Sunday, March 27, 2011

New blog gadget!

Blogger just came out with a new gadget, which I just added to my Critter Care blog. Over on the top right of the page you can enter your email address to subscribe to the blog. Just thought I would let you know what that thing is over there. And if you want to subscribe to my blog via email, go ahead and give it a whirl!

Quiz Answers are Here!!!!!

Here are this weeks quiz answers:


The answer to this question is..... Poultry. 

Here's why...

Ferrets are carnivores. They eat meat. They can't really digest fruits or veggies, so meat should be most of or all of their diet. Ferrets could eat beef, but poultry is way better for them. I will be explaining more about a ferrets diet in my next post.


The answer to this one is.... thousands of years.

Historians are fairly sure that ferrets have been domesticated for about 2,500 years. They were used by the Romans for hunting and may have been kept as pets. They may have been pets of the ancient Greeks and Egyptians as well, although that is uncertain.

Don't forget to check out the new quizzes!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ferret Ownership: the debate and popular myths and misconceptions

So to start off with in this post I am going to discuss keeping ferrets as pets vs. banning them. Obviously I side with the first, keeping them as pets. Many people are under the impression that ferrets should not be pets and that they don't make suitable pets. I completely agree that ferrets are not suited for everybody, but they can make great pets. Not everyone believes this however, which is shown by the fact that they are actually illegal to have in some states and in other states you must have a special permit to own one.

Now, you may be wondering why on earth would ferrets be illegal? I am all for making ownership of certain "pets" illegal if they are: wild animals, dangerous (such as animals like tigers, chimpanzees, bears, etc) (I am not referring to any dog breeds, for some pit bulls may come to mind but I believe they are wonderful dogs, but I will talk about that in another post). And if the pet trade of a certain animal is threatening the wild population I understand the need for the pet trade of that animal to be prohibited.

However, I don't see any reason that owning a ferret should be illegal. Ferrets are not wild animals, they are not dangerous, and because they are not wild animals, there are no wild populations to be threatened.

This is off the topic, but it is getting very difficult to concentrate on this because I have a furry rabbit playing with my sweat shirt. That is one of his favorite things to do.

Anyway, back to the ferret topic:

Now you may be asking why ferrets are illegal in some states and considered to be unsuitable pets. The answer is myths and misconceptions. A lot of people are under the impression that ferrets are wild animals and that they will probably give you rabies.


Here's why: As I said before ferrets are NOT wild. There is no such thing as a wild ferret. Ferrets are domesticated animals and cannot survive in the wild. They have been this way for a very long time(I will not tell you how long because that would spoil my quiz!). At this point in the discussion I am going to point something out. The Northern Black-Footed Ferret is a wild animal. However, despite the name, they are not ferrets. They look like ferrets but they are actually only very very very distantly related. The closest wild animals to ferrets would be weasels and minks. So there are no wild ferrets. None.

And now for the next misconception. Yes under very very very rare conditions I suppose a ferret could possibly maybe get rabies and might by a very small chance give it to it's owner. But that would be the owner's fault. Any ferret owner should know that there is a rabies vaccine for ferrets. And even without a vaccine it would be incredibly rare for a pet ferret to get rabies. A pet ferret is fairly isolated as it lives in the house so it doesn't come into contact with wild animals and anything that could be carrying rabies. And when ferrets do get rabies they tend to die very quickly. So quickly that they don't really get a chance to spread it.

So, ferrets are not wild animals and they are not dangerous and common carriers for terrible diseases, but not enough people understand that.

Here are some more common ferret myths:

Ferrets are mean.
 No ferrets, are not, "mean". They do have a habit of nipping and sometimes biting when they are young, but it is almost always in play. I have never ever in my life ever met or heard of an aggressive ferret. And they can be taught bite inhibition just like dogs. (learning that nipping and biting is bad behavior).

Ferrets are evil.
I have heard a few people say that and heard that it is a fairly common thing said about ferrets. All I can say is, ferrets are not evil. I can't even think of how that myth got started.

that is all of the myths I can think of.

Here are some ferret truths.

Ferrets are playful (well most ferrets anyway)
They are typically friendly
They sleep a lot
They stink. (No matter how many people wish this was a myth, it is unfortunately a true fact.) However, it is not as bad as most people make it out to be. They will always have that ferret smell, but with a clean cage, regularly cleaned beds and blankets, and occasional baths, it is not too bad. Usually.
They are cute. Okay, this isn't a fact, it is my opinion, but I really think they are.
They are actually fairly clean and tidy. (as long as you provide a litter box and secure things to the cage) Out of all the pocket pet cages at the shelter, the ferrets are usually the quickest and easiest to clean.
They aren't for everybody. They just don't appeal to everyone. That's understandable. Everyone is different, I mean some people don't like dogs, but it doesn't mean that they don't make good pets.

Next topic: common myths and misconceptions about pit bulls.

Just a note, I am not trying to convince my mother to let me have a ferret with this post. I just love ferrets, so I like doing posts about them. I can't handle more pets than what I already have (and my betta fish who will hopefully be coming soon).

Update: another reason why ferrets are banned in states like California: it could be harmful to the native animals. Ferrets don't know how to function in the wild so even if one were turned loose, it probably wouldn't cause much harm and would probably die very quickly.
And I just thought that I would point out that there are only really two states that really ban ferrets (California and Hawaii) (others do have vaccination laws and other ownership laws, but I think those are fine) and it obviously isn't a big concern for the states which ban ferrets like California, because they obviously don't enforce it because it is actually estimated that their are more ferret owners in California than any other state. Just thought that was interesting.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Quiz Answers!!!

Hi everyone! Here are the answers to this week's quizzes!:


The answer is Flemish Rex. I don't know how you all guessed that one. I probably (if I didn't already know the answer) would have guessed Sokoke or Toyger. Anyway, I made the Flemish Rex up. At first I messed up the quiz because when I first posted it, I only put in real cat breeds, and forgot to put in a fake one. There are such things as rex cats, but there are no Flemish rexes. Only Devon Rexes and Cornish Rexes. Anyway sokoke and toyger cats are pretty rare and super expensive apparently, but they have really cool coat patterns.

This cat is a toyger cat. As you can see it was bred to look like a tiger.

I love this cat's coat pattern. Isn't it gorgeous? I could have sworn that I saw a cat similar to this at the shelter once.


The answer to this one is... most of you got this one right, the Flemish Giant. (I only just noticed but I used "flemish" in both of my answers.) Anyway Flemish Giant rabbits are huge. They are typically said to be 13 pounds +. Usually they are around fifteen to twenty pounds, but there have even been some that have gotten up to fifty pounds. (that is the world's largest rabbit whose brother is also giant at 45 pounds.) They can be so big, that the breed description does not have a maximum weight.

Here is a link to a picture of someone holding a Flemish Giant. And that isn't even as big as they get. 
And this is the link to one of the largest Flemish Giants:

Don't forget to check out the new quizzes!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Guinea Pig Grooming

So as you all probably know, (because of last weeks quiz), guinea pigs need regular brushing and nail clipping and occasional baths. So here are my tips for guinea pig grooming:

Brushing: Brushing guinea pigs is really good it keeps their coat clean and healthy. They also typically enjoy being brushed. And it helps with their shedding seasons (yes guinea pigs shed!). I would recommend brushing guinea pigs once a week with a plastic slicker brush or a soft bristle brush. You can typically find plastic slicker brushes in the small pet section of most pet stores. I definitely would not recommend using a metal slicker brush. Guinea pigs have very delicate skin. And if you have a long haired guinea pig breed they will need to be brushed very frequently and may need to be trimmed.

Nail clipping:
Clipping pet nails in rarely easy, but I have to say guinea pigs are the easiest. Only use nail clippers meant for small pets like ferrets, guinea pigs, rabbits, etc. They will be very small scissor style. Small cat ones in the same style can also be used too.
These ones work great.
These ones are cute and they work okay, but not as good as the ones shown above. I also like using the "Whisker City" scissor style cat clippers that are basically the same thing as both of these but they work super well.

 Now, you need to be very very careful not to cut the quick, or nerves and blood vessels in the nail. A lot of guinea pigs have somewhat clear nails that allow you to see the quick, but some don't. My trick for pets with dark nails is to very very gently squeeze the clippers down on the part of the nail you want to cut (without cutting it yet!). If they flinch, or seem surprised, that probably means that you are too close to the quick. If you don't get any reaction it is probably safe to say that you can go ahead and cut. Another tip is to only take a very small part of at a time, and if you clip the nails weekly or one every two weeks you will probably only have to take of a tiny bit. You can also try holding a flashlight under the nail but I find that that doesn't always work. To cut the guinea pigs nails you can try setting them down in your lap or on a table or the floor and try clipping them that way, or you can hold them with hand and cut the nails with the other. (Just make sure they can't fall if they struggle). If they put up a struggle, you can get a friend to hold them for you, or take them to a vet to get their nails clipped.

and... if all tips fail, and you do cut the quick... don't worry!!! I have tips for that too!

If you do cut the quick it is going to bleed. To stop the bleeding you can use special Qwik stop or styptic powder(found at most pet stores near where they keep nail clipping supplies for dogs) this will stop the bleeding. An alternative is to use some corn starch on a cloth and hold it to the nail, this will also help stop the bleeding.

Bathing: I generally recommend bathing a guinea pig once or twice a year. Here is how I do it. First make sure you have shampoo that says that is specifically made for guinea pigs. I usually use Super Pet Squeaky Clean Critter Shampoo made for small animals like rabbits and guinea pigs.
Note: This picture also shows the "spray fragrance" and the "instant shampoo" I don't recommend those because guinea pigs groom themselves, so they would end up ingesting the stuff, and they aren't really necessary. Stick to the regular shampoo.
You can use a sink or a tub, whichever you want. Place a towel on the bottom so your pet won't slip. Then get the guinea pig wet with warm (but not hot!) water. Be careful to avoid the face and the ears! Then get a small amount of shampoo and work in into their fur, once again avoiding the face and ears. Then simply rinse it off very well. Then make sure that your guinea pig is all the way dried. You can dry them with a towel, but you can also use a hair dryer on the lowest heat and the lowest speed. (For long haired breeds you will probably have to use a hair dryer to get them dry). And then you are done! Just make sure to try to keep them as relaxed and calm as possible through the whole process. Some guinea pigs will get very stressed out.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Answers to some comments I just got

This is a far cry from the goldfish in a bowl that I had as a kid!

With all of your pet care do you keep track off it on a calendar or something? It seems like you have a lot of specific things to do with a pretty definite timetable, not to mention the everyday feedings, dog walks, etc.

- Old Pet Lover 

Yes, I do have a sort of calendar that has all of the pet care that I need to do. It is on my computer, but I don't actually don't need it very often. I typically can just keep track of it all in my head. I do stick to a pretty definite times for everything. Each day I spend a moment going through everything that I have to do for all of my pets and make sure that I have done everything. I am probably going to do a post about what my routine for all of the critters is like. (that will probably be on my critter corner blog)

Hmm....this seems too easy.... are there trick answers here? Still loving the quizzes!

- Animal Gram 

No trick answers here. I just decided to do a few easy ones this week (especially the rabbit one, that question is pretty easy).

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Recommended Reading +

So for my recommended reading this week...
I recommend reading...

Animal Planet Pet Care Library: Ferrets by Vickie McKimmey

For the "+" part (aka my book review) I am doing a review on my recommended reading book:

This Animal Planet Ferret book is really good. I love to read the Animal Planet Care Library books because they are always up-to-date with lots of important information and fun and interesting facts. I have learned a lot from this book. Here a few of the things I learned:

I learned that a male ferret is called a Hob, a female is called  Jill, babies are called Kits, and a group of ferrets is called a "business of ferrets". Who knew?

The other thing I learned is cool. I had been wondering why ferrets at the shelter shook like they were scared a lot. Well, they aren't scared. When they have woken up from sleeping their body temperature is low so they have to shiver to warm up. I am glad I know that now.

Posts coming soon: Guinea Pig Grooming, and the Ferret Ownership Debate!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Quiz update

So any of you that have already voted on my cat breed quiz (before nine o clock on saturday), I made an error in it, so I fixed it and put it back on, so if you had already voted on it, you might want to vote again.

Maintenance of a 2.5 gallon to 5 gallon betta tank.

In this post I am going to tell you all everything I have learned about maintaining a betta fish tank:

So to keep your betta fish tank clean you need to do a few things:
Have a filter
Do weekly water changes
Clean the gravel regularly
Clean the filter regularly

Here is why you need to do each of these things:
You need to have a filter because it makes life better for the fish. The filter filters out bad bacteria and other particles contaminating the tank. It also provides a place for good bacteria that will reduce the amount of ammonia in the tank. And, it creates less work for you. And unfiltered tank needs to have the water changed every two to three days.

You must do weekly water changes. If you don't the amount of ammonia and nitrates and nitrites will build up to dangerous levels and kill your fish.

The gravel should be cleaned out regularly to get rid of algae and bacteria.

The filter needs to be cleaned and changed regularly to get rid of bad bacteria and any other nasty sort of thing that it filters out of the water.

Here is an example schedule of what you should do to maintain a betta tank:
Remove uneaten food as it will dirty the water. Check the filter to make sure it is working properly.
Remove 10 to 25 percent of the water in the tank, do this with a gravel siphon/vacuum. While you do this suck some of the debris out of the gravel. If the tank sides are dirty wipe down with an algae scrubber. Wash any artificial plants. Replace water in the tank with fresh conditioned water.
and.. one a week on a different day than the water change, rinse out the filter if it is dirty.
Monthly: super clean the gravel and replace the filter cartridge.

Note: NEVER EVER use soap to clean anything that comes into contact with your fish. Soap can kill them.
You do not need to remove the fish from the tank when you change the water. Gravel siphons/vacuums have a special filter in it to prevent the fish from getting sucked up. Removing the fish from the tank can also be stressful.

new quizzes

New quizzes are here! Check them out and vote for the answer that you think is right.

Quiz Answers!!!

I am doing these one day early, but it is just easier for me to do them today because I am going to be pretty busy tomorrow. So here are the quiz answers!! ( Hasn't the week just flown by? I feel like I just did these yesterday!!!)


The answer is that they need a brushing, a nail clipping, and occasional baths.
Here's why:

Brushing helps keep the guinea pig's fur clean and yes, guinea pigs do shed. Their nails are always growing so they need to be clipped every one to two weeks. When cutting a guinea pig's nails be careful not to cut the quik, which is blood vessels and tissue located inside the nail. Guinea pigs groom themselves, so frequent baths are not necessary. I would recommend giving a guinea pig a bath maybe once or twice a year. Too many baths are stressful and dry out the coat, but guinea pigs do get a bit dirty eventually so once or twice a year is usually good.

And for those of you, who selected "teeth brushing" as your answer:
Guinea pigs teeth are constantly growing, and guinea pigs are constantly chewing on hay and chew toys, so they have very clean teeth and do not need their teeth brushed. Not to mention that would be very difficult.


The answer is ten ml (ten milliliters). This does vary with each hamster and the climate they are in. And dwarf hamsters tend to drink slightly less. Remember always keep your hamster's water bottle full, even though it is more than they drink daily. The bottle could leak or your hamster may drink more than the usual amount of water daily, so play it safe and keep the bottle full. 

And for those of you who said "5 gal" (aka five gallons),

If a hamster could drink five gallons of water daily it would be in the guinness book of world records!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Quiz answers!!!

Hi everyone! Here are this weeks quiz answers:


The answer is ten to twenty five percent. However it does vary depending on the tank, your water, and how many fish and what kind of fish are in the tank. If the tank is very crowded you might want to change as much as fifty percent weekly. If you have a lot of messy critters in it like snails it will get pretty dirty. If you have one fish like a betta fish the water should be pretty clean usually. Just never change all of the water unless you have an emergency. Changing all of the water comes as a shock to the fish because the amount of bacteria changes dramatically. If the water becomes contaminated with disease, parasites, or chemicals then you may have to change it all. But only change all of the water if it is an emergency. I also recommend not cleaning the filter when you change the water. The filter still needs to be cleaned but it is better to do it at a different time because changing the water does get rid of good bacteria, so you don't want to clean the filter out right then because that would take out a lot of good bacteria that fights ammonia. Anyway, in another post I will get into changing the water more in depth.

Now for my favorite quiz question...


The answer is the Peruvian Red Goldfish. I made that up. Yes a blue-tongued skink and a Jerboa do exist!! (and  degu exists too but you all seemed to know that already)

So now you might be wondering what jerboas and blue-tongued skins are...

A blue-tongued skink is a lizard and yes, it really does have a blue tongue.

And a jerboa is a very odd looking creature. It looks like a cross between a gerbil, a kangaroo, and a mouse. Here are links to a page of information and a very funny video of jerboas (there are a lot of different jerboas. There is the pygmy jerboa, the long eared jerboa, and the five toed jerboa and more)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

My supply list for bettas

Here is a list of things that I think every betta (every spoiled betta) should have:

A tank  (at least two and half gallons)
A filter (just make sure it is not too powerful) (if the current is too strong the betta won't be able to swim because of it's long fins)
A heater (preferably only 25 watts and set at about 74-80 degrees)
A net (for removing the fish from the tank if necessary)
A bucket (for water changes)
A gravel vacuum/siphon (this is to clean the gravel and change the tank water)
Algae scrubber ( if you have a plastic/acrylic tank look for one made especially for that kind of tank) (plastic tanks will scratch easily)
Water conditioner (this removes chlorine and chloromines that will kill the fish and it supplements the fish's natural  protective slime coating)
Water test kit (you need to test the levels of ph, nitrates, nitrites, and ammonia)
Gravel (make sure it is not too sharp because bettas like to swim along the gravel sometimes)
Plastic or silk plants (silk is probably best because it is soft and easy on their fins however it is tricky to find)
A plastic rock cave (bettas like places to swim through and hide)
Betta food
 and if you really want to spoil your betta...

a betta bed (this is a fake leaf bed for them to rest on)
a floating betta log (similar function as the betta bed)
aquarium salt (a teaspoon of this in the water helps prevent disease)

I think I covered it all!