Ferret Owners Beware – a Fatal Disease Common in Unmated Females

Female Domestic Ferrets that are not allowed to breed often contract a life-threatening disease known as Estrus-Associated Aplastic Anemia.  Spaying your Ferret before she enters her first estrus cycle (the period during which she can become pregnant, also known as “heat”) is the best defense against this and other reproductive disorders.

A Unique Breeding Strategy

Ferrets and other members of the family Mustelidae (weasels, mink, otters and related species) have evolved a unique reproductive strategy known as induced ovulation.  Unlike most mammals, female Ferrets do not ovulate (release eggs so that they may be fertilized) until the act of mating has occurred.  Read More »

Join A Cause and Help Animals

Poultry Factory FarmAnimal lovers know that animal welfare is one of the most important issues in the world.  I thought I’d blog a little on several organizations that work against animal abuse and mistreatment. You can help the animals in many small ways, whether by giving a little money, choosing not to wear fur, becoming a vegetarian, signing a petition, adopting a pet from a shelter, or even just spreading the word. Without animals, our world would be a very sad place. Please click on at least one of the following links and get involved today! Read More »

Staying Updated on Laws Affecting Pet Ownership and Animal Welfare

Dog in a ShelterRecent concerns over animal hoarding, introduced species and animal attacks have resulted in a confusing maze of new laws.  Many are legitimate attempts to address serious problems, while others seem over-reactions based on poor research.  I’m an attorney as well as a biologist, and yet even with this background I find it difficult to keep up with all the changes.  However, I’ve found several organizations that track pending legislation and provide links to actions that can be taken…I hope the following helpful information is useful. Read More »

Animal Oddities – The Jackalope Disease

Rabbit with Shopes Papilloma VirusThere is an old myth of a creature that roams the plains, a crazy lookin’ cryptid that rolls with the tumbleweeds through the frontier of the southwestern United States. It is only caught by the eyes of a fellow who’s been smiled on by Lady Luck, but it is well known by even those who’ve never been to the southwest. This wily critter has the body of the rabbit, but the antlers of the antelope. It’s been said that its milk is like medicine and its meat like lobster. It is best lured out by using whisky as bait, but it can mimic human voices in order to elude pesky hunters. Sometimes it has been known to be dangerous if cornered! This, my friends, is the jumpin’ jackalope! Or is it?? Read More »

10 Ways to “Go Green” – Environmentally Friendly Pet Edition

Adopt from a Shelter There are so many unwanted animals already in the world waiting for loving homes. Bring home one of these loveable mutts rather than opting for a purebred dog – who was born and raised purely for profit.

Donate Clean out your closets, but before you toss away any old towels, leashes, or toys call your local animal shelter to see if they are in need of donations. You would be surprised by the variety of stuff shelters are in need of (even old computer equipment)! Read More »

Keeping and Breeding the African Pygmy Mouse – Part 2

African Pygmy MiceThe African Pygmy Mouse (Mus minutoides) is a charming little rodent suitable for those with some mammal-keeping experience…please see Part 1 of this article for more on its care and natural history.

Substrate

Pygmy Mice burrow in the wild – provide yours with 3-4 inches of pine shavings into which they can dig.  They will construct enclosed nests, often shared by several individuals, of dry grass or pet nesting material.

Self-constructed burrows are preferable to plastic caves or nest boxes.  Pygmy Mice have high metabolisms – condensation from respiration can build up on shelter walls, causing a damp, unhealthy situation (this helps them gather water in the wild – please see Part 1). Read More »

Working Dogs – Guard Dogs Benefit Livestock and Wildlife in Europe and Africa

Small HamsterAt first glance, providing farmers with Karakachans, Kangals and other large, aggressive dogs might not seem an ideal conservation strategy.  However, biologists based in Bulgaria and Namibia are doing just that – and both farmers and wildlife are reaping the benefits.

Why Use Dogs at All?

Farmers who use dogs to protect their flocks do not need to rely upon poison, which has for decades been the predator-control method of choice.  Poison-laced-bait kills “target species” such as leopards, bears and other large predators as well as rodents, vultures and smaller animals.  When the poisoned creature itself dies, scavengers that feed upon its corpse may in turn become victims.   Read More »

Small Pet Health – Wet-Tail in Hamsters

Small HamsterWe like to keep our little pets as happy and healthy as possible, but as with our own health there are some common illnesses that can occur despite our efforts to keep them away. Wet-tail describes a common illness found to affect most rodents, but it affects hamsters more often than others, as they seem to be the most susceptible to it. The symptoms of this illness include diarrhea (characterized by a wet tail area, hence the name), a bad odor, lack of appetite, unkempt appearance (from the hamster not cleaning itself), a hobbling walk with a hunched back, and an almost total lack of energy, though this is not to be confused with a hamster’s normal daytime sleep schedule. Read More »

Keeping and Breeding the African Pygmy Mouse – Part 1

Pygmy MouseThe African Pygmy Mouse (Mus minutoides) is a delightful little creature that is sometimes available in the US pet trade.  Its care differs slightly from that of its giant (by mouse standards!) cousin the House Mouse, but experience with House or Fancy Mice will be very useful should you decide to give these diminutive fellows a try.

Note: Be sure to check local laws before purchasing an exotic rodent, and ask your doctor if there are any health issues to consider.  All animal bites and scratches, however minor, should be attended to by a physician. Read More »

Training Your Pet – The “Sit Sit Sit” Phenomenon

Often, as I am observing owners and their dogs I notice that the owners ask for a particular behavior several times before the dog offers it. For example, you ask Fido to sit. He doesn’t immediately sit, so you say it again, “sit”, only to again repeat yourself until Fido actually sits. In such cases, what he has learned is that the command is not just “sit”, but he thinks it is “sit sit sit, Fido, sit”. We’re often frustrated by his apparent lack of obedience, wondering why the dog is choosing not to listen to us. In reality, he’s just plain confused. Without a clear-taught command, he doesn’t know what you are asking him to do! Read More »

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