Exotic Pets - Degu - as part of the expert series by GeoBeats. I am Beth Randall and I am the Director at Critter Camp Exotic Pet Sanctuary and this is a degu and they are native to South America. Their a small rodent that is actually related to guinea pigs and chinchillas. They were popular as pets here in the United States about a decade ago or so, in the '90s and they are wiggly and not real handle able. Some of them can be somewhat friendly. But they live up to seven years, which is very long for a small rodent. Their tails are very fragile. You cannot pull their tail or mess with their tail. It will actually break off. Their teeth are orange and that shows that they are healthy. He is not going to let me show you. But, they are also very prone to diabetes and so, they cannot have anything that has sugar in them. They cannot even have something like an apple. That has way too much sugar. They need to have a special degu food. Degu pellets or a bird seed with no raisins or fruit in it. They also chew more than most small animals and that is why they do have to have a wire wheel and they do need a large wheel because they will run in that all the time. They need a lot of exercise. They can be in groups. They do live in colonies in the wild but, they can also live by themselves, especially males. They sometimes need to be by themselves if they start fighting. They can be an interesting, fun, little pet. Again, not something probably for the beginner but, something unique for someone who is a little more experienced with small rodents and want something a little different.
Exotic Pets - Guinea Pig - as part of the expert series by GeoBeats. I am Beth Randall, and I am the director at Critter Camp Exotic Pet Sanctuary. And this is a guinea pig. And they are native to South America, where they burrow underground and live in colonies. They are common as pets here in the US. They have been pets for a very long time. And they can be a very nice starter pet for people. Very, relatively easy to take care of. They are somewhat friendly. Um, a little skittish, but with appropriate handling, especially from the time they are young, they can be very handleable and friendly. The girl female guinea pigs like to be in pairs, often. And the males tend to like to be alone. An appropriate large guinea pig cage would be about a foot and a half to 2 feet by 3 to 4 feet. They do not need a wheel for exercise. They can actually harm their backs if they have a wheel. So that is something really important not to put in their cage. They like a little hut for a hideout. Some of them will like a box. The general guinea pig huts are probably about the best. They do need a diet specific for guinea pigs. There are guinea pig pellets that are formulated with vitamin C, because guinea pigs cannot manufacture the vitamin C. And so they do need to have that in their diet, whether it is fresh fruits and vegetables, and/or the pellets. And they also need Timothy Hay, which is a grass hay, and not alfalfa hay. Alfalfa is much too rich in proteins, and can make them sick. So fresh fruits and vegetables are really important for their diet as well. It is really good for them to have those everyday. Not iceberg lettuce, though, because that has far too much water content, and can give them diarrhea and other stomach problems. They do make little noises. They squeak like this. And that means they are happy or excited. Sometimes they week. They will make all kinds of different little noises like that. They will know when you are getting their food. They can tell when the refrigerator opens, and go week, week, week. And so, but they are a prey animal, so you have to remember that. Because when you go to pick them up, if you pick them up from the tap, that can feel like a predator is coming after them. And if you pick them up from the bottom, they feel much safer, and so they are much easier to hold that way. It is nice to have, also, a little pen where they can come out and exercise. Whether it is in your house, or out in your yard, while you are with them, supervising it. And they will graze on your grass, as long as it is not treated with pesticides or anything. And they will play around in your living room as well. They do chew. They are a rodent, so their teeth are always growing. And so they do chew a lot, they need things to chew on. Chew blocks, chew sticks. Um, again, their hay and their pellets will help keep their teeth down. They do need their nails trimmed regularly, just like a cat or dog. And you do have to watch those teeth growing, to make sure they are growing straight. They do not have to go to the vet on a regular basis. But it does not hurt to take them in every year, just for a checkup. Just to make sure there is nothing going on with them. And guinea pigs live about 5 to 8 years, and are not really prone to a lot of diseases, as long as they are well taken care of.
Exotic Pets - Hedgehogs - as part of the expert series by GeoBeats. I am Beth Randall, and I am the director at Critter Camp Exotic Pet Sanctuary. And this is Lucy, she is a hedgehog, an African Pygmy Hedgehog. And those are the type of hedgehogs that are pets in the United States. There are also European Hedgehogs, which are about 3 times bigger than these. And they live in the gardens in England and Europe. These guys are native to the grasslands of Africa, where they run and burrow underground. And they eat bugs, worms, and small animals and eggs in the wild. They are a totally solitary animal. In captivity, they need to be kept alone, or they will fight with another hedgehog. Occasionally, female siblings can live together, but it is not guaranteed. They live about 5 to 8 years, they are nocturnal. Their quills are poky. They feel kinda like toothpicks, is what they feel like. They do not shoot them out, neither do porcupines. But, and they are not related to porcupines at all. Porcupines are rodents, these guys are little omnivores, again, that would be more closely related to a weasel or something like that. Or even a cat. They like to run, and so they do need a wheel. And when they are in a cage, they need to be in about a guinea pig size cage. A couple feet by maybe 3 or 4 feet. And they do need a wheel to run in at night. And it does have to be solid, because you can see, they have very tiny little feet, and they will get stuck in a wheel that has slots, or, you know, any kind of metal, that kind of thing. And they can actually have their little feet torn off, they get running so fast. They have been odometered at running 5 to 10 miles a night. As pets, it is a good idea to feed them a high quality kitten food. Even a ferret food, because they are a very high protein food, a dry one. And then you can supplement that with bits of chicken. Um, you can supplement it with a little bit of wet cat food. You can give them meal worms, crickets, super worms, that kind of thing. They do enjoy eating sometimes, and chasing around and catching. Um, they are not hard to hold when they are calm. Their little quills will lay down like this. And you can hold them. Their tummies are very soft. But you do not usually get to feel that until they are friendly and enjoy your company. Hedgehogs need a lot of time to get to know you. And they do curl up in their little ball when they are hiding. And they make a snorty and puffing sound like that. That is just a sound that they make. And they push their quills up when a predator tries to eat them. So, sometimes, if you try to pick them up from the top, they are going to do that. So you want to always pick them up from the bottom, so they do not think that you are going to eat them. They will run around in a hamster ball as well, a large hamster ball. It is a good idea to put your hedgehog in a small tub for a while, before you take them out to play. Because if they are awake, they are generally pooping. And so, if you get them in the tub, they will poop for a while. You can clean that up, and then you can play with your hedgehog a lot more. More fun. They do need a sleep sack in their cage, because they like to burrow and hide in that as well. And they do need their cage and their wheel cleaned very often. I know, you tell them! And so, a hedgehog is an interesting little pet. They do need to be kept warm, never under 60 degrees, preferably 75 degrees. And so they are an unusual little pet that needs a little bit extra care. And good for people who are experienced in different kinds of animals, and are willing to take that extra time to give them the appropriate care.
Exotic Pets - Fennec Fox - as part of the expert series by GeoBeats. I am Beth Randall, and I am the director at Critter Camp Exotic Pet Sanctuary, and this is Zoey, and she is a Fennec fox. And Fennec foxes are native to the Sahara desert, they are the smallest fox in the world, and they have been bred here in the United States as pets since about the 1970s. They run about $1500, and are considered one of the more exotic pets that an average person might go buy. They are not necessarily legal everywhere, so people do need to check their city, county and state for the laws regarding exotic pets before they get one. Fennec foxes are a shy animal. All foxes are shy, but Fennecs are especially shy; very skittish; they can be very bitey; not really predictable. It might take months and months of handling before a Fennec fox can be actually picked up without gloves. They do dig a lot, that is just one of their traits, they dig at everything. They do not really play with toys so much. A lot of people get them and think that they are going to play with them, like with cat toys and things, and they may or may not do that. Foxes are a solitary animal, and so they do not necessarily interact with you. They are also not potty trainable. And so that is something people actually need to understand, that they may choose to go in a litter box, they may choose to go on a puppy pad, but the majority will not, they will go potty wherever they are, it is just a fox trait. They need to eat a diet high in protein, with taurine added, that is an amino acid that has to be added to protect their heart. They like fruits and vegetables, and it just depends on the individual fox. They live about 12 years. They should be spayed and neutered for temperament. And they do need to be free range, as well as having a cage to hide out in and to be in when someone is not supervising them. Sometimes they can get along with cats and dogs and other pets, and sometimes they do not, they are all individuals. It is really important to visit someone who has a Fennec fox before you get one. That way, you know if you can deal with the smells and the actual care that they do need.