Exotic pets have more popular in recent years. If you are thinking of owning an exotic pet then please remember that it requires a lot of research and planning before purchasing. It is always wise to seek specialist advice and to purchase from specialist exotic pet shops. The staff there are often far better informed regarding their care - including housing, diet and husbandry requirements. It's also worth thinking about who might look after an exotic pet whilst you are on holiday.
Choosing An Exotic Pet Read more »
One of the first decisions you need to make is which type of exotic pet to choose.
The Animal Welfare Act was passed in 2007. The Act covers the requirements of pet owners to ensure they care for their pet properly by providing the five basic needs:
- Freedom from discomfort- a suitable environment, correct sized housing/ shelter, temperature, and somewhere in accordance with the species and its needs
- Freedom from hunger and thirst- a proper and balanced diet that meets the needs of the species- this also includes providing fresh water
- Freedom to express its normal behaviour- making sure the animal has enough space, proper facilities and the company of other animals of their own kind if deemed normal for the species
- Freedom from fear and distress- ensuring it feels safe and care with treatment avoids mental suffering or stress
- Freedom from pain, injury and disease- by providing the proper care and preventing them from getting ill or injured by making sure that they are taken to the vets if sick or injured Environment
It’s essential to provide the suitable environment for your pet. You can do this through research. The factors you need to consider are:
- Your exotic animal may very well require ultraviolet lighting as well as access to unfiltered sunlight
- Do you have enough space for your pet?
- You may need to provide a range of temperatures to allow the animal to control their body temperature. They do this by moving to hot and cold spots.
- Consider the habitat - For all exotic pets it is necessary to provide environmental enrichment. This is an area for them to hide away, and an environment that stimulates normal behaviour. You can do this by the use of rocks, branches, shallow bathing areas etc.
If you are considering owning a bird, it’s worth considering whether to have one that you can handle and whether you want one that lives on its own or needs a companion. Other factors to consider are the bird's size and whether you want one that you can try to get to talk. Larger birds can be more time consuming and can be louder and noisier than smaller birds such as budgies or canaries. Factors that also need to be considered are the bird’s lifespan and care requirements, as these can vary.
Bird Cage Read more »
Exercise is very important so provide a cage that has room enough for this. Most birds will enjoy free flying time which enables them to exercise and prevents boredom but which can be a bit of a messy affair. Care needs to be taken to ensure the health and safety of the birds and items they could fly into or perch on.
Health Problems Read more »
Birds should be checked for signs of ill health
Things to look out for:
- A change in appearance or behaviour
- Irregular breathing
- Plucking it's own feathers out
- Looser droppings
- Loss of appetite
- Watering eyes
- Sitting on the bottom of the cage
- Sores or their feet or painful feet
Feeding Read more »
Different birds have different feeding requirements. It is important to provide your bird with a balanced diet. The easiest way of ensuring that your bird gets a correct balance of nutrition is to purchase ready-mixed feed. Ensure that a supply of clean water is always available. This water supply should be replaced daily to ensure that it remains fresh. Cuttlefish provide a source of calcium, which is an important part of a bird's diet.
Bathing Read more »
Birds need an occasional shower or bath to have healthy feathers. Offer a shallow dish of water several times a week.
Companionship Read more »
You may develop a bond, which allows you to handle and let the bird out of its cage for a period of time. In this case, ensure that the bird has a safe environment before released.
Other requirements Read more »
It’s a good idea to have a number of differently sized perches hung at different heights, which allows the bird to exercise their feet. All birds prefer perches made of natural twigs and branches but you should be aware that some wood could be poisonous. Get advice before introducing natural perches of your own.
Also remember that placement of the cage in front of a window should be avoided as this can lead to a fluctuation in temperature. Birds benefit most from being placed on a table or on a special stand so that they can feel safe and survey the room area. And remember to clean the cage often!
Aquarium fishkeeping is a popular hobby around the world. Many health problems in fish are caused by stress, which can be due for example to changes in the environment (e.g. temperature changes, chemical substances), other fish in the tank, handling and improper diet, among several other factors. By making sure you choose the correct equipment and species for your needs, and keeping up with a good quality scheme of care and maintenance you can enjoy healthy pet fish for many years.
What sort of tank should I get? Read more »
Freshwater, rather than marine, aquaria are recommended for people who want to start keeping fish. Marine aquaria require more complex maintenance, so are better suited to fishkeepers with more experience. Freshwater tanks may be unheated (‘coldwater’) or heated (‘tropical’), depending on the species of fish to be kept.
How big should the tank be, and how many fish should I get? Read more »
Goldfish bowls are still widely used, but they are only suitable for a few small fish. As they usually have no filtration the water quality may vary dramatically, and the narrow neck on many bowls reduces the oxygen available in the water.
The number of fish depends on the size of the tank, and the size of the fish themselves. A good starting point is to assume you need 5 litres of water per fish (so a 100 litre aquarium can house 20 fish). However this is a very rough guide – smaller fish will need less than this, and larger fish will need more, so more accurate calculations can be used if necessary.
What equipment do I need? Read more »
A freshwater aquarium will generally need heating (for tropical species), lighting (encourages aquarium plant growth), aeration (various methods used to increase oxygen content of the water), filtration (to keep the water clear) and decoration, including aquatic plants. A wide variety of equipment is available, and which you need will depend on the size of tank and the species you choose. Heaters and thermostats are usually combined, and if a heater is needed it should be placed at the rear of the aquarium in a good water flow, completely covered by water to avoid overheating. In a heated room, allow 1 Watt per litre, double this for an unheated room.
Which species should I choose?Read more »
Goldfish are by far the most popular coldwater fish in aquaria, and hardy varieties such as the comet, shubunkin and ‘common’ goldfish are ideal for beginners. Commonly kept tropical species include the cardinal tetra, discus and guppy. It is important to make sure that the species you choose can be housed safely together, and that they all prefer similar water conditions. Fish that have more or less the same requirements should be kept together.
What sort of maintenance is needed? Read more »
On a daily basis the fish should be fed (2-4 times daily, feeding only as much as the fish can consume in a few minutes), the water temperature checked, and a brief check made that the filter and air pump are working. Every 2-3 weeks, perform a partial water change (20-30% is sufficient) and clean out the tank and filter. Occasionally it is necessary to replace the lighting (fluorescent tubes usually last about 12 months at full strength), clean/replace parts of the filter and air pump valves, and thin out overgrown aquarium plants.