Do skunks really make good pets? 0 335

Do skunks make good pets?

Skunks have always had something of a bad press, with them being regarded as smelly and not very practical pets. But this is not true. In recent years, they have grown in popularity with many skunks now being a much loved family pet. Below, we explore why we think skunks make great family pets:

How do skunks behave?

Skunks are incredibly curious and active animals which will get up to all kinds of mischief if you let them! They do need company and affection, so if you want to fully engage with your pet, the skunk is a great choice. They are also incredibly affectionate, loyal, and entertaining. Just be sure to give them lots of safe outdoor space, as they will not tolerate being placed in a cage all day.

Litter training your skunk

Skunks can be kept indoors for potty training purposes, but you do need to have ample space for them to roam, which is also safe and skunk-proof. Litter training is similar to training a cat. You just need to have a lot of patience, and be prepared for some accidents.

Your pet skunk and diet

Skunks are omnivores and have an incredibly varied diet that is easy for you to prepare. They need a diet that is rich in protein. Good choices of protein include chicken, fish, cottage cheese and eggs. They also need vegetables, fruit and vitamin supplements for them to stay healthy.

Skunks and health care

It is important that your skunk is neutered or spayed while young, as well as being fully vaccinated. Find a vet who is experienced in the treating and handling skunks, and you won’t have any trouble.

Loyal and caring

Skunks are incredibly caring and allow you to form a strong bond with them for life. They also get on incredibly well with other animals, such as cats and dogs, and really do become a part of the family.

They are therapeutic

Skunks have such soft and squishy fur that just makes you want to stroke them. As well as being visibly attractive, they are very tactile animals, and affectionate. This is a wonderful combination that makes them perfect as therapeutic pets for individuals with special needs.

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What can degus eat? 0 378

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/

Do chinchillas make good pets for young children? 0 263

DO chinchillas make good pets for young children?

If you are thinking about buying an unusual pet for your young children then chinchillas are a great option. These animals are a bundle of energy, fun to be with, and fairly easy to care for. Below we explore why chinchillas make excellent pets for children in the small family home.

Great qualities

Chinchillas have many wonderful qualities. As well as looking incredibly cute, they have beautiful soft hair, they are inquisitive, fairly quiet, and very boisterous. They will give your children lots to see and do, while being the perfect low maintenance pet.

General characteristics

These pets are fairly small and weigh on average only one and a half pounds. They can also live to ten years or more, so good news when you have little ones, as children do become attached to these pets. They are active, and need to be entertained, so this is great news for the kids, as these pets are fully interactive.

The importance of the environment

The environment in which the chinchillas live needs to be both safe and entertaining. The metal cage should not have any toxic paint, be large, airy and have plenty of equipment for them to run and explore. It also needs to be robust, as chinchillas do love to chew! Cardboard and straw are essential as they will play, hide, and build dens with them. A large wheel will also provide lots of additional fun.

Rules to follow

Chinchillas should not be allowed to run free in your home. This is because they will chew through anything, such as electrical wires. Then there is also the risk of them being exposed to household chemicals and toxins.

The cage will need to be cleaned every couple of weeks, and ideally with bicarbonate of soda to keep your chinchillas safe and well. It is also important that the cage is not placed in direct sunlight, as chinchillas cannot cope with extreme heat, preferring the cooler climate.

The diet

So, what do chinchillas actually eat? Well, you can actually buy chinchilla feed and then supplement it with alfalfa and spinach. Food is cheap and easy to supply, and it’s a good idea to also give them a mineral block and of course a good supply of fresh water.