Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Why a Cute Critter From the Rodent Family Could Be Your Ideal Pet

Do you adore the sight of adorable hamsters, gerbils, rabbits or chinchillas in a pet store? They have certainly found their way into cartoons, stories, and cute greeting cards. Rabbit lore brings to mind the literary work of Beatrix Potter, especially the one about the fuzzy little miscreant Peter who sneaked into a farmer's garden and had a feast before getting chased down. They area farmer's foe, but pet rabbits are a different story. They are equally sought out as pets as are hamsters, guinea pigs, gerbils, and rats-all members of the rodent family.

Do you still maintain the notion that pet hamsters are more of a "starter pet", given to children who are angling for a dog, but the parents want to make sure he is up to the job of caretaking, so he is allowed a smaller type of pet needing less upkeep or attention. I've seen more than enough classified ads with people looking to rehome a gerbil or guinea pig because the kids have gone off to college and the dorm they will be moving into does not allow pets. That's a real shame. As a rule, small rodents generally do not live as long as cats and dogs, but they do have some lifespan in them, for them to end up being left behind. If you are all grown-up and subscribe to the mindset that pet rodents are "just for kids" you will miss out on the fun and enriching experience of rodent ownership. Lots of devoted pet enthusiasts of all ages own and enjoy the company of a small furry pet mammal. There are many shows, ownership clubs and competitions to attest to this.

As someone who once owned pet hamsters and a white rat, I can tell you a good bit on their habitat needs. Now while hamsters and gerbils will be content to live in a cage that is well-ventilated and plentiful with fun activities like tunnels and mazes, rabbits need a much bigger home than that. As a matter of fact, rabbit habitats are called "hutches" not "cages". There needs to be plenty of romping room. However, the structure of a rabbit habitat is very similar to that of their smaller cousins'. The construction of the home must be made with certain durability in mind: Rodents are notorious chewers. Most small rodent homes are made out of durable plastic or wire construction. Rabbit homes are made the same way. Hamsters chew on cardboard (think toilet paper tubes-which I always kept for them) and rabbits need a steady diet of wood due to the nature of their ever-growing incisor teeth. That's point one-very important.

Rodents are also herbivorous, meaning that they subsist on a diet of veggies and fruits. Nuts and seeds also should supplement their diets. There's a few baddies here and there that you do not want to give to your pet. Onions should not be given to hamsters and romaine lettuce is a much better bet than iceberg due to greater nutritional content. If we are talking about raw standards such as broccoli, carrots, kale, or cauliflower, you can't go wrong; but fruit should be offered gradually into their diets so as to not cause potential for diarrhea. They also need plenty of good, fresh water, that must come from a hanging cage type of bottle, not the kind of water dish given to your cat or dog.

Rodents also need soft bedding. Cedar chips are commonly used; although I switched to a brand of bedding from a pet store that supposedly had much better odor control. Odor control is definitely a must: these furry friends of yours will do some major pooping! That is one reason many pet experts do NOT recommend glass aquarium tanks sporting a screened lid as is common with reptile habitats as good homes for mice, gerbils, and hamsters-ventilation is very important. They also need a "hideaway" they can scurry away to for safety when they feel threatened, as rodents have many enemies in the wild-it is part of their natural instinct to hide from perceived danger.

The smaller the pet, the shorter its lifespan may be, so ask yourself if you can prioritize your time to accompany a small critter's needs. Hamsters, mice, and gerbils can live up to five years, guinea pigs, chinchillas and rabbits may easily make it to 10 years; however, these are just averages. Now, on to the question of having more than one- rodents like having a buddy around, so two can be better than one - ideally of the same gender, mind you, or they will breed (like crazy!) So if you can keep in mind the main pointers above and never underestimate their importance, you should be well on your way to successful furry small pet ownership. Have fun and don't forget you can always find other critter owners to interact with on discussion groups to share ideas, new information, or even participate in a club or contest!

Exotic Pets - Caring For Big, Non-Domestic Cats

Cat lovers might think that the ultimate experience in their lives may be to have a big non-domestic cat as a pet. The idea of having a big cat of one type or another may seem fascinating, alluring and possibly even beneficial to the animal but there are a number of very serious considerations to take into account. Here we look at the main issues.


Let's start with the purely practical - keeping a big cat is extremely expensive. Just buying the cat is a sizeable chunk of money with a Bobcat costing in the region of $900, a serval or caracal around the $1500-2000 mark, a tiger cub £2500 and an ocelot as high as $15,000. This is just for the initial outlay for the animal itself and doesn't cover any of the other expenses such as housing and of course the big one - food.

In addition to the cost of buying the animal, you will also need to have state and federal permits that can be expensive, awkward to obtain and will keep needing to be renewed, with a cost associated each time. If the permits aren't correct, your animal can be seized. You will also often be required to have special liability insurance in place in case the cat causes damage or harm.


Many states have specific requirements about the amount of land and other facilities you need before you can consider getting a big cat. For most, this is at least 5 acres of land and this land must have an eight-foot perimeter fence around it. This wall cannot be part of a cage either so if you are keeping them in an enclosure, this needs to be inside and separate to the perimeter fence. You must also have a roof on the area to prevent them escaping.

Vet care

Another issue is finding a vet able and willing to deal with this kind of animal and who will be on call is there is a problem. Most don't want the risk of having themselves or their staff exposed to this kid of animal. You will need a piece of equipment called a squeeze cage that can handle the entirety of your cat's weight and their full size to be able to have people check it if there is a problem and these can cost anywhere up to $2000 alone. Not only that but the logistics of getting an 800 pound animal anywhere will likely involve a fork lift truck as well as very substantial a transport vehicle.


Big cats need meat and a lot of it. There are no commercial big cat foods you will find in the supermarket so this means finding a butcher or other supplier who will be able to fulfil your needs. And these cats need a diet that cannot be varied without risking the cat's physical and mental health. Dealing with all of that raw meat is also a health hazard so needs to be done in a careful and specific way to protect both the cat and the humans in the home.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Proper Freshwater Crayfish Care

Having pet crayfish can be a pretty fun hobby. Especially if you have one of the pretty electric blue crayfish. Well those are my favorite anyway. When getting started with crayfish however, you want to make sure you have a good understanding of freshwater crayfish care.

The Crayfish Habitat

Crayfish are pretty low maintenance. They don't need much and are easy to take care of... And this is probably the main reason why I like them so much. Plus mine is blue.

However there are a few things you need to provide your little critter with for proper freshwater crayfish care. And that is a habitat.

The crayfish habitat is quite simple actually. First I suggest buying a small fish tank. A ten gallon tank is a perfect size. Then you will want to place a hideout of some sort in the tank. Like a piece of PVC or a hideout from any pet store.

A crayfish likes to burrow and needs a place to hide out when he moults so he is not susceptible to attacks from fish and other crayfish.

Next you will want to condition the water you add to the tank and cycle the tank before you add any fish or crayfish to the tank. You can learn how to set up a crayfish tank on plenty of sites on the web.

Crayfish Food

Finding the right crayfish food is a pretty easy task and a very important part of freshwater crayfish care. Crayfish are omnivores and eat pretty much everything. They will eat plants and just as a note, the love fish and will eat any fish they can get their claws on. That's just a little warning.

It's very likely that one day you may come home from work and find one of your fish just missing. However, there are fish that have a higher success rate with crayfish than others. I'll talk about those in a minute.

So back to food. You can feed your crayfish feeder fish from the store, or you can just feed them sinking wafers. Personally I suggest feeding them one sinking wafer every day. Crayfish put out a lot of waste and if you have other fish, this can affect the tanks chemistry. If your crayfish does get lucky and catch himself a fish one day, I would let him go a day without food. He'll be perfectly fine.

Crayfish Tank Mates

You probably want your crayfish to have tank mates. Heck, it's pretty cool to have some fish in the tank and watch them swim around and interact with each other. But you have to know what types of fish will work well with a crayfish.

As I said earlier, crayfish love to eat fish. Because of this, you will want to get fish that swim fast and/or near the top of the tank. Currently I have a red tail shark, tiger barbs and a danio in my tank. These work great with the crayfish.


Monday, August 21, 2017

Caring For Blue Crayfish

I have pet crayfish. It's a really cool and maybe weird hobby to some, but it is definitely fun. You get to watch your little critters carry rocks. Jump off of ornaments in the tank, chase fish and sometimes just get lazy and burrow in their hideouts. - And with two crayfish sometimes you get to watch them fight.

As far as the fighting goes, sometimes it can get dangerous. I had to learn this the hard way with my first crayfish. He was an electric blue crayfish.

Shortly after getting my first blue crayfish, I decided it was time for a second one, so I bought a white critter.

At first everything was okay. However, there was one problem. I only had one hideout in a ten gallon fish tank. The problem with having two crayfish and one hideout is pretty easy to figure out.

Over time, my crayfish starting sparring a bit, but they didn't hurt each other. Then one day, they were going nuts all over the tank only taking breaks to hide for a few minutes. This is when I decided to get another hideout so each crayfish could have their own home.

I immediately went out to the pet store and bought a second hideout. I thought this would be a great way to cut back on the crayfish fighting.

When I got back home from getting a second hideout, I had a surprise waiting on me. Actually it was more like a blue murder scene. Unfortunately my white crayfish, who is almost clear, had ripped apart my electric blue crayfish and was eating him. This was a little upsetting as you could see blue inside of my white crayfish.

So anyway, in order to keep your crayfish safe, below are just a few important tips on crayfish care when you have two or more of the little critters..

Keeping them Fed

Many times crayfish will get aggressive when they are hungry. - Kind of like us people do when we are hungry. The only difference is we won't, or shouldn't, eat one of our own. Crayfish on the other hand seem to have no problem with eating each other. So be sure to keep your crayfish fed. Hungry crayfish can equal dead and missing fish and/or other crayfish.

Separate Hideouts

I've talked a little about this one already. Separate hideouts are very important if you have multiple crayfish. Crayfish are very territorial creatures and if you only have one hideout in your tank, this can lead to crayfish violence. So invest in a second hideout.

Same Species

Lastly, never mix different species of crayfish together.

Elvis enjoys coffee, road trips and blogging about just about everything.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Tips on Freshwater Crayfish Care

Freshwater crayfish are beautiful and fascinating creatures to house in an aquarium. There are over 100 different species of crayfish which differ in color, from yellow to green and brown to red. Most of them live up to 3 years, though some may live longer. Nonetheless there is more to keeping crayfish than just throwing them in the tank. Even though they live in mud when in the wild, ensuring that the creature is both healthy and happy at all times is very important.

You must pay attention to a number of factors including, water chemistry and quality, whom they are sharing the tank with and diet. You must also understand that different species of the fish have slightly different needs, temperaments and behavior. Here is a comprehensive guide on freshwater crayfish care:

Water parameters

This is one of the most important factors associated with freshwater crayfish care. If the water conditions in the aquarium are not right, your fish may become uncomfortable or even die. So before you start keeping crayfish learn about cycling your fish tank. Here are some other great points to consider:

- Make sure you keep the water at a Ph. level between 7 and 8.

- Crayfish will do fine at room temperature water, but do not let the water get too hot, above (80 F/26 C).

- Crayfish thrive well in hard water. The minimum water hardness should be between (8-12 dGH and KH (140-210).

- Crayfish that are deficient in iodine usually experience problems when molting. The easiest way to make sure that they have enough iodine is to purchase marine iodine. A single bottle can last you several months.

- Just like any other fish tank, changing your filters monthly and 25 percent water of your water every two weeks is very important with freshwater crayfish care.

What do crayfish eat?

Crayfish are omnivores, meaning they feed on plants and animals; mainly fish. Usually pet crayfish are fed sinking pellets. In addition to that, vegetables like zucchini, spinach, frozen peas and collard greens are also great for crayfish. You can supplement their diet with feeder fish every now and then. Crayfish absolutely love fish. So don't be surprised if one of your fish come up missing one day.

Also note that the fish require a lot of calcium to help them grow their exoskeleton. This basically means that in your aquarium, you should make sure that they are receiving enough calcium in their diet. Vegetables like spinach and collard greens are great sources of calcium. It is also acceptable to give them a supplement of brine shrimp or frozen krill once or twice a week.

How often do they eat?

Freshwater crayfish only need to be fed once a day. But plant food can be left in the aquarium indefinitely. If your crayfish eats a fish, and leaves pieces of the fish, make sure you remove the pieces quickly.

Can I keep crayfish in a tank with live plants?

Crayfish feed on anything they come across. Even though this may not be true for all crayfish, it is safe to assume that they will eat or destroy your plants. That is why it's always a good idea to have artificial plants for your tank.


Most animals including crustaceans like freshwater crayfish undergo a process known as molting. This is shedding of their exoskeleton so as to accommodate the fish's growth. If you note that the fish is hiding more or eating less than usual, it may be a sign that he his molting. When they molt do not remove the shell from the aquarium, he will consume it to facilitate growth of the new exoskeleton.

With these freshwater crayfish care tips, you should be able to have a healthy pet crayfish. Their lifecycle is very fascinating to watch and the fish will sometimes do things that will make you laugh out loud. Take care of them properly and they will reward you with several years of enjoyment.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Freshwater Crayfish Care: Tank Mates

Freshwater crayfish are fascinating creatures and keeping them as pets can be a really fun hobby. However, if you plan on getting some tank mates for your pet crayfish, there are a few things you need to consider.

The Size of the Aquarium

If you are going to get your crayfish a few tank mates, you will need at least a 10 gallon aquarium. Anything smaller just won't work. A tank smaller than 10 gallons is simply too small for a crayfish. Also a tank smaller than 10 gallons will not be efficient for filtering out toxins produced by the fish and the crayfish in the tank. Plus, for a crayfish, living in a fish tank that is smaller than 10 gallons would be like you living in your closet. - Not cool. So it goes without saying that the size of your crayfish's fish tank is an essential part of freshwater crayfish are.

The Right Tank Mates

When finding the right tank mates for your crayfish, you will need to consider a few things. Mainly the fact that crayfish love to eat fish. - But that doesn't mean every fish you put into the tank will become crayfish dinner. If you select the right fish, they should do just fine in the tank with your crayfish.

The right tank mates will be fish who swim near the top of the tank and/or are fast swimmers. Fish that swim on the bottom of the tank or swim slow are at a much higher risk of being caught and eaten by a crayfish. Some examples of good freshwater crayfish tank mates are hatchet fish, danios, red tail sharks and tiger barbs. I have all of these fish in my tank and I have zero problems.

As far as putting other crayfish into your tank, this can be iffy. Crayfish are very territorial and cannibalistic. They have absolutely no problem eating their brother. If you have a 10 gallon tank, I advise you to only put one more crayfish into your tank if at all. Personally I think one crayfish is ideal for a 10 gallon tank. I've already gone through the whole ordeal of having two crayfish in my tank. It was fine at first, but eventually one of the crayfish ate the other. It was kind of ugly.