Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Habitat: Chinchilla

Today's habitat belongs to Professor Nibbles the chinchilla.  Like his friend, the hedgehog, this habitat was provided by the previous owners with some additions from us.

At this time, Professor Nibbles lives in our upstairs bathroom.  He gets plenty of interaction up there, and it's an easy room to clean.  Nibs lives in a tall wire cage to give him room to climb.  Plastic cages are too tempting for these chewers, and they'll soon chew through and escape.

Most of what you see is what he came with: a couple wooden ledges, a wooden bridge, metal wheel, containers for food and timothy hay, a litter pan, a piece of marble to cool him, and a fleece floor.  We've added a hammock, lava ledge for chewing, and a few chew toys.

Playtime in the bathroom allows him time to run around in a safe environment that is easy for us to clean up.  He has a house for his dust baths, a tube to climb through, and a little house to hide in that he likes to stand on.  He also likes to go in and out of the bathtub that we make sure is very dry for him since chinchillas can't get wet.  He also has a large ball (similar to what a hamster uses) to use when he wanders around the main level of the house.

We are not chinchilla experts, but we enjoy learning about these fuzzy furballs.  We'd love to hear how others care for their chinchillas.  Feel free to comment below!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Habitat: Hedgehog

Yesterday a friend who recently got a hedgehog asked about the habitat we use for our hedgehog.  Of course this naturally lead into this next series of posts - habitats.

Jawn the hedgehog came with everything he needed from his previous owners: cage, playpen, water bottle, food, etc.  We've added a few things here and there.

Here's a picture of where Jawn spends his nights:

Most of the cage is in the picture. To the left is a cloth house that is attached to the cage on the sides. He spends more time under it than in it.  In the middle is a wheel and ceramic food dish.  In the lower right corner of the picture is a water bottle.  There's also a litter pan in the upper right corner that is used more as a push-toy than it's intended purpose.  There's also a ping pong ball in there for him to push around.

When we bring Jawn downstairs and need him confined (versus walking around on the table or floor with supervision), we have a plywood "playpen" made by his previous owners.  We've added another wheel (his cage wheel was originally in the playpen), a food dish, water bottle, and toilet paper rolls.  He enjoys the PVC pipes a lot.  He pushes them around, crawls in them, and takes naps in them.

We are definitely not hedgehog experts. We're still researching and learning about these cute creatures and while having a lot of fun.

We would love to hear about habitats used by other hedgehog owners.  Please share in the comments below!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Cage Cleaning Day

Today is Saturday which means... CAGE CLEANING DAY!

Yes, that's right. Today everyone's cage/tank/habitat gets cleaned.  New bedding.  New water.  Whatever is needed.  We'll also head to our local pet shop lady for some crickets later today.

Here's some of what needs to be done:

  • Chinchilla - wash fleece blanket floor of cage, exchange out food and water, clean litter tray where he urinates, sweep up the poop from the cage and floor, wash hammock, wipe down ledges
  • Hedgehog - change bedding and water in playpen (plywood box) and cage, wash dishes from cage and playpen, wash bed from cage, wipe down cage and toys
  • Toads and lizards - rinse out water dishes and add water, change bedding, wash off plants and/or driftwood
  • Cat - litter box, wash out food dish, wash bed
  • Dogs - wash food dishes, wash beds
  • Fish - add water or do water exchange if needed
Of course there is also a lot of sweeping and vacuuming, too. It takes a while, but it keeps the animals healthy.  

Friday, August 9, 2013

Introducing: Mr. Hope and Quasimodo

Mr. Hope and Quasimodo both live on the same desk.

Mr. Hope is a blue betta.  He was purchased on a day where one of the kids was also getting a betta.  Mr. Hope served a entertainment while the mother of the house works on homework as she attends graduate school.  Mr. Hope got his name because he's blue, the color used by the International Diabetes Federation for their blue circle logo for diabetes awareness.

Quasimodo is a fancy tail guppy. He is a rescue that was secretly left outside the door at our local pet shop. The reason for his name is the hump in his back due to his age and the weight of his tail, causing him to resemble Quasimodo, the hunchback of Notre Dame.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Introducing: Jawn Hamish Watson

Jawn Hamish Watson, the hedgehog, joined our family along with Professor Nibbles, the chinchilla, last week.  He was formerly known as Hamilton, but Hammy for short.  He is adorable but will help you check your blood sugar if you aren't careful. We are honored that his former family trusted us enough to continue his care.  Since Nibs has the bathroom as his playroom, Jawn has a big plywood box with plastic tunnels and a wheel to play with when out of his cage. He's starting to get used to being handled and is a great pet.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Introducing: Professor Nibbles

Professor Nibbles came to us from some friends who were downsizing their pets by finding them loving homes.  We are thankful for this family who entrusted two of their pets into our care (the other one will be featured tomorrow).  Nibs, as he is sometimes called, is a chinchilla.  His fur is so soft and looks forward to playtime in the bathroom that was made chin-friendly.  He loves jumping around his cage between the levels, running around the bathroom, and his dust baths.  Of course he also loves to chew!  He also loves to go in his ball (think large hamster ball) and wanders the house. Professor Nibbles and his friend joined our family just last week, on July 29th.  His former name was Lucky, and we are so lucky to have him! We love him lots and enjoy spending time with him!

Here's a video of him barking. At first I thought it was him getting mad at me for waking him up. Later I realized it was him warning about the dog in the room.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Introducing: Hugo

Hugo is a gargoyle gecko and the first gecko we owned.  Definitely a learning curve!  At first we fed him crickets and fruit baby food.  However, as a result of a calcium deficiency he developed floppy jaw.  After doing some research and finding out his nutritional needs, he has recovered almost completely.  The only sign of his ordeal is a slight deformity in the hinge of his jaw.  Other than that, he's happy, healthy, and getting big.  We feed him crested gecko diet with a few dusted crickets here and there to keep him active. His name was inspired from the gargoyles in Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame: Laverne, Hugo, and Victor.  His name was originally Laverne after the feisty gargoyle until we discovered that Laverne was a "he", hence the name Hugo.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Introducing: Bob and Ago

Bob and Ago are crocodile geckos.  When we picked them up from the pet store, Ago decided to bite the pet shop owner.  According to Google, Ago means "jaw" in Japanese.  They're really cute and look like miniature crocodiles!  Ago and Bob use their jaws to gobble up crickets.

This picture was taken as we brought them home.  They're hard to photograph together as they like to hide on the underside of the driftwood in their tank.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Introducing: Stumperella

Stumperella (aka Stumpy) is an ablino fat tail gecko.  When we got her, she was in a tank with two other fat tails a lot bigger than she.  She lost her tail in a feeding frenzy as the bigger geckos were going after crickets and accidentally got her tail.  We decided to buy her since we felt sorry for her (and she's really cute, too!).  She loves to eat crickets.  We're happy to report that her tail is growing back!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Introducing: Rufus

Rufus is a leopard gecko and full of personality.  Whenever someone walks past his tank, he comes out of his hidey hole looking for food.  He'll look at us and turn his head in a questioning manner as if to say, "Hey! Where's the food?"  The only time we're able to pick him up is when he's gorged himself on crickets and doesn't feel up to running away.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Introducing: Giant and Leafy

Giant and Leafy are two fire bellied toads (named by the youngest children, if you can't tell).
According to National GeographicOriental fire-bellied toads secrete toxins from their skin, and they want potential predators to know it. When threatened, they rise up on their front legs and arch their back, sometimes even flipping themselves over completely, to reveal the bright red-and-black coloration of their underside. This behavior, known as the unken reflex, warns predators, “Eat me, and you might croak.”
Our toads are green to brown with spots on their backs with a red and black belly that resembles fire.  We feed them crickets and make sure they have a large water dish to sit in.  Some people give them more of a swimming area like a shallow aquarium with rocks to rest on.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Introducing: Josie

Josie (2/2010) is a beautiful calico cat.  We had lost our first cat, Tigger, the summer before and some of us were eager for another cat.  However others in the family needed a little more time.  With loving nudges, the reluctant ones agreed and Josie joined our family in early April 2010.  Josie is one of those cats what knows when someone needs a little kitty snuggle time and will curl up close.  She loves to play with Mira, our largest dog, going belly up and playfully clawing at Mira's face.