Your Child's First Pet.

This is a great way to sit down with your child and decide what kind of pet you may want to start with. These are pets besides Dogs and Cats. See that section under Helpful Tips"

Kids: Never handle or bring home pets without your parents permission. You can look through this page and talk to your parents about what kind of pet you may want to give a forever home to. These pets need love too and would surly love to go home with you.

 

 This is a great website for Kids: COMPASSIONATE ACTION
INSTITUTE

Things That Kids Can Do To Help Animals
You may feel that because you are a kid, you are too young to make a difference.This is NOT true!!! There are so many things that you can do to help our animal friends. Some of these are listed below. You can probably think of even more ways to help animals. Tell us your ideas by clicking here and we will add them to our list. You can be an example to all around you by showing them how easy it is to be kind and helpful to animals. Your family, friends and neighbors will learn from watching you and soon the kindness will spread.
 Kind Kids Club
Violence has become one of the defining characteristics of our age.  Even if it hasn’t touched our lives directly, we are confronted with the images and effects of it daily in the news.   Growing up humane in a violent world is not easy these days.  That’s why humane education can play an important role – with programs that aim not only to reinforce positive attitudes and behaviors towards all living things, but also discourage negative ones.  Children who grow up with positive attitudes may be more likely to resist negative peer pressure later on.  Children need to learn compassion and empathy and also that they can make a difference. To see all the great things they have for your kids: http://www.pleasebekind.com/aboutus.html

                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Looking for a Cat Who Gets Along With Kids? Consider These 12 Breeds

There's no doubt that cats and children can become best friends, especially when they share hobbies like hiding in sofa forts, playing chase and napping. If you're searching for a breed that may enjoy the company of a kid, we have some great suggestions for you.

Of course, every cat is an individual. How well a cat will do with small humans depends on his distinct personality and how he has been socialized — and, of course, on how the child treats him. Before adding a cat to your family, make sure your child knows about the right ways to interact with felines.

So which breeds tend to do best with children? Click through the gallery to see 12 good options. See the link below:

http://www.vetstreet.com/our-pet-experts/looking-for-a-cat-who-gets-along-with-kids-consider-these-12-breeds?WT.mc_id=Email;NewsLetter;Petwire;Jul-2;Article4

 

   Edited by Flickety, Travis Derouin, Caidoz, Dvortygirl and 49 others

Hedgehogs make great pets for those who are patient and dedicated. They will need a lot of long-term attention and quite bit of space. They are intelligent, friendly and enjoyable company for a dedicated owner. Here are some basic tips for looking after your hedgehog.

Take Care of a Hedgehog Step 1.jpg
1

Finding a good breeder. Finding a great breeder to purchase your hedgehog from is paramount. If you don't, you could end up with a grumpy hedgehog that may die young. Avoid any breeder who posts on Craigslist; do not buy them from pet stores; be sure the breeder has quality, pedigree stock with no WHS or Cancer in their lineage; see that the breeder is USDA licensed or is a part of breeders groups; ask to see their set-up and meet their hedgehogs. Don't forget to check for illness. 

  1. Take Care of a Hedgehog Step 2.jpg
    Bringing the hedgehog home appropriately. Before purchase, make sure you have everything you need set up and ready to go. Allow the hedgehog at least a month to become familiar with you, the new scents, and the new surroundings. They've experience a huge change in their life!
    1. Take Care of a Hedgehog Step 3.jpg
    2. Provide a good house. Hedgehogs need a large cage to be comfortable in. The house should: Be large. The cage should be a minimum of 18" x 24" with a solid floor. Houses should not have more than one level as hedgehogs have poor eyesight and their legs are all too easy to break. Wire cages that they can climb can also be dangerous if you have a climber! Include space for food bowls, toys and litter tray when considering buying or making a cage.
    • Be well-ventilated. Air flow should be available all the time. The only time you should impede airflow is if the room rapidly drops in temperature (for example, during a power outage) and you need to wrap the cage with a blanket.
    • Be well secured. Hedgehogs are master escape artists and love to climb. Ensure that the cage is secure or if it doesn't have a top, that the hedgehog can't climb out.
    • Include a hiding spot. As a primarily nocturnal prey animal in the wild, hedgehogs need a safety zone for "time-out" from prying eyes, light, and general activity. An igloo or sleeping pouch will do well.
  • Take Care of a Hedgehog Step 4.jpg
    1. Ensure a suitable temperature. Hedgehogs need a slightly warmer room temperature than most people keep their homes at, around 72ºF (22.2ºC) to 80ºF (26.6ºC). Anything cooler and the hedgehog will likely attempt "hibernation" which can be LETHAL, much hotter and heat stress occurs. Adjust the temperature if you see them spread out in the cage as if they're hot. If they're lethargic, or the body temperature is cooler than normal warm them up immediately by putting them under your shirt and using your body heat to warm them.
    1. Take Care of a Hedgehog Step 5.jpg
    2. Select good bedding material. Hedgehogs like wood shavings (but see "Warnings" below), or fleece liners as their bedding. The best type of wood shavings are aspen shavings. Carefresh is a choice but tends to get stuck in between their quills. Shredded newspaper can also be used but be wary of the dust content of any bedding.
  • Take Care of a Hedgehog Step 6.jpg
    1. Be attentive to the needs and behaviours of the hedgehog. Low level of noise. Don't house the hedgehog under your stereo player or near a boombox. As a prey animal in the wild that depends largely on their sense of hearing, too much noise and activity around your hedgehog will be very distressing. Ensure that noise, lighting and activity levels are low in its vicinity and move the cage if the noise levels increase for any reason.Hedgehogs can get used to noise if introduced properly.
    • Ability to exercise. Hedgehogs tend towards putting on weight, so exercise is a must for them. This means plenty of toys, and a hedgehog wheel is a must. Wheels should only have a solid floor - mesh or bar wheels tend to make them get stuck, ripping off toenails and even breaking legs. Toys should be something they can chew, push, nuzzle and even tip over but not to chew pieces off or swallow. Be sure their nails or feet can't get caught in any loose strings or small holes.
    • Closely watch their behaviour and food/water intake. Hedgehogs are notoriously bad at hiding ailments, so it is extremely necessary to be be aware of your hedgehog.
  • Take Care of a Hedgehog Step 7.jpg
    1. Feed your hedgehog properly. Hedgehogs are primarily insectivores, but will also taste for other things like fruits, veggies, eggs, and meat. They tend towards plumpness, so care must be taken with the diet to prevent a hedgehog putting on too much weight. An overweight hedgehog cannot roll up and may have rolls of fat hanging down which will impede its walking ability. Consider feeding: Quality diet is the main concern. A hedgehogs exact nutritional needs are somewhat mysterious.They are fed high quality cat kibble. Avoid hedgehog foods as they tend to have a lot of poor quality ingredients that can even be lethal to hogs.The kibble you choose should be below 15% fat, around 32-35% in protein, and should be organic, holistic, or of similar variety - avoid kibble that has by-products and corn and similar things listed. Most owners free feed their hedgehogs, giving just enough food for there to be some leftover. Feed a variety of treats to avoid nutritional deficiencies associated with a single food type - things such as fruits, veggies, cooked/unseasoned chicken, and scrambled or hard boiled & chopped egg. Mealworms or silk worms, or rarely crickets and wax worms are also an important treat to the hedgehog's diet which can be fed 1-4 times a week.
    • Never feed: Nuts/seeds, Dried fruits, Raw Meat, hard uncooked vegetables, Sticky/stringy/hard foods, Avocado, Grapes or Raisins, Hedgehog food, Milk, Wild caught insects, Alcohol, Bread, Celery, Onion and onion powder, Raw carrots, Tomatoes, Human junk food (chips, candy, anything really sugary, salty, etc.), anything very acidic or Honey.
    • Provide a food bowl that is wide enough for the hedgehog to access and heavy enough so that the hedgehog cannot tip it over (and start playing with it).
    • Provide a water bottle with a drinking tube or a water bowl.
  • Take Care of a Hedgehog Step 8.jpg
    1. Look out for your hedgehog's proper hygiene.  Provide a litter tray with no more than half an inch lip to provide easy access and prevent broken legs. Be sure that you use ONLY non-clumping kitty litter, if you decide to use litter, or you can use a paper towel. Make sure it is large enough for the hedgehog and clean it every day. Keep an eye for any irregular bowel movements which could indicate distress or illness. Most owners keep the litter tray under the wheel since that is where hedgehogs do most of their business.
    • Clean the hedgehog's home regularly. Clean the dishes and water bottle/bowl daily with hot water. Clean the wheel and spot clean daily and change bedding weekly or as needed.
    • Grooming. Bathing should occur on an as needed basis. Be sure to check your hedgehog's nails regularly. If they get too long they can get ripped off while running on their wheel.
  • Take Care of a Hedgehog Step 9.jpg
    1. Be prepared for "quilling". Quilling is the hedgehog equivalent of us losing baby teeth. This begins to happen at 6 to 8 weeks of age and can happen through out their first year of life as the baby quills make way for adult quills. This is a normal process and not something to worry about unless there are signs of illness or discomfort present, or the quills are failing to grow back. Your hedgehog may be irritable during this process and less amenable to being held. You can try an oatmeal bath to ease their discomfort. It is only a phase.

     

    1. Take Care of a Hedgehog Step 10.jpg
       
      Handle frequently. A hedgehog's familiarity with being handled comes with being handled frequently. Always be confident when handling a hedgehog. They are not as fragile as they seem. The general rule is at least 30 minutes a day of handling.

          
    Hamsters

    Cute Hamster, which belongs to rodent family, is one of the most popular and tiny-winy pets around the world. Hamsters are cute, clean and easy to take care of, which makes them favorite pet for people of all ages. Hamsters can be real entertainment for his/her keeper if proper care of his mood and diet is taken. The only sad thing about hamsters is that they live only up to 1000-1100 days (about 1-3.5 years), which can be a real heartbreaking thing for children. But few people think it as an opportunity for children to understand and learn the responsibilities and other important things in life.


    Types of Hamsters

    • Syrian Hamsters: This type of hamsters are also called black bear hamster, golden hamster, teddy bear hamster, fancy hamster etc. Syrian hamsters are generally golden brown colored with dark colored markings on parts like jaws, cheeks etc. of their body. Syrian hamsters are the largest in all the type of hamsters and are very easy to tame and take care of, which make them most commonly accepted hamster as a pet. They grow about 6-8 inches in length, and their lifespan is around 2 to 3 years. Syrian hamsters are strongly territorial animals and cannot tolerate presence of other hamsters in their territory, which makes it very important to keep them alone in a cage/home. Syrian hamsters are mainly nocturnal and are quite active from the early hours in evening and night.
    • Dwarf Hamsters: They are also called Campbell’s Russian Hamsters, Winter White Russian Hamsters, Roborovski Hamsters. Dwarf Campbell’s Russian Hamsters are the most common type of hamsters people like to keep as pet. They grow about 4-5 inches in length and have almost same lifespan as other type of hamsters. Dwarf hamsters prove to be good mates for hamsters of the same species rather than of other species (given they are introduced to each other from young age).
    • Chinese Hamsters: These type of hamsters are often misinterpreted to be Dwarf Hamsters as they exhibit similar physical characteristics as of Dwarf Hamsters but they are actually different. They grow same in length as Dwarf Hamsters, and have lifespan of about 2.5 to 3 years. Chinese Hamsters are also nocturnal but are not as lazy as Syrian hamsters during day time. Female Chinese hamsters generally are not comfortable with the other hamsters and so should be kept alone or with the hamster they get along easily.
    Ideal Homes for Hamster:
    Consider what will happen if you are confined in a very small place with no room for you to at least walk through it? You will surely get frustrated and would wish to get out of the place as soon as possible. Same is true with hamsters. The first and the most important thing to take into consideration is that house for hamster should be as large as possible, with a proper, dry and hygienic bedding. It is found that if hamster is not allowed to exercise (play around and run throughout the home), there is a high risk of his/her getting paralyzed, so you should consider buying/building a home for hamster that is enough to allow it run through, it should have a running wheel (hamsters really love it and cover up to few miles of running using it everyday).

    All about Hamsters:

    http://allabouthamsters.net/

    Communities:

    http://dailyhamster.com/


                   

    Gold Fish

    Caring for goldfish is important if you want to prolong the life of your pet. After all, who would want to look into an aquarium with a fish floating upside down? In order to enjoy viewing the goldfishes in your aquarium longer, the general rule is to have a regular maintenance. This means that you have to watch out for all the elements in it such as the water, temperature, tank, filter, gravel, weeds and decorations.

    Keeping a tank clean is important when caring for goldfish and includes making sure that each side is free from any unwanted dirt as it may become the breeding ground for parasites and bacteria. The same thing goes for all the non-living things inside the tank. Make sure that they’re always cleaned and maintained. The size of the tank is also a consideration. Remember that the number of your goldfish must be proportionate to the size of the tank. Otherwise, the tank may get too crowded and the survival of your fishes will be lessened. Water is another important element to watch out for. Keeping it clean and at correct temperatures will ensure good health. Changing the water and keeping a filter inside will help in the clean up. As for temperature, installing a thermometer will make the monitoring easier.

    Food is an essential part of caring for goldfish. Choosing the right food for your goldfish may be tricky. It is important to check first what specific type of goldfish you have before feeding it. Some goldfish eat flakes while others eat brine shrimp. You also have to remove the uneaten food to prevent build up of dirt.

    All About Goldfish:

    http://www.goldfishpetcare.com/

       Ferrets
    I was surprised to learn recently that ferrets are considered domestic animals. I mean, I knew that people kept them as pets, but I didn’t realize that ferrets (unlike their cousins: otters, weasels, badgers and skunk) are not considered wild animals since they have lost all of their wild instincts as well as the ability to survive in the wild. In fact, if one gets loose, it will not survive for more than a few days on its own. I also have always thought of ferrets as “exotic”–wrong again. While many pet stores classify ferrets as exotics, the definition of an exotic pet is a pet whose species can be found in the wild. Because there are no wild colonies of ferrets, to call ferrets exotic is incorrect. Ferrets are “companion animals” just as cats and dogs are. Ferrets can make great pets and are super loving, but just like with any type of pet, they are not for everyone.
    Ferrets are quiet and affectionate like cats, but playful and interactive like dogs. Their size makes them a good option for people with small homes or apartments. And since they are hypoallergenic, they can also be a good option for those with pet allergies.
    Much of the ferret’s charm comes from their curious, mischievous nature; but they can injure themselves if their surroundings haven’t been ferret-proofed. Somewhat surprisingly, ferrets generally get along with cats and dogs–cats and ferrets can actually become frolicsome playmates! (Although terrier dog breeds might be a problem since they were developed to hunt rabbits, rats and foxes–you can see the potential problem there.)
    Ferrets are so undeniably cute, but is it the right pet for you? I found these 10 questions to determine one’s ferret-ability at Rocky’s

    Ferret Rescue:
    1. Have you done your research; spoken and visited with ferret owners or local shelter?
    2. Have you read about the housing, nutritional, exercise and medical needs of the ferret?
    3. Are you ready to make a long-term commitment to the love and care of your ferret, knowing that a ferret has a potential life-span of 15 years?
    4. Are you prepared to feed your ferret quality ferret food?
    5. Are you prepared to visit the vet once a year for vaccinations and check-up?
    6. If you rent, are you allowed to have a ferret?
    7. Are their other animals in your house that could threaten or be threatened by a ferret? These could be terrier breeds and large and/or aggressive dogs.
    8. Are there existing pets that could be harmed by a ferret? These could be rabbits, kittens, snakes and amphibians.
    8. Can you spend one to three hours a day nurturing and supervising the exercise and playtime of your ferret?
    9. Are there children under 5 years old in your home or are you planning a family?
    10. Can you ferret-proof your house?
    If you answered yes to all 10, maybe you’re ready to provide a loving home for an abandoned ferret. Rather than support a pet store, use this directory to find a local ferret shelter and adopt a ferret.
    Read More on Ferrets:

    http://www.ehow.com/how_2113239_feed-ferret-healthy-diet.html

    Ferret Communities:
    http://www.ferretfriends.org/


    Rabbits

    You’d think that “Adopt A Rescued Rabbit Month” would be in the spring when people have bunnies on the brain–like in April. But no, July is the month that holds the honor. Why? Because it takes a few months for all of the people who bought those cute baby bunnies for Easter gifts to abandon them at the shelter once the bunny has turned into a full-grown rabbit. By July, the kids have grown tired of them, the parents realize the responsibility involved, and thousands of rabbits are being dropped off at shelters across the country.
    “Adopt A Rescued Rabbit Month” was originated by the House Rabbit Society (HRS), an international nonprofit animal rescue and education group, in partnership with the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). The goal has two aims: To educate the public about having rabbits for companion pets, and to help rescue and “re-home” domestic rabbits.
    Rabbits can make fantastic companion pets, as long as you know what you’re in for. They get along with cats and dogs, are smart and affectionate and can learn to use a litter box. They even come when called. However, they have their caveats. According to the ASPCA, you should be aware of these facts when considering a rabbit as a pet:
    • Rabbits cannot live outdoors! Although they’ve traditionally been kept in backyard hutches, these days we know better. Outside, rabbits can die of fright at the approach of a predator, and will be susceptible to diseases spread by ticks and other parasites.
    • In most cases, rabbits and very young kids are not a great match. No doubt, many children love bunnies–but they’ll want to show their love by hugging and picking them up. Rabbits naturally feel insecure when picked up off the ground, and will do anything in their power (or in their powerful legs) to get down. An accidental fall can result in a broken bone. Better to wait until the kids are older.
    • Rabbits need to dig and chew, they can be pretty destructive, so you will need to make sure to give them plenty of opportunity to do that, as well as rabbit-proofing your house.

    How to Care for your Rabbit:
    http://rabbit-rabbits.com/2009/04/rabbit-as-pets/

    Here is a website that is all about Rabbits or you can donate to help rabbits.
    http://www.rabbit.org/


    Guinea Pigs
    One of the most popular pocket-sized pets–especially with small children–is the guinea pig, or cavy. These pets are relatively easy to care for and are very small. They generally live to be between five and eight years old.  Guinea Pigs are mammals which belong to the rodent family having large incisor teeth that are continually growing necessitating gnawing to prevent the teeth from overgrowing. The word 'rodent' is derived from the latin word 'rodere' which means 'to gnaw'.

    Guinea Pigs form the Family Caviidae which is broken down into different Genera and then Species. There are 8 species of guinea pigs but only one is widely kept as a pet. Guinea Pigs have a compact body and no tail and are native to South America where they live in burrows in mountain and grassland areas.

    Find out the basics on guinea pig care, here:
    1. Diet. Guinea pigs should eat a balanced diet of hay, pellets, and fresh fruits and vegetables. The latter are especially important because guinea pigs cannot manufacture their own vitamin C. Pellets contain vitamin C, but most experts believe it is important to supplement them. Other C sources include red and green bell peppers, broccoli, kale, cabbage, spinach, chicory, and leaf lettuces.
    2. Feeding bowls. Ceramic dishes are best for feeding, as is true for most animals. Do not feed in plastic, because this can precipitate various conditions.
    3. Symptoms to watch for. These might warrant immediate attention by a veterinarian: decreased appetite, weight loss or gain, discharge from eyes or nose, diarrhea, limping, lethargy, hair loss, and lumps or bumps.

    All about Guinea Pigs:

    http://www.petwebsite.com/guinea_pigs/about_guinea_pigs.htm

                    

    So You’re Thinking about Getting a Bird?

                              

    Welcoming a pet bird into your home means a world of cheerful song and brilliant plumage—but remember, potential parents, adding a feathered friend to your family is not to be taken lightly. Birds are not easy starter pets—in fact, they require specialized housing and diets, and their veterinary care can be quite costly.

    The ASPCA recommends Canaries, Finches, Cockatiels, and Lovebirds as good choices for first-time bird guardians—but please do not buy him or her from a pet store! Like other exotic pets, millions of birds are taken from their native homes each year to be sold in pet stores. If adoption is not an option, be sure to seek out a reputable bird breeder.

    To help get you on the happy road to bird parenthood, our experts have created a list of the top 10 things you should know before getting a bird. Here’s a sneak peek at their advice:

    • Birds are social butterflies. Birds can be every bit as loving and affectionate as dogs or cats. In fact, they should be taken out of their cages and handled every day for at least an hour. Daily exercise and ample out-of-cage time are the keys to a happy, well-adjusted bird.
    • Birds can be noisy. Birds sing and chirp, but they also squawk and screech. Not all vocalizations are soothing and pleasant; some can be downright ear-splitting. Take this into consideration, especially if you live in an apartment building.
    • Birds are naturally clean. Like cats, birds are self-cleaners, and they preen their feathers daily. No smelly shampoos or flea baths for this feathered pal, keep up your bird’s good looks with a simple nail trim.
    • Birds are sensitive to their environment. It is important to place your pet’s cage in a warm, bright area, close to where the action is but away from drafts and direct sunlight. Avoid kitchens at all costs—birds are extremely sensitive to fumes from self-cleaning ovens and Teflon-coated cookware.

    To read our complete list of top 10 bird tips, visit ASPCA.org.

     http://www.aspca.org/news/national/02-26-10.html#3

     



    Betta Fish

    • Betta Fish

      Second to only goldfish as the most popular breed of pet fish, betta fish are known for their beautiful coloring and the aggressive nature of males of the species. Betta fish are easy to care for,...

    • Fish Bowl

      Since Japanese Fighting fish live in a simple fish bowl with still water it needs to be cleaned by hand on a regular basis. Japanese Fighting Fish can survive in water right from your tap and one...

    • What Is the Life Expectancy of a Male Betta?

      The lifespan for the average male betta fish is around three years. The oldest a betta fish will live is five years. Although reaching the five year mark is rare , there are different steps you...

    • How to Care for Male Betta Fish

      Male Betta fish, often referred to as Siamese Fighting Fish because of their extreme aggressiveness toward one another, come in many varieties such as Ribbon Tail, Crown Tail, King Crown Tail,...

    • How to Set Up a Betta Fish Tank

      Betta fish are beautiful and interesting to watch. They are also great for beginners, due to their robust nature and minimal care requirements. Setting up a betta fish tank is easy, but requires...

    • How to Set up a Betta Tank

      Betta fish are colorful and lively additions to any home. They are unique in that they can breathe air from the surface of water. When setting up a tank for a betta, you can go as fancy as you...

    • How to Make a Betta Fish Tank

      Betta fish are popular pets and it is easy to care for them. They are curious tropical fish that need to stay amused or they get bored and depressed. They also need to have the right temperature...

    • How to Introduce a Betta to a Tank

      Bettas are popular fish for beginners and experts alike; they're very colorful, extremely hardy, and almost always readily available. These fish, often referred to as Siamese fighting fish because...

    • Recommended Aquarium Tank Size for Betta Fish

      All bettas have a labyrinth organ, a lunglike adaptation that enables the fish to breathe air. Because of this, Siamese fighting fish can survive in unusually small, polluted tanks. While the...

    • How to Change the Water In a Fish Bowl

      If you have a beta fish you will need to change the water in the fish bowl quite often. With these steps you can change the water in the fish bowl without having those pesky rocks get into your...

    • How to Choose a Betta Tank

      The MOST IMPORTANT THING: DO NOT KEEP YOUR BETTA IN A VASE WITH A PLANT. There, now to find the perfect tank, follow these simple steps.

    • How to Care For A Betta Fish

      Wondering how to care for your Betta fish aka Siamese fighting fish? Betta fish are make great pets for their ability to survive in less than optimal conditions. However, without the proper care,...

    • To read more: http://www.ehow.com/articles_4876-betta-fish.html

     

     

    Domestic Rats

    Loving, caring and curious, rats make excellent pets! They are different from their wild ancestors in behavior and actions. Pet rats have long been selectively bred for looks, color, and temperament. They are sensitive, playful pets that will surprise you with their intelligence.


    As with choosing any pet, before spending any money, time or heartache, you should ask yourself several questions before buying a pet rat. Rats are clean, intelligent, social animals, and can provide hours of entertainment and fun - but are you ready and able to make a 2-3 year, 365 day commitment to your pets? When work or school calls, when the kids are sick, when the car breaks down, will you still have time to let your stress go and play with your rodent friends? And while most rats will never need a serious visit to the vet, are you willing/able to invest chunks of money if yours happens to need this kind of care? So, before you go to the pet store or rat breeder's, here are some questions to think about.

    • Are you willing to get more than one? As much as you love and play with your rat, you can't devote all your waking hours to him or her. And as ratty as you might like to get, you just can't squeeze into a nest box with your rat and you just can't groom as well as a ratty friend - your rat needs the company of others of his or her own kind.
    • Do you have time to play? At least an hour a day, but preferably more. This doesn't include cage cleaning time, but time that you are socially interacting with your rats. You don't need a lot of space to play on - a lazy-boy chair covered in an old sheet with a favorite human sitting in it is a good ratty playground. Especially if there's towel for burrowing under. A bathroom with the toilet lid down and harmful chemicals put away can also be a good place to play with a watchful human. The important thing, is that you do it - play. Every day. When you feel blue, when you're too busy, regardless.
    • Do you have time to clean? Daily 1 minute poop scooping aside, your rats' cage will need a good cleaning at least once a week. If you have more than two, it may need a good cleaning more often than that. A periodic cage bleaching is probably a good idea, too.
    • Do you have time and resources to cope with sick rats? Most rats are healthy and robust and require very little medical intervention - but can you afford a vet if you need one? Can you wake up every hour to check on a sick rat like you check on a sick child? Can you take time off of work, school if you need to?
    • Do you have what it takes to have your old and ailing rat euthanized ? It happens; rats get old - after only 2 or 3 brief years. Many just pass away of natural causes and just don't wake up one day. But some are in obvious pain and can no-longer enjoy playing or eating. Can you make the tough decisions?
    • Can you provide a large, safe living environment? 2 or more cubic feet of cage per rat minimum comes out to 4 cubic feet minimum for a pair. That's a cage at least 2 foot wide by 2 foot deep by 1 foot tall. Bigger, of course, is better, and allows more room for play and more space for periodic cage redecoration. Taller cages add space for climbing.

    • Read More About Rats as Pets:
    • http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Fields/3513/rats2.htm

     


     

    Aquarium Fish

    It has been shown that children who keep pets have increased emotional development and learn valuable lessons of responsibility and empathy. Tropical fish make ideal pets for children, as they combine the fun and collectible aspects of an affordable hobby with the experience of caring for living things.

    The Fun of a New Aquarium

    The set up process for a new aquarium is an exciting family project. By starting the process from scratch, children gain an insight into every aspect of building a fish habitat. This joy of learning and building is further enhanced when the child shares in the decision making process, selecting aquarium elements and aquascaping the new environment.

    Your Child's Aquarium Is a Teacher

    The best lessons teach through fun. The set up and maintenance of a fish tank teaches children about the totality of our environment, and the many factors of the life-cycle that are interconnected. By entrusting your child with her own miniature world to care for, she learns lessons of responsibility and discipline by meeting the regular needs of her pets. The self-confidence that comes from your child's new found expertise and responsibility will carry over into the other aspects of your child's life.

    Selecting Your Child's First Aquarium

    The child's first aquarium should be primarily designed to be easy to maintain. Selecting an 'all-in-one' package that meets the basic needs of filtration, light, heat, and aeration is a good option to start with. While the temptation to get a very small tank for your child seems intuitive, keep in mind that larger tanks are easier to maintain and keep clean, and offer room for more fish. Above all make sure your child understands each and every aspect of the home aquarium environment, and that your child's choices are part of the buying process.

    Below you will find some fun things to color. You will need a PDF reader to be able to view these pictures. The ones you see below are coloring suggestions, naturally you can color it the way you like when you download the file. Have fun!  

    If you'd like to read more:

    http://www.aquariumproductreviews.com/Aquarium-Activities-for-Kids.php

     


    Hermit Crabs


    Hermit Crabs make great low maintenance pets! They are also very entertaining animals; they can climb, dig, hold on to your shirt with their claws as you walk. All you need to keep a crab is a crabarium (old fish tank), some gravel, extra shells in different sizes, and water and food dishes (make sure the dishes are shallow enough for the crab to easily climb out of) and you are all ready for your crabs!

    Care of the tree crab includes daily feeding and watering. A commercial food from a pet store is sufficient, however you may supplement the diet with fresh fruits and veggies, but you should make sure not to leave un-eaten fruits or veggies in the tank for more than 24 hours. In addition to drinking water, hermit crabs also need to be sprinkled daily with luke warm water to keep them from drying out. Mist from a spray bottle filled with lukewarm water works well. Keep the tank temperature between 70 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. About once a month you should remove all the gravel from the crabarium, rinse it well without soap and let dry before returning it back to the crabarium; this will remove non eaten food, and waste.

    Hermit Crabs need to change homes when they grow, so you will need to provide your crab with extra shells that are 1/3 bigger than it's current shell, because your crab will grow. Hermit Crabs have a hard exoskeleton that does not grow as the crab grows. The crab will shed its exoskeleton and grow a small amount very quickly, until the new exoskeleton hardens; this is called molting. This kewl way of growing allows the hermit crab to replace lost eyes, or appendages!

    There is no way to tell when your hermit crab is about to start molting. You may notice that your crab will become inactive, or may bury himself for up to 2 weeks. Many hermit crab owners may fear that their crabs have died. But if you look carefully you will see a pink undergrowth. In 10 days or so your crab will be fine. It is especially important to keep misting your crabs during the molting period. Small crabs may molt every month or so, but larger crabs only molt 1 time every 18 months.

    Taming your crab is pretty easy...hold your hand open and let it crawl; the more they are played with, the better. Hermit Crabs cannot pinch you if you pick them up by the back part of the shell. If you do happen to get pinched by a crab and he doesn't let go, run quickly to a lukewarm tap water faucet and run a small amount of water over him, he will let go.

    For specific care information, see Housing Hermit Crabs and Feeding Hermit Crabs, both on this site.
    http://exoticpets.about.com/cs/hermitcrabs/a/hermitcrabs.htm

    Hermit Crab Pet Communities:

    http://hermit-crabs.com/

     

                            

                                       

    Budgies

     

    Keeping Budgies As Pets

    Budgies: Colorful, attractive, sociable birds that are easy to keep and look after.  They originate from Australia and can live up to 15 years - so choosing one as a pet is a long-term commitment.  They can be kept alone but prefer the company of their own species. If kept indoors they will need regular daily exercise outside their cage and are at their most active during the daytime, sleeping once it gets dark.

    Housing

    Budgies can be housed indoors in a large wire cage with a plastic base or outdoors in a purpose-built aviary. The cage should have some horizontal bars on it to allow climbing – this means many round cages are unsuitable. Bars should be no wider than 12mm apart to prevent escape. Kept outdoors, your aviary should allow room for the birds to fly around properly. Budgies kept indoors will need to be let out of their cage daily to exercise – make sure you keep all doors and windows closed when you do this. Covering the cage with a cloth at night will encourage your Budgie to settle down for sleep. You should provide a bath for your bird, either fixed to the outside of the cage or a shallow bowl placed inside the cage – although some birds may prefer to be sprayed with tepid water instead. The cage should also contain plenty of toys to keep your Budgie amused, particularly if it is kept on its own.

    Types of Budgie

    Budgies come in a vast array of colours and markings including pied, spangled, opaline, blue, green, grey, yellow faces, lutino and albino.

    Feeding

    Budgies in the wild eat a wide range of seeds, grains, and vegetation. A good-quality Budgerigar / Parakeet mix makes a good basic diet although supplements may also be required such as cuttlefish which acts as a vitamin supplement, environmental enrichment, and also helps grind the beak down. Small pieces of fresh fruit and vegetables may also be given as treats and fresh drinking water should always be available. Certain foods can be harmful to your Budgie - avoid giving your pet lettuce, avocado, lemon, potato, or any sweets or drinks designed for human consumption.

    Looking after your Budgies

    Exercise & Entertainment:
    Budgies are intelligent and inquisitive birds that enjoy playing and climbing. Toys are essential to stimulate them mentally and physically – especially important for birds kept on their own. Budgies can also be taught to mimic sounds and talk. If they hear the same words repeatedly from the same person they may pick them up and begin mimicking the words or phrases. A solitary bird will need more attention and affection than a pair or group and should be handled every day.

    For More Information:

     http://www.petsworld.co.uk/budgies.htm

     


    Turtles 

    Like many other reptiles and amphibians, turtles are fascinating to children.  However, many people buy turtles based on their "novelty factor", never taking into account the animal's special needs.  When you purchase a cat or a dog, there are always several costly procedures that must be taken to ensure their good health and longevity; shots, operations etc., not to mention crates, toys, dog houses, and grooming products.  Turtles aren't as complicated to care for, but many die in captivity because they aren't treated with the same degree of care and attention their fur-bearing counterparts.  If they are properly cared for, turtles can live for many decades, but this requires you pay close attention to their diets, living arrangements, and treatment. Making sure a turtle has enough room to live in, making sure it has enough light, shade, and moisture, clean water, and a basking lamp are just a few of the steps you need to undertake to keep your pet turtles healthy. In some cases, people choose to try and recreate a turtle's natural habitat as authentically as possible, and this sometimes mean setting up a turtle pen outside.  Doing so means your turtle will hibernate in the fall, which is great if you plan to breed turtles, since their natural cycles aren't being tampered with.  Also, turtles which do not hibernate have been known to develop liver diseases.  If you have small children, it would be best to make sure they do not disturb turtles attempting to hibernate by digging them out. This also means you won't be seeing your turtle until late spring, when it comes out of hibernation.

    As far as water is concerned, avoid using tap water for your turtle tank, as chlorine and fluoride are present in tap water, and can disturb the ph balance.  Use natural spring water for your turtle's drinking water,  and de-chlorinated water for the swimming area.  You can remove the chlorine from water by letting it sit for 24 hours before putting it in the tank.  Some people ague that using chlorinated water helps prevent deadly bacteria from forming, but we'll let you decide. Also steer clear of using tree bark or wood chips in the turtle's dwelling.  These are fine for rodents, but can cause problems with turtles who may ingest them.  Furthermore, these will get contaminated very fast, and favor the growth of mold and fungus.  It would also be a good idea to try and reproduce natural lighting conditions in the turtle's tank.  Try and place the tank in a room where the lighting does not change too often.  Turtles generally require 12 hours of sunlight, and using a proper UV lamp will help the turtle get the amount of vitamin D3 it requires to stay healthy.  This is why turtles bask in the sun out in the wild.

    Your turtle should also have a simple shelter to retreat too when it gets tired of being out in the open.  This can easily be made out of wood, or carefully selected stones.  If you want to add vegetation to your turtle's tank, make sure these plants are non-poisonous to the turtles, since there is a strong chance they will try to eat them.

    Keep your turtle out of the way so that small children, or other house pets cannot get to it.  Remember to stay attentive to your turtle's behavior, and take care of it as you would take care of any other pet.  A turtle is not a novelty item, it is a living being, and it is also intelligent enough to know who its friends and enemies are.  A happy turtle can provide years of enjoyment for your whole family, and is a great way to help teach younger children about responsibilities.

    If you'd like to read more:

    http://www.ehow.com/how_2321453_care-pet-turtle.html

     


    Ant Farms

    How About an Ant Farm?


    I'm sure that your parents may say "no" because they think of the ants that invade houses and eat food or gnaw at the wood in the walls. If you have a proper ant farm and learn how to prevent them from escaping, you will see the wonderful world of these fascinating creatures.

    What is an ant farm?

    Ants love to make tunnels underground. You need to have a glass or clear plastic container so you can see inside. Some people use a glass or plastic jar, fishbowl or small aquarium. You need to put peat moss or sand in the container. If you plan to have dark ants, use light-colored sand. Use peat moss if you have light-colored ants. Dampen the sand or peat moss with water; otherwise, the tunnels will collapse if it's too dry. As soon as you put the ants in the container, they will get busy and start digging. You should also put some small twigs and stones on top of the sand so they have something to explore. There are some little decorations you can get at pet stores. To prevent the ants from escaping, you can use a screen that has small mesh as a lid. Some people use a cloth that is tightly stretched across the top of the container, or you can poke very tiny air holes in a metal lid. Be sure the ants cannot get through the holes! I've also heard that if you put Vaseline along the top edges of the container, the ants will not crawl over it.

    If you don't want to make your own ant farm, you can buy a ready-made one at a toy store or pet store. There are lots of different styles to choose from. Some look like space ships or cities. Whatever you use for an ant farm, do not move it once the ants are settled in. If you move it, their tunnels will cave in.

    What do ants like to eat?

    First of all, ants need water. The easiest way to give them water is to put a cotton ball dampened with water in the farm about every 2 days. Some people fill a test tube with water and plug the end with a cotton ball. Ants like to eat little pieces of fruit and vegetables or a mixture of honey & water, bread crumbs, or bread dipped in water & sugar or bread dipped in honey. Do not feed them too much or use big pieces. The ants carry the food down their tunnels to a storage space.

    If you'd like to read more:

    http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/pets_great_small/111102

    Another good kids website for Ant Farms: www.discoverthis.com/gel-ant-farm.html

     

    Frogs

    Important! Frogs can make lovely pets, but frogs in the wild are facing population declines and extinction largely as a result of human activities. Unfortunately, the pet trade is likely contributing to the amphibian extinction crisis and the spread of an devastating infection by Chytrid fungus. For this reason, you should only buy frogs that you are sure are captive bred locally and tested to be free of disease. It may be impossible to find frogs which meet these conditions, but otherwise, pet frogs may be contributing to the decline of wild frog populations.

    More Things to Think About When Considering a Pet Frog

    • Frogs in captivity are quite long lived (with proper care), so be prepared for a long term commitment. Average life spans are typically 4-15 years, although some have been known to live longer.
    • Keeping frogs' enclosures clean can be a lot of work. Many frogs have fairly simple light, temperature, and humidity requirements, but they are very sensitive to contaminants and waste in their environment.
    • Some people find frogs boring, though some of the smaller frogs are quite active. However, many of the larger frogs are quite sedentary and don't move around much.
    • You need to handle insects to feed most frogs. Some of the larger frogs will even eat pinky mice.
    • It can be difficult to find someone to care for your frogs if you plan on travelling at all (keeping in mind you could have your frog for years, you may eventually need someone to look after your frogs for a significant length of time).

    Before You Get a Pet Frog

    As with any other kind of pet, doing lots of research prior to deciding on the type of frog that best suits your needs is the best way to make sure you and your frog will be happy. Set up a tank with everything needed before getting a frog. Things to consider include:

    • Grown size of frogs. Some of the smallest frogs you might see in a pet store grow into giants. Sometimes their name adds to the confused expectations -- "pixie" frogs, which sound like they should be small, are actually African bullfrogs which grow to be 8-9 inches long and very fat. They get their cute name from their latin name, Pyxicephalus adspersus.
    • The kind of tank they will need - aquatic, terrestrial, arboreal, or semi-aquatic (or half land and half water, which is probably the trickiest to set up and one of the most common types of tank needed for frogs).
    • The type of food required - many frogs need a variety of insects, and the larger types can even eat pinkie mice
    • Does the frog need to hibernate?
    • Good Choices for beginners:
    • Dwarf Frogs: small, active and completely aquatic, and are among the easiest of frogs to keep in captivity.
    • Oriental Fire Bellied Toads: semi-terrestrial frogs that are fairly active and relatively easy to keep as pets.
    • White's Tree Frog: terrestrial (tree frogs) that are docile and easy to keep, but they do tend to be fairly inactive.
    • African Clawed Frogs: aquatic frogs that get quite large (be careful not to confuse young African clawed frogs with the much smaller dwarf clawed frogs). Care is not that difficult, though.
    • American Green Tree Frogs: another good tree frog suitable for beginners.
    • Pacman Frogs: mostly terrestrial frogs are pretty easy to care for, but get quite large and are quite sedentary.

    • If you'd like to read more:
    • http://exoticpets.about.com/cs/frogsandtoads/a/frogsaspets.htm

     

                       

    Geckos

    If your older child is begging for a pet of the reptile form, why not suggest a lizard? As we all know, lizards come in many shapes and sizes. Here are some basic guidelines to help you in preparing and caring for your new gecko. One of the first things you may want to take into consideration is a gecko’s lifespan. Geckos can live for up to twenty-five years, so acquiring a gecko is a pretty big decision. If this gecko will, indeed, be your child’s, it may be around from his elementary years up until he finally moves off to college, so you and your child must be committed for the duration. Fortunately, geckos do not grow to be very large, many only reaching up to eight inches long, so you will not need a particularly large habitat for it.

    Before your gecko arrives, you will need to purchase a cage made specifically for a reptile or an aquarium that can hold ten gallons. However, if you plan on purchasing more than one gecko, you may need a larger aquarium. One important matter you will want to keep in mind is that two male geckos in the same habitat is not a particularly good idea, as males tend to become extremely territorial. Speak with a reputable pet store about any recommended aquarium lining, but most will say that lining your aquarium with old newspaper pages or sand is fine. Lining the aquarium with sand may sound odd at first, but consider that geckos are primarily desert animals. Being desert animals, geckos also need a warm habitat, so be sure to keep the habitat quite warm (anywhere from 85 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit). Inside your new gecko’s habitat, you may want to include a box or two for your gecko to sleep and hide in, as well as a few rocks or branches for your gecko to climb upon.

    As for food, be sure to always have fresh water and food available for your new gecko. Again, be sure to speak with a reputable pet store, but most geckos can choose from a wide array of food including mealworms, fresh cricket and even baby mice. If you are unsure where to purchase these types of foods, you may want to speak to a representative from a local pet store that specializes in geckos, or you may want to research these food sources online.

    When you finally bring your gecko home, you may not want to handle him too much. While geckos are not particularly afraid of being picked up, they do not always prefer it. Also, be gentle with a gecko’s tail, as it can break off if yanked on too hard. Before and after handling your gecko, you will want to be sure to sanitize your hands as geckos secrete salmonella.

    If you'd like to read more:

    http://www.essortment.com/hobbies/carelizard_tvac.htm

     

     

    Chinchillas And Degus   



    The Chinchilla and the Degus are two closely related mammals that come from alpine areas of Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina. 


    Chinchillas live at the higher altitudes of this area, which is considered a "high desert," with daily variations in temperatures from 0 to 75 degrees F, thin air, extremely low humidity and frequent high winds. Degus are generally found at somewhat lower altitudes, mostly in coastal areas and foothills. Both degus and chinchillas are uniquely suited to this harsh environment. Some of their adaptations include dense coats, paws covered in fur, and a natural diet comprised primarily of marginal foods. Currently considered rodents, degus and chichillas are members of the sub-order Caviomorpha, which also includes Patagonian cavies, capybaras, agoutis, and other rodents native exclusively to South and Central America. There is some disagreement in scientific circles about this classification. This debate is based on several differences between these animals and "typical" rodents - such as lifespan, gestation period, and social behavior.


    Chinchillas As Pets

    Chinchillas have existed in the wild, on ranches and in zoos for many years, however, it is only recently that chinchillas have been considered as pets. These animals are nocturnal and become very active, jumping and climbing during the night. Chinchillas need to be handled correctly so that they feel secure and safe. When it becomes accustomed to you, the chinchilla should enjoy being stroked and held. However, these animals are not normally suitable pets for young children.   

    Degus As Pets

    Degus need a large cage, because they need to run and climb a lot. The best thing to do in the cage is to build several floors, so the living space will be larger and the Degus can climb up and down and stay fit. Degus love a wheel. An 11" wheel is ideal. A Degu's tail can get stuck in a wire wheel, so buy a solid one. Degus that are always on wire floors develop "bumblefoot", which is very painful for them - place newspaper on top of wire floors or untreated pine panelling can be cut into lengths to cover the mesh floors. Straw mats can also be used to cover the mesh floor. They like running in the living room too, but be aware of cables, wooden furniture and cats and dogs. After a while they often go back in their cage by themselves. You can 'surprise' your Degus with a dust bath: if you put some sand in a cup, your Degus will take a bath in it. They really like this!

    Read more on these wonderful pets:

    http://www.petsuperstoredirect.co.uk/index.asp

    http://www.petsdo.com/blog/ten-apartment-pets-can-be-better-cats-and-dogs

    http://www.degu-hut.com/

     


    Tadpoles

    Tadpole development - eggs
    Eggs
    Tadpole Development - Eggs part two
    Tadpole Eggs
    Tadpole Development - Eggs part three
    Tadpole  Eggs
    Tadpole
    Tadpole
    Tadpole to Frog Metamorphosis Picture
    Tadpole to Frog Metamorphosis - Intermediate Stage
    Tadpole to Frog Metamorphosis Picture
    Tadpole to Frog Metamorphosis - Developing Legs
    Tadpole to Frog Metamorphosis  - Frog Picture
    Tadpole to Frog Metamorphosis - Frog
    Tadpole to Frog Metamorphosis  - Frog Picture
    Tadpole to Frog Metamorphosis -

     

    Tadpoles

    Raising tadpoles as they turn into frogs is fascinating experience. The process is called metamorphosis, which means a change in form or habit as part of the development of an organism.
    Obtaining Frog Eggs and Tadpoles. Before you gather eggs or tadpoles from the wild to raise at home, check your laws. Collecting tadpoles or eggs is illegal in many places, so check with your government wildlife or environment agency before doing so. If it is legal where you live and you decide to collect eggs or tadpoles, make sure to just take a few and leave the rest in their natural environment. This will reduce the impact on the environment, and growing tadpoles take a lot of space and work. You may be able to release frogs raised from eggs or tadpoles harvested from the wild, but you should check this with your wildlife department as well. However, if the frogs turn out to be a non-native species, don't release them. You should be prepared to keep the adult frogs in the even that you can not release them. Frog eggs are laid in gelatinous clumps and are clear with black dots in the center. They can often be found at the edge of ponds just under the water especially in areas where there is lots of algae. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has a neat guide to frog eggs and development time lines for several common North American species. There is also a thorough technical guide to tadpole identification available on the US Geological Survey site.
    The Container
    You will need a good sized container for your tadpoles, such as a garden pond, child's swimming pool, or good sized aquarium or plastic container. Ideally, you can keep them outdoors as this will better mimic natural conditions and they will get the sunlight they need, but the container must be partially shaded. Tadpoles tend to prefer shallow water. Rocks or smooth gravel can be placed at the bottom. Of course, as the frogs mature, a way for them to get out of the water must be provided -- a partially submerged rock or piece of wood, or a gravel slope to a land area. Add some aquatic plants, which will help with oxygenation of the water and provide a place to hide (and some snacks if algae grows on the plants). Leafy underwater plants are a better choice than surface covering plants for adding oxygen.
    Water
    Use only dechlorinated fresh water; let it stand in the sun for a few days to let all the chlorine dissipate, or treat with dechlorination drops as for aquariums. Tadpoles are extremely sensitive to the presence of chlorine and heavy metals.
    Note: the tadpoles should not be handled as their skin is very sensitive to the natural oils and traces of soap or chemicals on our hands. Always rinse your hands very well before doing any tank maintenance, feeding, etc.

    Metamorphosis: The Tadpoles Become Frogs http://exoticpets.about.com/od/frogsandtoads/a/tadpoles_2.htm

    If you'd like to read more:
    http://exoticpets.about.com/od/frogsandtoads/a/tadpoles.htm

     


     

    Iguanas

    Green iguanas can be bought at many pet stores and are relatively easy to care for. Some people tend to think that the green iguana is a difficult pet to manage and take care of. Learn how to care for your green iguana and enjoy your new pet.

    Green iguanas can be bought at many pet stores and are relatively easy to care for. Some people tend to think that the green iguana is a difficult pet to manage and take care of. Learn how to care for your green iguana and enjoy your new pet.

    1. Step 1

      Buy a terrarium. This type of housing is what most green iguanas live in. Make sure it is big enough for your green iguana to have space and also so you can place the things he needs within the cage. Also buy bowls for them that are not easy to tip over.

    2. Step 2

      Remove the items you place inside your iguana's terrarium and make sure it is clean. Whatever you place inside the terrarium must not be easily ingested by the iguana.

    3. Step 3

      Buy fresh bok choy, cilantro, turnips, kale, dandelions greens and almost any greens you can find. These strict herbivores have their name not only for their looks, but for their love of greens as well. You can also give them vegetables and fruits as well as apples and sweet peppers. Chop or shred any vegetables or fruits you may give your iguana to avoid any digestive issues.

    4. Step 4

      Provide your green iguana with a calcium supplement every week as well. Always put fresh water for your pet to drink. Keep your green iguana on a regular feeding schedule, at least once a day.

    5. Step 5

      Maintain your green iguana's nails. They tend to grow very long and can scratch people when they are being held. Make sure you cut them with the right tool every few weeks.

    Read more about Iguanas:

    http://www.ehow.com/how_5012568_paper-train-green-iguana.html

    http://www.care2.com/greenliving/the-right-food-for-your-green-iguana.html


     

    Ponies

    Mommy/Daddy I want a pony! If you've heard that statement, and owning a pony is a possibility you will want to do some careful research. Buying a child's first pony is a large expense and a 365 day a year responsibility.

    If you're prepared to take on the responsibility, you'll want to buy the safest pony you can. No doubt you're getting some pressure to buy a pony now! But take your time and get all the answers to your questions before you buy your child's first pony.

    When is it Time to Buy Your Child a Pony?

    By , About.com Guide

    Your child 
should be happy about taking care of the pony, and not just riding it.

    Your child should be happy about taking care of the pony, and not just riding it.

    Question: When is it Time to Buy Your Child a Pony?
    Parents know that children go through phases. Toys and games that were all consuming last week are now under the bed collecting dust. Many little girls seem to go through a horse crazy phase. How can you tell when it is time to buy that first pony?
    Answer: Before you consider buying a pony you child should be taking riding lessons. Help your child learn all they can about keeping a pony. Your child will need to know how to lead, groom, saddle and bridle, muck out stalls and keep a pony healthy. Lessons and clubs like Pony Club are the best places to learn this.

    You know your child best. Are they eager to get out the door and ready with helmet and boots, or do you have to remind them that it's time to leave and be properly dressed for their lesson? Observe your child during lessons. Are they attentive and enthusiastic, or does their attention wander? Do they brush the instructor off and answer every instruction with 'I know', or do they try to apply what they are being told?

    Do they get off the pony and hand it to the instructor, or are they excited about unsaddling the pony and putting it in its stall. Are they enthusiastic about being invited to equipment and stall cleaning sessions, or do they avoid any extra work?

    If your child shows enthusiasm for all aspects of riding and pony care after several months of lessons it might be time for their own pony.

    If you'd like to read more and have some questions answered:

    http://horses.about.com/od/buyingyourfirsthorse/f/childsponywhen.htm


     

    Snakes

    Snakes are fascinating, and with regular handling can be quite tame. However, snakes are obviously not the right pets for everyone. They have unique requirements and should only be kept by those with the commitment to understand and meet their needs. If you are new to pet snakes, find out what you should consider before deciding on a pet snake, and what species are the best snakes for beginners.

    Choosing a Snake as a Pet - First Things First

    • When choosing a snake, you are making a long term commitment - many can be expected to live longer than 20 years.
    • You must be willing to feed prey animals to your snake (though frozen, pre-killed prey is the best choice), and you will probably have to devote some freezer space to frozen prey items (i.e. rodents).
    • Snakes are very adept escape artists, so make sure you have an escape-proof tank, keeping in mind that snakes are persistent about finding and squeezing through any small gaps.
    • Finally, as beautiful as they are, I strongly recommend against anyone keeping large constricting snakes or venomous snakes.

    About Choosing Your Snake
    Get a captive bred snake from a reputable breeder, if at all possible. Wild caught snakes tend to be more stressed and prone to parasites and disease, and more difficult to tame. For more about the advantages of captive bred reptiles, see Should I Get a Wild Caught or Captive Bred Reptile?

    You will also want to do a cursory exam of your snake to check for any signs of illness: see Choosing a Healthy Reptile for areas and signs to look at.

    It also doesn't hurt to ask for a feeding demonstration, to make sure your new snake is readily taking pre-killed prey and feeding well. Ball pythons are somewhat notorious for having feeding problems, so this is especially a good idea with ball pythons (though if you get a captive breed ball python it seems less likely that feeding problems will crop up).

    Recommended Beginner Snakes
    These are all reasonably sized, fairly easy to care for, and tend to be quite docile:

    Snakes to Avoid
    Beginners should avoid large constricting snakes, venomous snakes, and snakes with more difficult care requirements, including such snakes as:

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