4 great reasons to own a spider 0 394

Many people are scared of spiders, but in most cases, there’s no need to be. Most types of spider aren’t harmful to humans, and in many cases, a spider bite would cause less discomfort than a wasp sting.

Not only is there little reason to fear them, they serve an important role in controlling the fly population. But should you go as far as keeping a spider as a pet? Here we look at some of the top reasons to keep a pet spider.

1. A lot safer than you think

There seems to be an in-built fear with spiders that there could be serious issues if they bite, but that is extremely rare. Take the humble tarantula for example, a lot of people would be scared to hold them, but many species of tarantula never bite at all, and it wouldn’t be dangerous even if they did.

Many spider species are quite placid and laid back, easy to hold and pose no health risk at all.

2. A cool pet to have

Having an exotic pet is a great conversation starter and will get people interested in you as a person. Not only will they be fascinated, but it’s also enlightening to educate them on why you have a spider. You’ll get a buzz from seeing someone change from being scared of the creature, to being comfortable with it.

3. A long life

You might think that a spider wouldn’t have a long life, but there are many species that can live a lot longer than even a cat or dog. A tarantula can live up to 25 years, so you won’t have the same level of recurrent grief that you can get with other pets. You’ll have to get a female however, as male spiders pass away a lot sooner than their female counterparts.

4. Easy to care for

Spiders need a very simple environment, with a ready supply of fresh water, and there’s not a lot more to it than that.

A lot of spiders eat rarely, so feeding them every day isn’t an issue for most of the species. The only downside is that you might have to get them live insects to feed on.

Owning a spider can be a rewarding and fascinating experience. They aren’t as dangerous as most people think and you can have a long-term eight-legged friend for many years.

Find out more about keeping pet spiders…

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6 tips for feeding hedgehogs 0 290

How to feed hedgehogs

When looked after properly, hedgehogs can make great pets. But if you’ve decided to start feeding the hedgehogs in your garden, there are a few things you should know.

1. Commit to feeding hedgehogs

If you’re lucky enough to have hedgehogs in your garden, this isn’t a very common occurrence! They are sadly endangered, so it’s especially important that, if they get used to finding a food source in your garden, it doesn’t get cut off.

2. Get to know a hedgehog’s diet

In the wild, hedgehogs are insectivores. Over 70% of their natural diet will be insects and beetles, some worms and the occasional slug or snail. Brush up on your hedgehog facts, so you know what to feed them and what to avoid. Which brings us on to our next point…

3. Know what to avoid when feeding hedgehogs

It’s very important to avoid bread and milk. Hedgehogs cannot digest bread, and cow’s milk will give them very bad diarrhoea. This can even be a cause of death, so we can’t stress that one enough.

Salty foods like bacon and corned beef will also give them health issues, so stay away from those.

While raisins and sultanas are generally bad for hedgehogs on account of the sugar content, one or two that have dropped from a bird table won’t do any harm. Just don’t make a point to feed them sugary foods like this.

4. Put out the right hedgehog food

Hedgehogs love:

• Spike’s Dinner hedgehog food. You can serve either the tinned or dry versions, and will find them in large pet shops.
• Ark Wildlife Hedgehog food
• Wildthings Hedgehog food
• Tinned cat, dog, puppy or kitten food. If you choose the chicken flavour, you’ll be popular!
• Meat flavoured biscuits for cats and kittens. Cheaper brands tend to have a higher density of cereal and aren’t quite so nutritious.

5. Share your leftovers (but only some)

Leftover meat like chicken or mince will go down a treat with a garden hedgehog. Chop the meat into very small pieces, as their teeth are too small to tear big pieces.

You can also put down some grated cheese for them, but nothing fancy: just mild or medium cheddar.

6. Know the difference between a winter feed and a summer feed

If you’re feeding tinned meat to your hedgehog, it’ll freeze quickly on a winter’s night. Biscuits are better for wintertime, and when the sun comes out, you can go back to feeding them tinned foods.

Find out more about hedgehogs, including whether a hedgehog is the right pet for you.

3 surprising behaviours of pet rats 0 311

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.