ups. You won’t be throwing out the unwanted muesli bits on a daily basis, either.

How to solve the problem

If you’re making the change to pellets from muesli, remember to do so gradually, mixing pellets in with the muesli and reducing the quantity of muesli in the mix until the food bowl contains just pellets. Your chinchilla may initially be reluctant, but they’ll come to thank you for it.

For more pet care advice and tips on looking after unusual pets, check out our blog or contact us today.

How to prepare for a fennec fox 0 74

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