How to Feed Treats to your Pet

May 7, 2013 by  
Filed under Catch All

How to Feed Treats to Your Pet

Pets love to be rewarded for their good behavior. One way that pet owners show their love is through treats. There are a variety of pet treats on the market to choose from. But, is there etiquette to feeding treats?

Treats for All

When your pet does well, you want to reward them. Treats are a good behavioral modification tool. If you are a pet owner, you can have your pick of almost any flavor and texture.

But, if you notice that your cat or dog is getting a little pudgy, it could be his rewards. There are a few tips you might want to learn about feeding said treats to your companion. Even store bought treats can pack on the pounds.

DO’S AND DON’TS

1. Read the labels – Serving portions are important for animals too. They like to eat treats, but just emptying a part of the bag on the floor may be far too many for one treat event. Your pet won’t refuse them, either. Measure the amount of treats against your pet’s activity level and total caloric intake.

2. Table scraps – A little nip of chicken or pork may not hurt your pet today, but feeding them human food can make them sick in the long run. Besides, pet food and even pet treats contain nutrients that are essential for their health and growth. For instance, some cat treats contain ingredients to control hair balls.

3. Try alternatives – This is an option for cats. Since they don’t get near as much exercise as dogs, they don’t need heavy treats. Opt for catnip some of the time in his favorite toy as a treat instead.

4. Know toxic foods – Know which foods are poisonous for dogs and cats. Avoid feeding them or having them anywhere the pet can get at them.

5. Use treats consistently – If treats are for behavioral training, use them for that. If they are utilized to keep pets busy while you leave the house, use them for that purpose. Consistency won’t confuse your pet and will help ensure that they learn the behaviors you are trying to teach. Also, keep portions small.

6. Organic fare – Talk to your vet about organic choices for pet treats. These carry fewer fillers and by-products. Also, some pet owners create their own homemade pet treats. Be careful to observe any dietary restrictions for your pet.

7. Use treats to encourage activities – Especially for dogs, there are hiding places inside toys for treats. A pet has to play with the toy and wrangle it in order to get at the treat.

8. Check consistency of treats – Some are crunchy and some are soft. Choose a treat that your pet will like and can digest easily.

Treats are like dessert after dinner. Feel free to give them to your pets, but be judicious!

Crate Training your Dog

May 3, 2013 by  
Filed under Catch All, Pet Dogs

Crate Training Your Dog

Dogs are pack animals that like to live as a family. When you buy a puppy, you become its family. One way, to help your new dog know how to act, is to crate train them.

What is Crate Training?

First, let us say that crate training is a temporary tool. It is not meant to be used as a long term measure to help with your dog’s behavior. So, let’s learn how and why it works.

Crate training uses a cage to help your new puppy adjust to life in your home. Once they are weaned from their mothers, puppies need support and guidance so that they are socialized to humans and living in a home.

The crate allows you to help them with such skills as:

– House breaking them
– Avoiding unwanted behaviors
– Provide a safe place to sleep and rest for your pet

Your dog is housed in the crate for a certain amount of time each day. The crate should be appropriate for the size and age of dog. Any pet put in one should have room to stand up and move around and lay down comfortably. Crates that are too large can encourage soiling. One that is too small can cause anxiety.

Since the crate is to act like a temporary home within a home, fill it with a cozy mat for napping and some toys for your dog to play with. Positioning the crate so the dog can interact with the family can ease anxiety.

To get your dog used to the crate, place them in with the door open. Let them know that they can come and go. Shutting the door lets them know that they must stay there for a while, such as with disciplinary action.

Why Crate Train?

Crate training is important at the beginning of your dog’s stay with your family. Here are a few reasons. One, it can help other pets get used to your new dog. Your new dog can have time alone when they don’t want to play anymore. It also gives them a chance to slowly integrate into the family dynamic.

Two, crate training can help with house breaking your new dog. Create a schedule with it. According to different ages, dogs are not to be crated past a certain bracket of time. For instance, a new puppy that is about ten weeks of age shouldn’t be crated for more than an hour at a time. Since pups have little bladder and bowel control, they should be ready to go outside after their hour in the crate, provided you feed them before crating time.

Three, unwanted behavior can be managed with a crate. They learn to associate spending time in the crate with the door closed with unwanted behaviors like chewing on the furniture, urinating throughout the house or barking loudly.

Crate training is meant to be helpful for you and your dog.

Different Horse Breeds for Various Equine Disciplines

April 29, 2013 by  
Filed under Catch All, Horses

Submitted by Andres Ong, Content Writer

Horse Breeds
A Beautiful Arabian Horse!

The sport involving the equine is truly a science. What was once a sport that relied on gut instinct and sheer stamina alone has now evolved into an arena where numerous variables must be accounted for. Proper training and nutrition are essential to maintain optimum performance while the particular breed of horse can affect many individual traits and help determine the qualities of a champion. In races for example, both riders and thoroughbred racing enthusiasts alike pay particular attention to the type of breed. Individuals who have a keen eye for this sport will follow websites like online horse racing at Kentuckyderbybetting.com, which will usually take the breed into account in effective sports betting strategies. While there are different horse breeds in general, here’s a quick look at the breeds of horses mainly used for two of the major equine disciplines: Racing and Dressage/Show Jumping.

Racing

Arabian

This breed is considered one of the most famous in the racing community. They are characterized by a refined, wedge-shaped head and large eyes. An interesting characteristic is that the Arabian breeds tend to have a large bump on the center of their forehead. This is said to have aided them in the dry desert climates by increasing their sinus capacity. Gray and chestnut colors are the most common and Arabians are not as large as some of their other racing counterparts. They exhibit an excellent temperament and endurance.

Trakehner

Originally bred in East Prussia, these fairly large horses are known as some of the most handsome of the breeds as well as excellent jumpers. Although they have particularly large bones, they display an elegance rarely seen in horses of such size. Generally black or chestnut in color, they are both intelligent and eager to please; lending them a personality ideally suited for the racetrack. While bred as both dressage horses and show jumpers, they also are well known as being powerful competitors in the horse racing circuit.

Thoroughbred

This particular horse breed is arguably the most popular among racehorses. Thoroughbreds are hot blooded horses who are famous for their speed and competitive spirit. Though Thoroughbreds are mostly known for horse racing, they can also be trained for various equine disciplines such as polo, show jumping, dressage and more.

Dressage/Show jumping

American Saddlebred

These horses are well-known for their “can do” attitude and their fiery, albeit gentle disposition. They are well-proportioned animals and have wide-set eyes and a large head atop a notably long neck. Thus, this breed is one of the most photogenic. They come in all colors and are between 15 and 17 hands in height. These are superb riding horses, as they are said to have both the intelligence and temperament to get along well with their human riders.

Oldenburg

This horse was originally used as a work horse and trained to pull coaches, but has been adapted for dressage competition since the late 19th century. This rather tall breed is usually colored black, brown or gray. The strong body and hindquarters make the Oldenburg a notably powerful horse. Their powerful hind quarters and pronounced strength also make this breed ideal for jumping as well as endurance competition. An example of the Oldenburg as well as similar breeds of light horse can be found in this website.

American Warmblood

This breed has often been called one of the most well-rounded of horses. They are known for their powerful musculature as well as a flexible gait. Breeding stock is a bit more stringent for this animal; requiring the respective mares and stallions to meet numerous requirements and thus lending to its superior performance. Their temperament is complimented by an energetic and alert presence. Therefore, the warmblood is particularly suited for dressage and show jumping.

It is easy to see that there are particular breeds suited for specific equine disciplines. This is the primary reason that horse race bets are often partially determined by the breed of the horse as well as the rider and a host of other qualities. Websites such as ESPN likewise note the breed of the horse in posting statistics, which is an invaluable tool to help understand and appreciate the intricacies involved in various equine disciplines and competitions such as the Kentucky Derby.

Knowing what particular horse breed is used for a specific discipline is important if you are planning to own a horse. By learning this important information, you can make the right decision as to what type of horse to get. Just keep in mind that raising a horse is an enormous responsibility that requires patience and dedication.

Amazing Video of the Rare Snow Leopard

April 19, 2013 by  
Filed under Animal News, Catch All, Pet Cats, Wild Animals

Snow Leopard
A Beautiful Snow Leopard!

Photo Wiki Commons
Courtesy Ron Singer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Licensed under Public Domain

I came across this Snow Leopard Video not too long ago and I wanted to share it. I think it is neat and somewhat magical when we are given the chance to glimpse something in nature that is not part of our everyday norm. This snow leopard video was caught by Matse Rangja on one of his hidden cameras in China. Matse Rangja is a wildlife photographer who has been tracking Snow Leopards for over eight years. This one specifically comes from the Burhan Budai Mountains.

Snow Leopards are actually an endangered species and their populations continue to be on the decline. They are on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as Endangered Status. There are only estimated to be around 6,000 of these leopards left in the wild. Reasons they are struggling to survive include changing habitats, less available prey, and poaching by humans. These large cats are native to Central Asia and live primarily in the high alpine and sub-alpine mountain areas. They will eat almost any type of animal they come across, however some of their more mainstay foods include bharal (blue sheep), mountain sheep, markhor (a wild goat species), and Himalayan Tahrs (related to wild goats). If they come across small animals or birds they will also eat those. Some people have a difficult time with them raiding their farms and eating their livestock.

Due to where they live, Snow Leopards have very thick fur coats to keep them warm from the cold. They also have large, wide feet which act similar to snow shoes, allowing them to cross deep snow rather easily. These leopards are considered large cats, but they are some of the smaller of the big cats. They only reach 60 to 120 pounds and about 2 feet in height. But they are still quite powerful and have no trouble taking down their prey! I don’t believe Snow Leopards are kept as pets other than in zoos or other wildlife sanctuaries, but there are some Exotic Cats which are. It takes a special type of person to want to keep an essentially large wild cat in their home!

Enjoy the video!

Sources Used

http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/snow-leopard/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snow_leopard

Common Dog Behavioral Problems

April 16, 2013 by  
Filed under Catch All, Pet Dogs

Common Dog Behavioral Problems

Dogs are often misunderstood. Their needs are different from those of humans yet we attribute many of our habits to them. This can lead to dog behavioral problems. Here are a few of the more common “dog behaving badly” situations and how you can deal with them.

Have you ever heard someone remark that they don’t know what has gotten into their dog? The behavior comes as a surprise to them. But, dogs don’t usually do things without a reason. When they act out, something is wrong.

Here is an interesting fact: Dogs are not people. When we treat them as such, that is when trouble begins. Dogs are pack animals. They like living in groups with others.

Dogs also like a leader. Whomever the leader of the pack is, they will look up to and try to please that dog, or in the case of pet ownership, that human. It takes a strong and firm leader to keep a dog happy and satisfied.

With that said, there are only a few reasons why dogs exhibit behavioral issues:

1. Lack of proper leadership by their owner
2. Confusion with commands given by owner
3. Lack of proper training

Common Dog Behavioral Problems

You may have already experienced some of these. If not, consider yourself lucky and keep reading to learn how to continue to avoid them.

1. Digging – Dogs love to dig to bury bones or to discover already buried treasure. It can ruin your lawn if you’re not careful. One way to stop the behavior is to give a strong “NO” command when your dog is in the act of digging the hole. Another solution: build a special digging area like a sandbox for them to explore as freely as they like.

2. Chewing – Dogs like to chew. It can help them to relieve stress. But, chewing on your furniture is less than appealing. For your dog, eating decorations, yarn, socks and other small items can cause them to choke and become seriously ill. Provide your dog with plenty of chew toys to sharpen his teeth.

3. Poor manners – This centers on your dog not coming when you call him. For whatever reason, the dog doesn’t want to mind your command. It could be the way that you are giving the command. Keep it simple so as not to confuse him. The last thing you need to do is go to the dog. Instead, try moving a few paces further away and calling him again. If all else fails, run and he will follow.

4. Begging – It’s not polite to beg at the table. A good way to discourage this is to refuse to feed your dog table scraps. Don’t allow others to feed him from the table either. This will only encourage more begging.

Is your dog behaving badly? Curb that undesired performance right away. Most dog behavior problems can be cured by adhering to one or more of the guidelines above.

Animal-World’s Featured Pet of the Week: The Dwarf Hotot Rabbit!

April 14, 2013 by  
Filed under Catch All, Featured Pets, Small Pets

The Dwarf Hotot Rabbit

Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Dwarf Hotot Rabbit!

Here is an adorable, small, and playful bunny rabbit! A little late for Easter, but these Dwarf Hotot Rabbits actually make fantastic pets! They are not quite as common as some other pet rabbits, but they are oh-so-cute! I am not sure if we ever kept any of these rabbits at our pet store, but they were available for special order and I’ve definitely run into them at rabbit shows. Many people like them to show them! Being petite and a beautiful pure white color with black bands around their eyes, they really stand out. Their name is pronounced Dwarf “Oh-Toe” Rabbit and are also known as Eyes of the Fancy.

Many people think Dwarf Hotot Rabbits make good pets because they are so playful. In fact they enjoy playing with both people and toys! They usually are quite affectionate with their owners if held regularly and are easy to hold. Because of this they are one of the better pet rabbits for children. They are a dwarf breed and so do not get as large as a regular full-sized rabbit. They only reach 2 to 3.5 pounds and can live in a smaller enclosure than a 10 to 15 pound rabbit could. They can live to be around 7 to 10 years old.

Dwarf Hotot Rabbits do not have a straightforward background history. It is often assumed that they are just a “mini” version of the regular sized Hotot Rabbit. This is not the case, however. While they do have the larger Hotot Rabbit in their genes, it took quite a bit of cross-breeding before the Dwarf Hotot Rabbit was declared. Baroness Bernard of France developed the very first Hotot Rabbit near the beginning of the 20th century. After this breeders in both West and East Germany were cross-breeding the Hotot Rabbit with several different breeds of rabbits. These included the Netherland Dwarf Rabbit and the Blanc De Hotot Rabbit. After these efforts were continued for some time the Germany breeders came together to try a combined effort in the 1970′s. The dwarf size first appeared when they crossed black Netherland Dwarfs with albino red-eyed rabbits. The German breeders crossed the two separate breeds they had come up with, and this is where our current Dwarf Hotot Rabbit originated from! Very interesting.

The American Dwarf Hotot Rabbit Club (ADHRC) was established in the United States in 1981. This was after Elizabeth Forstinger brought 7 rabbits from Germany to California to show them. The Dwarf Hotot Rabbit was officially recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) in 1983. And ever since then, they have been a popular show rabbit in the United States! Some things to note when showing these rabbits. A show specimen cannot be over 3 pounds in weight and they should appear to have no neck. They also cannot have black anywhere on their bodies (including their ears) except around their eyes. Other color varieties are recognized, such as chocolate and black, they just cannot be shown.

The care and maintenance of Dwarf Hotot Rabbits is typical of most other pet rabbits. As I mentioned above, they don’t need a large enclosure. A 2X2 foot cage would be sufficient. Especially if you let them out of their cage regularly! They also love to play so make sure to provide them with a couple toys. Feed these rabbits the same fare you would feed regular rabbits. They do well on a diet of commercial rabbit pellets with some fresh vegetables thrown in on occasion. Treats would also be welcomed on occasion. Dwarf Hotot Rabbits do need to be groomed. Ideally this should be done weekly to prevent them from accidentally ingesting too much fur. Intestinal blockages are a common problem in this breed if excess hair is not removed often.

Other than intestinal blockages, another health problem these rabbits run into is called malocclusion. This is when their lower teeth are directly below their front teeth, instead of behind them. This can cause them to have trouble eating or to accidentally snag their teeth on something, making them lose them. The remedy is having a veterinarian trim their teeth as they grow every 6 to 8 weeks. This is a simple solution, but it does take commitment to making sure it is done regularly.

Dwarf Hotot Rabbits are great little bunnies, for both showing and as pets! Breeders are usually easy to find online and prices range from $15 to $75 depending on whether you want a show animal or just a pet. I hope you enjoyed reading about these adorable rabbits!

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

Common Cat Behavioral Problems

April 11, 2013 by  
Filed under Catch All, Pet Cats

Common Cat Behavioral Problems

Cats are quite self-sufficient. They do love their owners but can get a little out of hand when they want something. Keep reading to find out some common reasons why Fluffy might be going off the rails and how to deal with cat behavioral problems.

Cats are very intelligent animals. They are also capable of great affection and great standoffish attitudes. It doesn’t bother some owners when they do what they want but certain behaviors can become problematic for the cat’s family. It is best to discourage all undesired actions as soon as possible.

Common Cat DON’TS

If any of the following sounds like your cat, there is hope. Find out how to discourage the problem here as well.

1. Scratching
– That is what those claws are for, but not to do it on your fine furniture and rugs. Since cats need to scratch why not indulge them with a variety of scratching media? Try different shapes and textures of scratching posts. Place them strategically around the house in areas your cat will frequent.

2. Nipping – It can be quite painful to have your cat nip at your legs or fingers. Often this is a problem when fingers and extremities are used as play toys when your cat is a kitten. As they age, they will continue this behavior. Use cat toys instead of your body as play things. Give them a firm command and also use a spray bottle with water to discourage further nips. Aim for the cat’s nose. You need to catch them in the act so they associate the erroneous behavior and the scolding.

3. Urinating – Animals often urinate to plant their scent when they are looking for a mating partner. Spaying or neutering can curb the inclination to “mark” territories. Cats may urinate if they are nervous. Has your schedule changed or is there a new pet in the house? Both can cause this problem.

4. Not using the litter box – Cats are very clean animals. They expect that the place where they do their business is clean as well. If your pet refuses to use the litter box, it could need a more regular cleaning. Try scoopable litter to remove large clumps each day between regular cleaning. Also, scented litter may bother them. Try unscented. Location could be problematic for your cat as well. Litter boxes are best situated away from high traffic areas.

5. Erratic behavior – Your cat is sitting quietly in your arms and then they get up and run wildly around the house. He could be letting off steam or be a little nervous. Talk to your veterinarian. Another option would be to tire your cat out just like you would do a child. Play with them and even feed them later so they can wind down and sleep peacefully at night.

You love your cat but it is likely they have some of the listed cat behavioral problems. Those listed above are some of the more common ones.

Animal-World’s Featured Pet of the Week: The Scottish Fold Cat!

April 7, 2013 by  
Filed under Catch All, Featured Pets, Pet Cats

The Scottish Fold Cat

Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Scottish Fold Cat!

I thought that because there have been a couple recent cat posts I would write about an interesting cat breed this week. The Scottish Fold Cat! Has anyone ever owned one of these? They are not as popular as regular pet cats, but they are definitely popular as show cats! Of course, these cats are known by their peculiar ears. They have very small ears which fold forward and down. These ears are caused by a genetic mutation, making Scottish Fold Cats a Mutation Cat Breed. The ears are also a reason many people love this personable cat!

The Scottish Fold Cat actually has a reputation for being a great pet! Other than their intriguing appearance, they are also very friendly, adaptable cats. They get along well with most people and other pets, and can be kept as either indoors or outdoors cats. Generally being calm cats, they enjoy attention and affection, but they also love their fair share of playing and hunting. This makes them great for both families in huge houses and lots of kids, and for quiet apartments with only their owner. And of course, they make awesome show cats because of their unique appearance!

Here is the interesting history on the Scottish Fold Cat. The very first one recognized was born in Perthshire, Scotland on a farm in 1961. The cat was named Susie and and she later had a folded ear kitten named Snooks. Snooks then had a kitten named Snowdrift. Snowdrift was used by a breeder in London to earnestly try and continue the folded ear trait. That breeder was named Pat Turner. This cat was recognized as a new breed, although there were people who did not agree with it. This is mostly because they claimed the folded ears could become infected more readily and were hard to clean. However the Cat Association in England accepted the Scottish Fold Cat breed in 1983. The United States recognized the breed even earlier in 1973. By the 1990′s The Scottish Fold Cat was in the top ten popular pedigree breeds! Other cats with folded ears include the American Curl Cat, whose ears fold backwards rather than forwards. Another interesting tidbit is that the very first cat with folded ears to ever be recorded was in the 1880′s! This cat seems to have been brought by ship to Europe from China, but it is unknown whether any more folded ear cats came from that one.

The care and maintenance of the Scottish Fold Cat is that of most other typical cats. These cats are regular sized, weighing 6 to 13 pounds. They live a typical cat lifespan of 10 to 15 years. Grooming them once a week will keep their hair free of mats and keep them looking their best. There are long-hair varieties which may require more grooming, especially if you are showing them. As I mentioned earlier, these guys are quite adaptable and can live in most human environments! From huge farms to small apartments. And they most often get along with other cats and other pets (including dogs!).

For those of you interested in breeding Scottish Fold Cats, there are some things that you need to know. First, you should never breed a Scottish Fold Cat with another Scottish Fold Cat. This is because 25% of the kittens will have grave abnormalities which result in a lower quality of life and a shortened lifespan. You should always breed your Scottish Fold Cat with a non-Scottish Fold Cat. In this scenario, 50% of the kittens will have the folded ear trait. The other 50% will look typical, but none of them will come up with life-threatening abnormalities.

Usually health problems arise when two Scottish Fold Cats are bred together. Some of the kittens can have abnormalities which include stiffened and shortened legs and tails. This is because of some of the vertebrae being fused together. Nothing can be done to help these cats, other than give them medication to help with pain. They don’t live very long or very happy lives. Quite sad. Other than this situation, Scottish Fold Cats are usually quite healthy when taken care of!

Is your curiosity piqued? If you are interested in Scottish Fold Cats, breeders can be found across the United States. Prices are anywhere from $300 to $750 depending on age and traits. Kittens are more expensive than adults because that is their prime showing age.

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

The Benefits of a Feral Cat Program

April 5, 2013 by  
Filed under Catch All, Pet Cats

Feral Cat Program

Feral cats have never learned to socialize with humans and often cause problems for people. Some animal groups are working to help these cats to live a healthier and friendlier existence by working with Feral Cat Programs.

Feral or Lost?

Feral cats are wild cats. They have either been abandoned by owners at an early age or have been gone from a home so long that they have learned to live in a feral group on the streets. Because these cats are not spayed or neutered, even more feral cats are born into this type of society.

On the other hand, a lost cat knows people and seeks their companionship. They are not used to fending for themselves and won’t survive long on the street without them. Often lost cats hang around suburban areas trying to get food and warmth from homes and businesses.

How to Solve the Problem

People are concerned about the increasing epidemic of feral cats on the streets. Because they are wild and untamed, these cats have been known to urinate everywhere (marking their territory), make noisy fights with other cats, spread infection, and upset trash cans looking for food.

Often they live in community groups called “colonies.” These cats usually live together in areas that are known to be kind to them. It could be the back yard of a person who is willing to feed them or outside a business where they throw out scraps to keep them fed.

The ASPCA and the Humane Society has come up with some Feral Cat Programs to help these cats. One program is the Trap-Neuter-Spay-Return program. Much like the catch-and-release program utilized by fishermen, feral cats are carefully rounded up. They are then taken to a facility where they are sterilized. Then, they are released back into their community environment.

Much like this program is the Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Return program. The animals are sterilized, but animal professionals also take it upon themselves to look the cats over and vaccinate them properly against common diseases they may encounter on the street.

These feral cat programs are further enhanced by volunteers who are committed to monitoring and taking care of these cat colonies. The benefits are:

- Longer life span for feral cats

- Fewer disruptions in society

- Fewer unwanted cats on the streets

These cats also make great mousers to keep down the rodent population. Some have proposed eradicating feral cats but that won’t solve the problem in the end. For one, new cats will come along to fill the void left by the ones taken. Secondly, it is easier to get volunteers to care for the existence of these animals then to round them up for euthanization.

Feral cats are not able to be tamed but they can be given a chance at a healthy existence through friendly feral cat programs. These programs really do help cats in wild situations.

Do Red-Eared Slider Turtles Make Good Pets?

April 2, 2013 by  
Filed under Catch All, Reptiles

Animal Tracking Chips

Well, the short answer to that question is: it depends. I think that the idea of a pet turtle isn’t necessarily something that most people cling to (unless they are reptile lovers!). But when they go in someplace and see a cute little baby turtle, purchasing one as a pet can often sound like a great idea. And it is true, baby red-eared sliders are enticingly adorable! The problem comes when the people buying the turtles are not fully prepared for owning and caring for them long-term.

On the flip side, for those who are prepared to own a Red-Eared Slider and have decided they truly want one, these turtles can make great pets. My parents have a large outdoor pond in their backyard with a few koi, plants, and 2 Red-eared Sliders. Those two Sliders have been living there for several years and the pond is their dream home! They even go into hibernation every winter deep in the mud and then come out again in the spring. It is always fun to predict when the turtles will make their appearance! My three young children love to go over to their grandparents house and help feed the turtles by throwing pellets into the water. So for us, they have been great pets!

I was recently reading the article Talking Turtles, from the Pet Business newsletter, and they had some good points on what water turtles are and are not. They point out that many adult turtles purchased as babies end up not wanted and are given away (or released into the wild, which is even worse). This is in large part because people simply are not prepared for the needs and long-term care of an adult water turtle. Red-Ear Sliders become large as adults, they produce a lot of waste and need a lot of filtration, they don’t get along well with other aquarium dwellers, and they are often biters. It is illegal for Sliders under 4 inches to be sold, however many pet stores and other places still sell tiny turtles.

Just a quick overview on the basics of care for the Red-eared Slider Trachemys scripta. These are things you will really want to consider before deciding if this is truly a pet you want to pursue. First, these turtles can live quite a long time, anywhere from 30 to 60 years. In captivity, these turtles are often fairly calm and can be tame if held regularly. Many of them will be friendly enough that they will even take food right out of your hand! They are very hardy reptiles and will adapt to almost any environment. This means that you don’t have to be too particular in their enclosure temperatures or provide specific specialized foods or tank additions. However, this doesn’t mean that enclosure cleanliness is not important or that you shouldn’t attempt to give your turtle proper nutrition!

Red-Eared Sliders can be kept indoors or outdoors. Indoor turtles should be kept in a large enough tub with spaces to bask. They love basking! UVB bulbs should be provided for this purpose. A good filtration system is also a must, because turtles produce a lot of waste! It is most likely a good idea to refrain from keeping your turtle(s) with any other fish or aquatic animals because they will usually eat other fish (especially smaller ones). If you have a pond outdoors, this is a great place to keep a turtle. They will love the space, and the ability to bask in the sun.

Feeding a turtle can be easy. Providing them with purchased turtle pellets is a good way to start. Younger Red-Eared Sliders should be given a more varied diet to make sure they are receiving the proper nutrients for good shell growth. These turtles will eat insects, larvae, worms, and small fish. As they grow larger they will start to add plant matter to their diet. For this reason, it is always a good idea to keep aquatic plants in a turtles environment.

So, do Red-Eared Sliders make good pets? If you have a large enough area, like a good pet to just sit back and watch, and love reptiles, then they do make good pets! However, they aren’t the best pets in the “impulse buy” situation. If they are just bought on the spur of the moment because they are small and cute and the purchaser really has no idea how large they become or how long they live, then this isn’t the best pet situation. Unfortunately, many turtles are still bought under these circumstances and then end up without a home as adults.

« Previous PageNext Page »