Shopping List For Your Pet Rat

Contrary to popular belief pet rats are not pets that you can just keep in a cage and forget about. They are highly intelligent, active, fun and very cute little critters. They need plenty of things to keep them occupied when you are not around. They enjoy playing with toys with you and on their own. It is also very important to have more than one rat, so that they can keep each other company during the day.

So here is your ratty shopping list. First of all we have the basics:

  • Large rat cage. Make sure the gaps are not too wide, or your rat may decide to go walkabout.
  • water bottle
  • Food bowl and snack bowl (so you can separate sweet and savoury)
  • Bedding (I use old newspapers and shredded paper from work).
  • Rat Food – a basic cereal/block which you can then add tasty snacks to, to spice things up.

But here are some more exciting things for your rat:

  • Rat hammock – Rats love to snuggle up in a bright, fleecy hammock. You can make one, or buy one.
  • Igloo – Rats must have somewhere to hide away when the world gets a bit too much. Put some comfy bedding inside to make a little sanctuary for ratty.
  • Kong Toy – Just use the ferret Kong toy. Fill it with some yummy rat friendly food and it is a great way to keep your rat entertained when you are out.
  • Rat litter tray – yes rats can be toilet trained and quite easily. You can get a little corner tray to go in the corner of the cage, or just use a shoe box. Put some of your rat’s poop on the tray and place him in there. He will soon get the message. It will make cleaning out a lot easier.
  • Chew toys – Rats love to chew and it is very good for their teeth. You can buy fruit flavoured wooden chew toys that rats love.
  • Delicious food – Rats love all kinds of food. You can try various fruits, as well as cooked pasta and rice and even eggs.
  • Rat training – You can add variety to your rat’s day by training him for 10 minutes a day. You can teach your rat to come when called, clap and even roll over. All it takes is kindness and patience.
  • Rat harness and lead – An interesting idea if your rat wants to see the outside world.
  • Love. Yup that is the main thing. Give your rat a whole lot of love and he will be a very happy ratty.

Facts You May Not Have Known About Hermit Crabs

Hermit crabs are found both on land and in water. Whether they are land or sea crabs, they are crustaceans that live in a shell discarded by another animal. This article is talking about the peculiarities of “land” or “tree” hermit crabs, not the ocean varieties.

They truly start life like fish and grow into land life. These little crabs start out in the ocean, much like sea hermit crabs. While they’re in the water as babies, hermit crabs start out as larvae called zoeae and grow into aquatic crabs, they swim and breathe underwater through gills. As adults, they can no longer breathe underwater, but they still breathe through gills that must be kept moist to prevent suffocation. Grown up hermit crabs have lost their ability to swim.

Their tail shape is set by their first shell. A hermit crab’s rear end curves to fit into and hold onto the shell they live in. The shape of their first shell is very important, and will influence shell selection for the rest of their lives.

They “go number one” below their eyes. Hermit crabs excrete urine through glands at the base of their antennae. Which means that they “pee” through their faces.

Their name is a misnomer. Although these animals are commonly called “hermit crabs” they are actually not true crabs because they lack a hard abdomen armor, and they are not hermits, because they live in large groups of about a hundred crabs in the wild.

Hermit crabs have been bred in captivity, but this is not where pet store stock comes from. All pet stock available has been harvested off beaches throughout the world where these animals are native. Most pet hermit crabs in the US come from the West Atlantic coasts.

They have no vocal cords, but they still “talk”. These cute little crustaceans make sounds sort of like chirps by rubbing legs together. This is called “stridulating” and works similar to the noise you get when you rub your two hands together. They can be very expressive.

They molt. To grow, this crustacean has to go through process of burying themselves, shedding their old exoskeleton, eating it, and re-emerging. This is called molting, and the whole thing can take weeks. Without somewhere safe to bury themselves for weeks approximately once or twice a year, a hermit crab will die.

Only six of their ten legs are generally visible. Although hermit crabs have ten legs like a spider, they keep the back four inside their shells to anchor them in and keep the inside of the shell clean.

Legs can be “thrown off” without killing the crab. If a crab is stressed or scared, they can “drop” a leg to distract a threat so that they can hopefully get away. They sometimes do this when they are sickly, too. They will grow a new leg back oven the next few molts.

Hermits do poop. Their owners sometimes wonder if they do, because crab poop is small and blends in with bedding materials. These guys either defecate inside their shell and then scoop it out or out the side of their shell.

“Hermies” have long been adored as short-term pets that are easy to care for. Actually, they can live up to 30 years or so in captivity when cared for correctly. Pet stores routinely give poor pet care to hermit crabs, and pass poor pet care information to owners, resulting in short lifespans. As a very misunderstood pet, they have a strong grass-roots following of devotees on-line distributing good care information.

Top 10 Emotional Support Animal Dog Breeds

1 Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retrievers are happy and energetic and will encourage you to perk up even when you’re not feeling too great. Not only do these dogs make good pets, but they are also great as Emotional Support dogs due to their intelligence and gentle demeanor.

2 German Shepherd

According to PetGuide, the German Shepherd is a highly versatile breed, namely because its intelligence enables it to be trained for a variety of different purposes. These guys can surely make great emotional support animal dogs!

3 Poodles

Poodles are also born performers, super social, great with kids, hypoallergenic, great at adapting to their environment, and they typically live longer than most other dog breeds, too. However, like the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, poodles require some serious grooming. (Their hair literally never stops growing, and they don’t shed.) If you don’t mind being responsible for a dog who’s more high maintenance than you are, then you should seriously consider adopting one of these cuties.

4 Yorkshire Terrier

Did you know that Yorkshire Terriers can help ease the symptoms of depression? Their intelligence and tendency to form strong bonds with their owners make them one of the most loyal, loving, and trainable breeds out there. Also, Yorkshire Terriers are a very small and cute kind of dog to have if you live in an apartment or are renting a housing room in a house.

5 Beagle

The Beagle is a small dog known for its floppy ears and being pure and soft. They’re also so loyal and beautiful. These little guys are very active and entertaining and they’re also content to cuddle up with! Beagles are very friendly with new people and they also tend to get along well with other animals, all qualities that make for an excellent therapy dog.

6 Corgie

Corgis can make excellent therapy dogs. A member of the herding group, the corgi is an even-tempered and affectionate breed. These short and sturdy dogs are known for both their obedience and friendly attitudes. Originally bred to be herders on farms, Corgis make excellent companion dogs for people in nursing homes or with disabilities.

7 Pug

Pugs are a small breed that is well-known for their wrinkled skin and big, puppy-dog eyes. These guys are very energetic, and they also have a natural desire to make people feel better. Pugs get along well with people of all ages, though they work particularly well with children.

8 Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

These lovely little guys are named after King Charles II of Britain according to MentalFloss. They were bred to be a loyal companion dog. These dogs are quite noble and royal as well! These centuries of companionship have given the King Charles spaniel lots of practice in providing comfort to their owners. That’s why they may be considered an Emotional Support Animal dog or a Service dog or even a therapy dog!

9 Pomeranian

The Pomeranian is a very small breed often favored by elderly individuals who need a companion at home. These little dogs require relatively little exercise but they will take all the love and affection they can get.

10 Golden Retriever

Coming in at number one is the golden retriever, which is well known for being energetic, loving, and comforting. They’re super social and if you can handle a lot of dog hair in your house they’ll be perfect for you.