What is your Favourite Pet?.

Guinea pigs

Their character, liveliness, inquisitiveness, vocal communication, their relative ease of care and the wide range of colours and coat types make guinea pigs the most popular pet rodent in many countries today.

The domestic guinea pig originates from South America where the natives used the guinea pig as a source of food and it is still considered a delicacy today.

Full grown Guinea Pigs reach a length of 25-36 cm. The head is broad and short and the body is compact with no tail. The Guinea Pig is a sociable pet appreciating the company of others and is active during the day. Guinea Pigs are good natured and rarely bite making them an ideal pet and today they are the most popular small pet in many countries. Males (boars) tend to be larger than females (sows) and the average lifespan is 4-7 years although up to 10 years has been known.

Guinea Pigs are sociable and therefore best provided with company, especially if the owner is away during the day or the guinea pig is to be kept outside.

Most guinea pig shows have classes for particular varieties of guinea pigs where the guinea pigs are judged against a standard for that variety. Shows often include a pets class where guinea pigs are judged on their overall condition and temperament enabling any guinea pig owner to participate in the guinea pig show with their guinea pig.


Hamsters

As with any pet, keeping a hamster requires a commitment to care for it during its life which could be 2-3 years or longer. The commitment required includes not only routine feeding, care and time spent with the hamster but also the provision of veterinary treatment if the hamster becomes ill which can be costly. Although proper care will go a long way to ensuring that any hamster remains happy and healthy there may still be times when prompt veterinary treatment is needed and once a hamster is ill it can deteriorate quickly.

Most hamsters can become tame in a very short space of time with gentle regular handling. Hamsters normally only bite because they are frightened.

If the hamster is a bit jumpy or nervous it is a good idea first of all just to get it used to your hand before attempting to lift it out of its cage. Try gently stroking the hamster while it is in its cage and offering it pieces of food from your hand. It will soon realise that it has nothing to fear.

Some hamsters are more nervous than others and may take a little longer to become accustomed to being handled. Be patient and gentle and your hamster should become very tame.

Rabbits

Rabbits make ideal pets for those at work or school during the day as they are happily left alone during the day when they are least active provided they have the companionship of another rabbit. However, they are not a suitable pet for small children who may not be able to handle them easily and as a result get kicked or scratched by a rabbit's powerful hind legs.

Rabbits can be kept indoors or outdoors but require plenty of room and generally require more care than a small pet rodent and the equipment needed is more costly. However, they do have a longer lifespan, averaging between 5-10 years depenThe character, intelligence, liveliness, inquisitiveness, affectionate and playful nature of rabbits and their relative ease of care and the wide range of breeds, colours and coat types make rabbits a popular pet in many countries today.ding on the breed of rabbit.

Although rabbits and guinea pigs will "accept" each other as companions, the habit of a rabbit to playfully jump when happy means that its powerful hind legs can cause unintentional serious internal injury to a guinea pig companion, that could result in death of the guinea pig. This is the case with even the smallest of rabbit breeds. Rabbits and guinea pigs also have different dietary requirements and different means of communicating. Therefore rabbits should not be housed with guinea pigs and the best and most natural companion for any pet rabbit is always another rabbit.


Chinchilla

Chinchillas make good pets for older children or adults. They are easy to look after, friendly and inquisitive and with plenty of time and attention, they can become very tame. They are timid by nature and are can be upset easily if not handled gently, so they are not suitable for very young children. They are nocturnal and generally snooze during the day, becoming more active in the evening. Chinchillas are a long-term commitment and can live for about 15-20 years.

Well looked after chinchillas can be kept on their own, but keeping them in single sex pairs provides them with a play mate and someone to snuggle up with to sleep. If you choose to keep more than one chinchilla make sure you buy them together so that they are already friends because it can be difficult introducing chinchillas later on.Chinchillas are very active and need lots of space to exercise so buy the biggest cage you can afford.

Chinchillas always need a supply of good quality hay, such as Timothy hay, readily available in their cage at all times. Hay provides essential fibre in their diet; it is also important for chewing exercises which help to wear the teeth down correctly. Very small quantities of dried fruit or breakfast cereals make ideal treats for your pet.  

A good quality chinchilla pellet will provide a good basic diet for your pets.


Gerbils

Inquisitive, friendly animals that rarely bite, Gerbils make good pets for children. They are easy to look after, hygienic, and sociable. They also love digging! Unlike hamsters, Gerbils should not be kept on their own but in same sex pairs or groups. They generally live for 3 to 5 years and are most active during the evening and at night.

Gerbils in the wild live underground in tunnels, so you should aim to create a similar environment for your domestic pet. A purpose-built Gerbil cage is the best option, although a glass aquarium can be used, provided a wire mesh lid is fitted to allow ventilation.

Your Gerbil’s home should be kept out of direct sunlight and away from draughts. Most active during the evening and night, Gerbils enjoy cardboard tubes to run through and chew on, and they love to dig and burrow so provide plenty of bedding for this purpose. They also enjoy climbing – a fruit branch is ideal.

Gerbils usually enjoy human contact but can occasionally be timid. If this is the case, hold your hand in the cage without touching your Gerbil – this allows it to get used to your scent – then gently stroke your pet. You can pick up a Gerbil by placing your hand gently around its body behind the front legs whilst supporting the hindquarters with your other hand.


Rats

Rats are highly intelligent creatures that can be trained to be friendly and intuitive animals. When people handle rats they can be assured that this furry little creature will bond with them, as they can be very friendly, just like any other animals.

People needn’t worry that they are dirty either, nor full of disease. Fancy Rats, the rats we keep as pets, are very clean, grooming themselves and even being smart enough to arrange their habitats to suit their own needs

People own rats for a variety of reasons as they are pets that can be good companions just like any kind of animal. Pets have been known to have qualities that stretch to health benefits such as stress relief. Rats have a bad reputation, but people should not right them off based simply on their reputation in the wild (and on television). If they do they could be missing out on a friendly and reliable companion.

Degus

A Degu is a small Rodent with tweed brown coloured hair, a cream tummy and lighter circles around the eyes.

Degus make good pets as they are friendly little animals and are awake during the day. They will doze on and off during the day but once they get to know you they will come flying over to see you when you walk into the room. They make a variety of sounds and seem to have quite a complicated language. Their distress call is a high pitched beep beep sound. They chitter when they are upset and will screech at each other when they are having a wrestling match or someone swipes their food. Some Degus are more vocal than others and will come and "talk" to you.

Degus will live at least 5 years but a few will make 8 or 9 years. They get depressed or lonely if kept on their own
. It is best to keep two of the same sex.

Gecko's

Geckos come in various colors and patterns such as purple, pink, blue and also white.

Some are subtly patterned and somewhat rubbery looking, while others are brightly colored. Some species can change color to blend in with their environment or with particular temperatures.The toes of the gecko have a special adaptation that allows them to adhere to most surfaces without the use of liquids or surface tension. Recent studies of the spatula tipped setae on gecko footpads demonstrate that the attractive forces that hold geckos to surfaces are van der Waals interactions between the finely divided setae and the surfaces themselves. Every square millimeter of a gecko's footpad contains about 14,000 hair-like setae. Each seta has a diameter of 5 micrometers. Human hair varies from 18 to 180 micrometers, so a human hair could hold between 3 and 36 setae. Each seta is in turn tipped with between 100 and 1,000 spatulae.

Yellow Bellied Terrapins

The yellow-bellied terrapin, turtle or slider, is the one most often sold in pet stores in the UK. These fresh water turtles spend much of their time in the warm waters of their native habitat. They are strong underwater swimmers but they spend the warmer hours of the day basking in the sun on logs or rocks.

The species are omnivores. Young turtles need to get about a third of their food from protein sources; adult turtles will feed more heavily on vegetation. In the wild they begin by eating fish fry and amphibian larva, water snails and a variety of plants growing in the water and nearby on land.

Females reach maturity when they reach 12cm. You will be able to tell male from females; males are smaller than females in overall body size but have longer tails. If kept at the correct temperatures, fed a healthy varied diet, kept in an active environment and not stressed your turtle may outlive you. Some have lived in captivity for over 100 years. Remember to think about what will happen to your turtle should you believe it will outlive you.

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