Sunday, September 13, 2009

More than Cats and Dogs

What is more restful and soothing than a well managed fish tank in a dimly lit room? Like any other pets, there are a lot of lessons for novice fish owners to learn. This group,, have been started up in an effort to help share information and educate the newbies.

From this week's S.H.A.I.D. Tree Animal Shelter Newsletter
WHY WE RESCUE RATS by Velma Ricketts
No animal is as misunderstood as the rat. Pet rats are gentle, friendly and very social creatures who are people loving and bond with their owners. Rats can learn tricks; they can learn their names and come when called and can even be litter box trained. Rats live an average of 2-3 years.
A rat’s physiology is very close to humans, which is why they use rats in lab testing. Because of this, rats can eat almost all the same foods as us, making feeding time a treat for both human and rat. Of course a well balanced diet is always recommended, but the occasional snack will make any rat a happy camper!
Rats are very social creatures.Domestic rats need companionship in order to live full happy lives. Most rats will get along with others and to solve the problem of over population spaying or neutering is recommended, or keeping only one sex of rat in your home. Sterilizing can also solve behavior or aggression problems and will leave male rats smelling fresher with softer coats and less buck grease on their skin.
Rats are often described by their owners as being like “tiny dogs”‘ in their behavior. A well socialized rat will want to be with his person as much as he can. Rats will reach for you through their cage bars and groom you once you are there. Unlike other small mammals, you can play games with your rats. Fetch, chase and hand wrestling are just a few of the more common games rats play naturally, no training involved!
Rats come in many different varieties, including hairless, rex (wavy fur), or even dumbo rats who’s ears are set on the side of their head. Not to mention the myriad of colors and coat patterns to choose from!
Rats are fun to house! Gone are the days when all they got was a cardboard box and some wood shavings. Rats love hammocks to lounge in, tubes to run through, houses to hide in, wheels to run on and different cage levels to play chase on and a litter box to do business in. The bigger the cage the happier they are and you should see how excited they get when you clean their cage and change things around! They have so much fun exploring their new digs.
Most rats are afraid of heights and won’t jump off of furniture or shoulders making “‘out of cage” time a treat. You can set up an obstacle course on your bed and not worry that your rat will run away. If he should end up on the floor, not to worry! A well socialized rat will go right back to their cage or their human when they get bored or hungry. Supervision is always recommended.
There is so much more to learn about these magnificent animals. Given what you’ve just read, don’t you think they are worth rescuing? We sure do.

I'm not much of an expert, but during the time that my daughter was in high school and college, we had rats living here in our cat and dog household for years. A friend of mine built a beautiful big aquarium for them and welded hinged fridge racks on top for a safe ... kitty proof... lid. Later on, when my daughter was out on her own, I was drafted for 'rat sitting' duty whenever she needed to be away for anything
Still later, when she and her husband met, her rats and his cat coexisted safely together. Rats make friendly and intelligent pets and are perfect for young folks out on their own for the first time. They're fairly low cost to maintain and generally acceptable to most landlords. Best of all, they provide a wonderful opportunity for new petowners to learn the rewards of responsible pet husbandry on a shoestring.
The HALIFAX REPTILE EXPO 2009 , which is being held next Sunday on Sept 20th, is THE place to find out about all things related to Reptiles. For those who already petowners, its a great place to meet those hard to find vendors and to tap into the expertise in the area.
Even for those who are not considering adding a reptile to their family circle, its a great place to broaden the horizons. If I lived in the HRM area and my daughter was still in school, I would definitely take her as kids are just interested in reptiles of all stripes.
This opportunity is being hosted by Ssafe Haven Society for Reptiles and Amphibians which is run by the tireless Denise McKay. Their eyecatching petfinder page is a shining example of how this group 'goes the extra mile'
They also have an awesome Facebook Group Ssafe Haven Society for Reptiles and Amphibians that is a great source of information in the local area.

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