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Dr. Jungle's Animal Speak

Dr. Jungle's Animal Speak

How to Choose a Companion Bird for Your Home

Posted: 30 Aug 2011 01:09 PM PDT

Choosing the Right Bird

Companion birds – including canaries, cockatiels, parakeets, lovebirds, cockatoos and African Grey parrots – are very popular pets. For the right pet owner, these birds can provide daily enjoyment, as well as companionship for many years. If you've ever thought about getting a companion bird for your household, how do you know which type is the best for you?

There are a number of different factors to consider.

1. What size pet can your household comfortably handle? Parakeets and canaries are small birds, and can be kept in relatively small homes and apartments. On the other hand, some types of cockatoos can be up to two feet tall and need significantly more space.

2. How much of an issue is noise? Some companion birds are more talkative than others. African Greys, for example, are a very popular parrot species and can develop vocabularies of hundreds of words or more – and they like to talk. Cockatiels, on the other hand, tend to be whistlers. If you live in an apartment building you may wish to consider a quieter type of bird.

3. How much "cuddling" do you want to do with your bird? Although much of this depends on each individual bird, there are some general differences between bird types. For example, cockatoos generally tend to be more "hands on" than African Greys.

4. Is this your first bird? If this is going to be your first time keeping a companion bird as a pet, consider a smaller and lower-maintenance breed such as a parakeet.

5. How much time are you going to be able to spend with your new bird on a regular basis? The more intelligent types of companion birds require more stimulation and direct interaction with you, so be honest about your lifestyle. If you're rarely home, or travel often, then perhaps this isn't the best type of pet for you.

6. What is your budget for your pet? Parakeets are inexpensive and can be found in many pet stores, while cockatoos are harder to find and may cost a thousand dollars or more. In addition, when you buy a companion bird you'll be responsible not only for the cost of the bird, but also the cost of a cage, toys, and food for years to come – don't forget to take these other costs into account.

7. How long are you willing to have the pet? Canaries generally live for up to ten years, while African Greys can sometimes live for 70 years.

8. How concerned are you with keeping control over your surroundings? Put another way, are you a "neat freak?" Companion birds can sometimes make a mess of their cage, and can sometimes be destructive when they are out of their cage, particularly the larger birds.

Consider all of these factors, and you might find the type of companion bird that will be a satisfying pet for years to come. To see more on how to choose the right bird for you, see the Choosing a Pet Bird page!

Dr. Jungle's Animal Speak

Dr. Jungle's Animal Speak

FP of Week 8/28/11 – Mini Lop Rabbits

Posted: 28 Aug 2011 04:23 PM PDT

Mini Lop Rabbits

The Featured Pet for this week is: The Mini Lop Rabbit!

I personally really love rabbits as pets – with lops being my favorite! Mini Lops are quite cute with their long floppy ears, and in my experience, if they are handled regularly they tend to be very affectionate and sweet. I had several types of rabbits growing up, including mini lops, and I bred them for some time as well. They are smaller than a typical regular rabbit which makes them a little less awkward to pick up, and due to their gentle nature they can be good kid pets.

Some other perks to the mini lop rabbit are that once they are adapted to their owners and families, they become quite playful and are sometimes considered to being akin to a pet dog. They also can be litter-box trained if enough time and dedication is spent working with them!

The Mini Lop is related to the regular Lop-eared Rabbit and was bred to be a miniaturized version of it. They were originally derived from the German lops, however the Mini Lop that is in the United States is believed to have been developed from several varieties of lops. They were first recognized in the United States as a their own breed in 1982, however they are still not recognized in England.

Mini Lops are a breed that is fairly popular for rabbit shows because they are recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association, Inc. (ARBA) and the Mini Lop Rabbit Club of America. They come in a range of colors, with the following color and pattern groups being officially recognized at shows: Agouti (chinchilla, chestnut, opal); Broken (white with colored spots); Ticked (steel gene and ticking); Self group, white pointed (solid color with no ticking); Shaded (shaded markings with colors); and Wide Band (cream, orange, red, and fawn).

Here I will include some general guidelines on how to select and keep a healthy mini lop! When first purchasing your rabbit, try to get a younger one – between 2 to 3 months old – because that is an ideal age to start the training and handling process to get your rabbit used to you. Look for healthy signs – such as an alert rabbit with no matted fur, healthy eyes with no drainage, and hard and dry stools. If you want to get more than one rabbit, you will most likely want to choose 2 females because 2 males will have have a tendency to fight.

Your Mini Lop will be it’s healthiest and live the longest if provided with the correct foods and nutrients, as well as fresh water daily (through a water bottle ideally). Their basic diet should consist of grass hay and green foods. You can buy commercially prepared rabbit pellets which should contain the correct nutrients, however you will want to offer them fresh green foods daily as well. This includes romaine lettuce, cabbage, celery, broccoli, and most other greens.

Mini Lops need lots of exercise, so you will want to make sure they have an enclosure that is big enough for them to run around in or make sure they get enough time outside of their cage each day. If you choose to house your rabbit outdoors, make sure that they have shelter from the elements and/or are allowed indoors during extreme temperatures (80′s and above and very cold temperatures). Make sure to clean out their cage or hutch at least twice a week. This will ensure that your Mini Lop is happy, healthy, and a joy to be around!

If you would like to learn more about Mini Lops in general check out the Mini Lop Rabbits page!

Jasmine is a team member at Animal-World and has contributed many articles and write-ups.

NJ Bird Photos: Birds of New Jersey

NJ Bird Photos: Birds of New Jersey

After Irene: Cormorants on Lake Nelson

Posted: 28 Aug 2011 03:47 PM PDT

After Irene: Cormorants on Lake Nelson
After Irene: Cormorants on Lake Nelson
Our cormorant population has increased after the hurricane. We hope they'll stay.

Northern Flicker: After the Hurricane

Posted: 28 Aug 2011 02:45 PM PDT

Northern Flicker
Northern Flicker

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Remembering 9/11: All This Week on National Geographic Channel

Remembering 9/11 Newsletter
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August 28, 2011

A special week of programming remembering 9/11 begins tonight with an exclusive interview with George W. Bush. The former President opens up with candid details on the grueling hours and pressure-packed days following the attacks.

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Dr. Jungle's Animal Speak

Dr. Jungle's Animal Speak

The Irish Wolfhound

Posted: 27 Aug 2011 10:32 AM PDT

Irish WolfhoundIrish Wolfhound

"These dogs were originally bred as wolf hunters!

The Irish Wolfhound is huge – with some growing as large as small ponies!

Irish Wolfhounds are giant dogs, however they usually have gentle tempers. They are generally friendly, although may be reserved around people they don’t know. They are loyal, affectionate and sociable with their families and children and are easy enough to train. Due to their size and their need of space and room to run and play, they are not apartment dogs. They also have a tendency towards several hereditary health problems, including heart problems, bone cancer, and liver shunts. This would be something to look out for when selecting an Irish Wolfhound… Read More

More about Irish Wolfhounds!