Animal-World’s Featured Pet of the Week: The Dalmation

July 1, 2012 by  
Filed under All Posts, Featured Pets, Pet Dogs

The Dalmatian

Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Dalmatian!

Have you ever seen the movie or heard the story of 101 Dalmatians? Most likely, the answer is yes! Almost everyone is familiar with it. The every day person probably has a love for Dalmatians simply because of the popularity of the story – I mean who couldn’t love a hyper and super cute white and black-spotted dog!

Dalmatians are actually a very old breed and are also known as a symbol for firemen. They have traditionally helped firemen fight fires and are very good at it due to their nature. These dogs have tons of energy, love people, are very playful, and are extremely intelligent. Because of this they can make very good companions for a variety of different people. As well as good fire dogs, they can also often make good guard dogs, hound dogs, carriage dogs, and war dogs! Other names the Dalmatian goes by include Firehouse Dog, Dalmatiner, Carriage Dog, and many others.

As for the history of this dog, it is not known for sure exactly where it originated. It is definitely a very old breed of dog, but whether or not the Dalmatian started out in Dalmatia, a section of Croatia, is debated. It has made appearances in ancient Egyptian art as well. They are a non-sporting dog breed with a very unique spotted coat. When they are born they are completely white, but as they grow they develop spots. These spots are often black, but can also be brindle, blue, or lemon colored. There are also several Dalmatian hybrids. Two popular ones are the Sharmatian (Dalmatian and Shar-Pei mix) and the Chimation (Dalmatian and Chihuahua mix).

The care and feeding of these dogs is what is expected of any dog, but should be taken seriously. Taking them to their regular annual check-ups and giving them their shots is a must in order to keep them at their best health-wise. Their diet should actually not be too heavy on protein because they are prone to urinary problems and too much protein can facilitate these. Dog foods that are mostly rice, poultry, and lamb are the best choice. Dalmatians can be kept both indoors and outdoors. However, if they are kept indoors they should be allowed out regularly to play and taken on walks because they are very energetic dogs. Also, they shed heavily twice a year, and so must be regularly brushed and the house should be vacuumed frequently. Baths should be infrequent.

Socially, these dogs make pretty good companions overall. They get along with most people, including children, as well as with other pets. Males (especially if not neutered) may be more aggressive towards other male dogs, so take caution if you have more than one male dog. Very small children may also not be the best companions for them because these dogs are so hyper.

The Dalmatian is quite intelligent, which makes them an ideal dog for obedience training, housebreaking, and learning tricks. This is why they are used for many important jobs such as firehouse dogs and guard dogs.

The two main health problems for these dogs are urinary problems and skin allergies. As I mentioned before, limiting protein and watching their diet can generally help with their urinary problems. They may still need medication however. If your Dalmatian develops skin problems, check out their living conditions and consult your veterinarian. Sometimes indoor carpet and furniture can contribute to skin allergies, so it is important to determine what is causing them. Deafness can also run in the family, so check for a family history of deafness before purchasing a particular dog.

Overall, Dalmatians are considered great pets! You should look for a reputable breeder before purchasing one and keep in mind that prices can vary greatly. Read more about these dogs on Animal-World’s Dalmatian page!

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

Animal-World’s Featured Pet of the Week: The Green Iguana

June 24, 2012 by  
Filed under All Posts, Featured Pets, Reptiles

The Green Iguana

Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Green Iguana!

Green Iguanas are a favorite among lizard lovers and they can be fascinating pets. One of my coworkers at the pet store I worked at had a huge iguana whom they named Data after the character in Star Trek! Star Trek names were actually a theme among all of their animals. Their iguana was a big part of their family and had full run of the house! You could always find Data sitting on the back of the couch “watching” tv or slowly wandering from room to room. He was truly an amazing lizard!

Green Iguanas Iguana iguana, are some of the largest lizards to inhabit Central and South America. They can sometimes grow to an enormous 7 feet in length! If well taken care of their lifespan can reach up to 15 years. There are many reasons why these are popular pet lizards. Green iguanas are fairly inexpensive to purchase and are quite hardy. They don’t really smell, especially if their environment is kept clean. Iguanas are also easy to tame and can even be trained to use newspaper as their potty! They do, however, require quite a bit of space and somewhat more intensive care, so you have to be ready and willing to provide that.

These lizards do need their owners to be attentive and dedicated to their care and feeding for them to thrive. They do have some special needs. For instance, their environment must be kept at a temperature of 85-90 degrees Fahrenheit during the day in order for them to digest their food properly and maximally extract out the nutrients. Their diet needs also change as they grow and this should be accomodated. As juveniles they should be provided with fruits and vegetables as well as protein sources such as crickets and mealworms. However once they get larger they really only need to be fed a vegetarian diet. This includes romaine lettuce and many bright orange and green vegetables. All domestic iguanas should also be offered a supplement – typically Calcium and Phosphorus supplement with a ratio of two to one. They should be fed at least three times a week and have access to daily fresh water for both drinking and bathing.

Housing your iguana is another concern that should be taken seriously. Once they are full-grown green iguanas will be most comfortable in a home that is around 100 gallons or 5′x5′x3′. They can be kept in smaller environments while young but be prepared to upgrade in size. They also love to climb and so should be provided with at least one, if not more, limb to scale. As mentioned before, their environment should be kept between 85 and 90 degrees during the day. At night it should be kept from 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. They should be provided with a heat lamp or another source of heating.

If you wish to tame your iguana, start out by handling him at least once per day for about an hour and rub the top of his head. Over time this will help your iguana become more familiar with you and no longer try to bite you or whip its tail (a sign of aggression).

Iguana health problems most often arise when they are not provided with the right environment or fed the proper foods. Problems can include mouth rot, parasites, vitamin deficiencies and respiratory disease from drafts and too-cool temperatures. Just follow the proper care guidelines and most of these problems will not arise.

Read more about these iguanas in general and in more detail on Animal-World’s Green Iguana page!

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

Animal-World’s Featured Animal of the Week: The Jack Rabbit

April 8, 2012 by  
Filed under All Posts, Featured Pets, Small Pets

Saltwater Crocodile
Animal-World’s Featured Animal for this week is:
The Jack Rabbit!

Photo Wiki Commons
Courtesy user:pschemp
Licensed under Creative Commons ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.

I thought that an appropriate Featured Animal of the Week would be a Jack Rabbit – in the spirit of Easter! Jack Rabbits are not typically kept as pets, however they are widespread in their natural habitats. Many people probably associate a Jack Rabbit with the famous “Tortoise and Hare” tale, where the two animals race against each other. Ultimately the tortoise wins because he is “slow and steady,” whereas the hare uses all his energy up at the beginning of the race. Jack Rabbits are hares, meaning they do not build nests like other rabbits and their babies are born with all of their fur and eyes open. This is not the case with most rabbits. I am going to focus on the Black-tailed Jack Rabbit, scientific name Lepus californicus, because this one is the most common. The Black-tailed Jack Rabbit lives in the deserts of the 4 southwestern states and Northern Mexico. They are quite adaptable and can thrive in areas inhabited by humans as well.

These Jack Rabbits usually have a salt and pepper look with colors of brown and silver and very long brown ears. There is a black stripe going down the tail. Their long ears are to help regulate their temperatures by increasing or decreasing blood flow to them. This is helpful in the desert because of the very hot days and cold nights. They have a lifespan of approximately 1-5 years in the wild (somewhat longer in captivity) and breed prolifically. They usually have four to six litters a year, averaging 2-4 young, or leverets. The mother stops nursing them after 1 month of age. These babies reach sexual maturity by about 8 to 12 months of age and can start breeding soon after this. Males can reach up to 11 pounds and females can reach up to 13 pounds at maturity. Their lengths can reach 28 inches with 5 inch tails.

They have many natural enemies who will prey on them, including coyotes, foxes, hawks, snakes, bobcats, and even human hunters. Jack Rabbits are quite fast, reaching speeds of 36 miles per hour to escape predators. They can also leap about 20 feet into the air. These are just some of the many defensive tactics to help keep themselves safe. They prefer grasslands and large empty areas so they can spot enemies before the enemies spot them. They also spend most of their days crouched down with their ears flat against their backs which helps them to blend in. They mostly are active only at night as well.

Jack Rabbits are herbivores and eat only vegetables, fruits, herbs, grasses, leaves, and shrubs. They eat some of their poop as well, which helps them retain water and get the maximum moisture from their food. In this way they don’t have to drink much water, if any, at all. It is especially helpful in the desert where there often is not much water. Jack Rabbits are considered a problem in agricultural areas because they will snack on many crops and can make huge dents in them. Fences are put up to try and keep them out, however this often does not work and poison is used instead.

Although Jack Rabbits are not kept as pets, if you would like to read more about domestic pet rabbits, check out Animal-World’s World of Pet Rabbits!

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

Sources Used

http://www.blueplanetbiomes.org/jackrabbit.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black-tailed_jackrabbit

http://www.desertusa.com/july96/du_rabbi.html

Banner Photo
Photo Wiki Commons
Courtesy Jim Harper
Licensed under Creative Commons Share Alike 2.5 Generic.

Animal-World’s Featured Pet of the Week: The Oscar

Oscars
Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Oscar!

When I hear the word ‘Oscar’ in regards to fish, I immediately think back to when I was 7 or 8 and my regular trips to the local pet store with my dad. I loved going to the pet store with him to look at and pick out our newest fish to bring home. I was especially fascinated by the huge black and red Oscars. I continued asking if we could get an Oscar and eventually my dad gave in and let us get one! We had several large spare aquariums at home and we set one up to put our new Oscar in!

Oscars Astronotus ocellatus belong to the cichlid family Cichlidae and are very popular in the aquarium world! They have been in high demand for years and have seemingly intelligent personalities. They are known for becoming feisty and interactive when you come up to say hi to them or feed them. These fish do become quite large, reaching 12 inches in length once full grown. They are easily bred in captivity, which makes a large variation of color patterns available. The Red Oscar is the most popular for its color patterns because it is red with black spots that are not as muddy colored as wild caught Oscars.

Other Oscar types are the Tiger Oscar and the Speckled Red Oscar. The Tiger Oscar looks more like the wild ones but with more red. The Speckled Red Oscar has black fins and has been developed more recently. There are even variations of these types including the Albino Tiger Oscar and the Albino Red Oscar, as well as lutino varieties. Long finned oscars have also been developed which gives them an interesting look. If you are an Oscar lover there are quite a few types to choose from!

Oscar history: The Oscar was first “discovered” or given a name and described in 1831 by Agassiz. They originate in South America, being found in the Amazon River Basin, the Rio Paraguay, the Rio Negro, and the Parana. They usually stick to the slower moving waters and feed on smaller fish and other small creatures. South Americans value Oscars as a food item too. Oscars have been artificially introduced into China, Florida, and Australia. They are bred in captivity in the United States and elsewhere specifically to be kept as aquarium fish.

The care and feeding of Oscars is straight forward but needs to be taken seriously to keep them healthy. They will eat almost any type of frozen, flake, or live foods because they are carnivores. Feeding them chunks of earthworms, beef heart, good quality pellets, and live guppies and/or goldfish will help them grow and stay healthy.

If you purchase juvenile Oscars it is best to start them out in a large aquarium from the beginning to accommodate their growing needs. A 100 gallon tank is ideal for an adult. Frequent water changes and good filtration is a must when keeping Oscars because of how much they consume and dirty their water. Oscars love to play around with their environment and will constantly attempt to move around and dig out any decorations! Rocks are good decorations that are hard for them to move or ruin. Plastic plants are best if you want plants in the aquarium. Try to bury them deep or cover them with rocks so they are harder to uproot.

Oscars are not community fish and because they are carnivorous, they will eventually eat any other types of fish as they grow larger. You can usually keep more than one Oscar together as long as they are of similar size and if they have grown up together. If you want to breed them it is especially helpful to start out with several Oscars and let them pair themselves (because it is difficult to determine their sexes).

The main disease you need to be on the look out for is Head and Lateral Line Erosion (HLLE). This usually looks like a hole is developing on their head and is thought to be caused by poor nutrition and/or poor maintenance of the aquarium environment. Providing proper care should prevent your Oscars from developing this disease.

Read more about Oscars in general and in more detail on Animal-World’s Oscar page!

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

Animal-World’s Featured Pet of the Week: The Parakeet

February 5, 2012 by  
Filed under All Posts, Featured Pets, Pet Birds

Parakeets

Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Parakeet!

Most likely, you or someone you know has owned a parakeet! They are one of the more popular of the smaller birds, for many reasons. They can learn to talk and whistle, have a shorter lifespan than many of the larger parrots, and are relatively easy to care for. While working at the pet store, I saw many of these birds come and go to new homes. I enjoyed cleaning their cages every day and whistling along with them!

Parakeets are also called Budgerigars, or Budgies. Their scientific name is Melopsittacus undulatus and they are part of the Psittacidae family. They come in many various color combinations, over 100 actually! This makes for a very interesting and unique looking bird! Their primary colors are green, blue, gray, white, yellow, opaline, and pied. Parakeets in general are usually very affectionate towards their owners (especially if trained while young). They are inexpensive and can be trained to do a multitude of tricks. They do require a lot of interaction because they are very social birds by nature. If you do not think you will have a whole lot of one-on-one time available to be with your bird, you should consider bringing home at least one companion bird as well. They have an average lifespan of 12-14 years with proper care.

The history of the Parakeet begins in Australia. They were first noted by European John Gould in 1865 in his book, “Birds of Australia.” These birds are actually part of the parrot family and belonged to a tribe called the Platycercini in Australia. They originate in the desert-like part of central Australia where there is little precipitation. This little to no rain environment has truly helped this bird become hardy! They are also monogamous birds in the wild as well as captivity and so will generally pick a mate for life. Unless of course, their primary mate dies.

Now onto the care and feeding of the Parakeet/Budgerigar. As I stated above, they are relatively inexpensive with fairly easy care requirements. The housing requirements of the parakeet include a roomy cage with plenty of places to climb. A play area that can be put on top of the cage is also a good idea. This will give your parakeet(s) a place to hang out when not in the cage and that helps give more interaction time with you and different scenery to your bird. Include perches and toys/swings/mirrors in the cage. Parakeets also love taking baths, so a bath house or bowl is another good idea. Free-flying time is very important for these birds for both exercise and their mental well-being, so make sure that there is a block of time most days that you can allow them to be out and flying about!

As far as food goes – they need a variety of seeds and fresh foods. A good parakeet seed mix can be bought at local pet stores. Give them fresh fruits and vegetables occasionally as well. However, some food items are not good for them, including cabbage, avocado, green beans, and several others. Good fresh foods for them include Lettuce, carrots, spinach, apples and bananas. Also provide spray millet, cuttle bones (for their beaks) and mineral blocks. Fresh water should be given daily.

Parakeets or budgerigars are pretty hardy birds. They of course can get respiratory illnesses if kept in drafty areas and that is something to watch out for. If you notice them plucking their feathers that is also a sign of a problem. If they are lonely due to not having a companion bird or enough interaction time with you, they can become bored and begin plucking their feathers.

Animal-World’s page on Parakeets/Budgerigars is a great place to start reading if you want to familiarize yourself more with these birds!

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

Animal-World’s Featured Pet of the Week: Polish Rabbits

January 22, 2012 by  
Filed under All Posts, Featured Pets, Small Pets

Polish Rabbits

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

Rabbits make the perfect pet for many people. There are so many different rabbit breeds which all have their own unique characteristics! This makes it easier to choose a rabbit that suits your particular needs and wants. I personally have had several Polish Rabbits, and I enjoyed them very much! They have one of the sweetest dispositions I have come across in all of my rabbits! One of their greatest attributes is that they are one of the smallest rabbit breeds out there (along with Netherland Dwarf Rabbits). This gives them the advantage of not needing as much living space. They can be kept in smaller areas and are better for apartment dwellers. They don’t need as much play room and are easier to pick up and handle than larger rabbits.

There actually are two different types of Polish Rabbits. They are the American Polish Rabbit and the British Polish Rabbit or the Brittania Petite. The British Polish Rabbit is the smaller of these two, with weights only reaching 2 ½ pounds! The American Polish Rabbit can reach 3 ½ pounds. However these are both very small rabbits! The British Polish Rabbit can come in many colors, however in the United States, the only color recognized by the American Rabbit Breeders Association is white with red eyes. The American Polish Rabbit has many more recognized colors, including chocolate, black, and blue with matching colored eyes, as well as white with either red or blue eyes.

Polish Rabbits have some other intriguing attributes. They are considered to be quite smart and can learn some simple tricks! This is mostly them learning to react to certain hand signals and voice commands by working with them repetitiously. These little rabbits also have great dispositions, making them ideal pets for young children – in fact they often love being pet by them! Their small size makes it easier for children to handle as well.

A little background on the Polish Rabbits. The British Polish Rabbit was first recognized as a breed in 1884 in Hull, Yorkshire. They were so small that they were the first rabbits considered “dwarf” rabbits. The American Polish Rabbits are descended from the British Polish Rabbits but are mixed with some other breeds of rabbit – such as the Netherland Dwarf Rabbit – which has caused them to be a little bigger than the British Polish Rabbits. Also, when you think of magicians pulling rabbits out of their hats, guess which rabbits are most commonly used?! Yes – the Polish Rabbits! Their size and disposition make them the perfect candidate!

Polish Rabbits can thrive if given basic rabbit care. This includes the proper diet, housing, and interaction. A proper diet includes grass hay, green vegetables, and cecotropes (which their digestive systems produce and come out as droppings, which they then consume). I would recommend buying a good commercially prepared rabbit pellet and giving them that along with some fresh green foods (fruits and vegetables) daily. As always, make sure they have access to clean, fresh water daily. Proper housing should include a cage large enough for the rabbit to have some maneuvering room. Give them daily access to an “exercise area” which could be run of the house for a few hours or a safe area prepared for them outside. Make sure to change the bedding regularly (a couple times a week) to keep them healthy. Remember to remove any uneaten green foods each day as well.

Rabbits in general are fairly hardy animals, however you do want to make sure to keep their cages clean. Ensure a proper diet and the correct housing environments to safeguard against them becoming sick. They can get respiratory illnesses, diarrhea, teeth problems, and many other illnesses if not taken care of properly.

Again, Polish Rabbits make great small pet rabbits and if you would like to read more about them and their care, please check out Animal-World’s Polish Rabbit page! Thank you!

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

Animal-World’s Featured Pet of the Week: the Cornish Rex Cat

January 9, 2012 by  
Filed under All Posts, Featured Pets

Cornish Rex Cat

Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Cornish Rex Cat!

Cats are one of the most popular pets, with there being many different types to choose from! The Cornish Rex Cat is one of the relatively new breeds of cat developed and is quite unique looking. It is a great family cat simply because of its friendly disposition and many people appreciate their low-maintenance, short, and soft coat of hair. The reason their hair is so soft is because it has only a downy undercoat with hardly any top-coat coarse hairs. This translates to little grooming and hardly any shedding, which also helps to prevent allergies in people around this cat who normally have cat allergies.

The Cornish Rex Cat is a very social cat and loves its human companions, as well as other animals! It can come in a variety of different personalities – from a lounging, loving lap cat to a very playful and active athletic cat. They are good indoor cats, and because of their short coat, they actually prefer it most of the time – being unable to deal with extreme hot and cold temperatures. They do like to “talk” a lot and can become quite loud – however most owners say they are not quite as loud/high-pitched as Siamese cats are!

The Cornish Rex Cat has a very interesting history. They are a fairly new breed, having only been first discovered on July 21st in 1950 from an observed genetic mutation. This happened in Cornwall, England on a farm. Because it was a genetic mutation that caused its distinct look, it is considered a Mutation Cat Breed. The Cornish Rex Cat looks a lot like the Devon Rex Cat, however these cats have two different genes that control their curly looking hair. It does share the same gene with the German Rex Cat though, which it also looks similar to. It was recognized as a true breed in 1964 in America and in 1967 in Britain. Since then, it has been bred with several other breeds – including Siamese, Burmese, Russian Blues, and British Shorthairs to increase its stamina. Right now you can find breeders of the Cornish Rex Cat in the United States, England, and Australia. Prices can range anywhere from $200 to $1200 when bought from a reputable breeder and depending on the area.

The care of the Cornish Rex Cat is similar to most other cats – a protein based diet works well and can be supplied with a good commercially prepared cat food. Making sure your cat has access to fresh water every day and a clean litter box if kept indoors are also requirements. Providing toys to indoor cats will help keep them entertained. As I stated before – they only require minimal grooming. Actually, you don’t want to groom them too much because it can actually cause baldness! These cats are overall very healthy cats and have no particular health problems. Also as mentioned above, because they only have the downy undercoat and not an overcoat, they are sensitive to extreme temperatures – but this should not be a problem if kept indoors or if they are only let outside in mild climates.

If you are thinking about obtaining a Cornish Rex Cat for showing purposes or simply to have a unique breed of cat, feel free to read more information on them and their care at Animal-World’s Cornish Rex Cat page!

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

Animal-Worlds Featured Pet of the Week: The Zebra Finch

December 11, 2011 by  
Filed under All Posts, Featured Pets, Pet Birds

Zebra Finches

Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Zebra Finch!

If you would like to try out a bird as a pet, the Zebra Finch may be a great way to go! They are small, easy to care for, relatively hardy, and inexpensive! I know many people who have had them for pets, and they are especially good for an older child who would like a bird but who may not be ready for the responsibility and care that comes with a larger bird such as a conure or parrot. They are a good bird that is best enjoyed by sitting back and watching and listening to them – rather than handling and training them. They are very active birds and love to tweet and fly around often.

The Zebra Finch Poephila guttata castanotis originated in Australia and has been one of the most popular pet birds for over 100 years! In Australia, they are naturally wild in over 90% of its landmass, they live and breed in groups, and feed on grass seeds from the ground. They actually live a fairly long life in domestic conditions – up to 12 years with decent care – and are quite easy to breed in captivity if you have a desire to do so.

Their care is not hard to accommodate into most people’s lives, although it does take daily maintenance. They should be provided with fresh water every day as well as fresh food. The best food for them is a finch seed mix – which can be found at virtually any pet store. Treats can be offered occasionally, which could include moistened bread, green vegetables (lettuce, celery tops and spinach), and packaged bird seed treats from pet stores. It is essential that you provide them with grit which contains charcoal because they need it to aid in their digestion and provide them with certain minerals. You can purchase this grit at a pet store as well and either spread it on the bottom of their cage or provide it in a separate dish from their food. They should also be given a cuttlebone to provide them with calcium. Calcium helps keep their beaks strong as well as aids in reproduction.

Zebra finches also need and love baths, so providing them with a bowl of bathwater every day is great for their health and well-being. Their nails will continue to grow as well, so it is best to keep an eye on them and if you notice their nails getting a little long you will want to trim them back a tiny bit.

If you want to provide optimal conditions for your zebra finch(es), make sure to provide a cage that is big enough for them to fly in and that is larger horizontally than vertically because they love to fly in a horizontal direction. This will help keep them in good physical shape and they will be happier overall. Also provide at least one or two perches (depending on how big the cage is) so that they have places to stand other than the cage bottom. These birds also do much better when kept in pairs and not singly – so plan on buying at least 2 finches and ensure the cage is large enough to accommodate that!

As I stated earlier, zebra finches are hardy little birds and rarely get sick. As long as you keep them in a healthy environment, provide the proper diet, and keep them out of drafts (all birds should be kept out of drafty areas), you will most likely have a very healthy bird (or pair of birds!) for many years.

Zebra Finches are available almost everywhere and should be easy to find if you would like to purchase one. For more detailed information on their care, read up on Animal-World’s Zebra Finch care guide!

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

Animal-World’s Featured Pet of the Week – The Quarter Horse

December 5, 2011 by  
Filed under All Posts, Featured Pets, Horses

Umbrella Cockatoo

Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Quarter Horse!

Have you ever wanted a horse or marveled at what beautiful creatures they are? Chances are, you have! Quarter Horses are just one type that you might be interested in!

Quarter Horses are truly an American breed of horse. Everyone has heard of them, and many people consider them to be one of the best all around breeds of horses. I will start with some history. They are one of the oldest breeds in America – starting from the early 17th century in Virginia, when settlers got horses from the Chickasaw Indians. The Chickasaw Indians horses were descendants of horses brought by Spanish explorers. These horses were then bred with English running horses, which gave them a good solid horse which could do everything they needed, from pulling and hauling, to riding and herding horses. In fact, the Quarter Horse eventually got its name because it could sprint a quarter of a mile faster than any other horse! Today, Quarter Horse racing is still in effect in the western United States.

The American Quarter Horse Association was the first registry for these horses, being founded in 1940 by Robert Denhard. It is now the largest breed registry in the world with over 3 million registered horses! These horses are considered a stocky type of light horse breed. They usually weigh under 1,500 pounds and are used most often as leisure horses. They can be used for other tasks as well – such as racing, ranch working, and as show horses. The Quarter Horse can reach 15-16 hands and they are compact, stocky, and muscular horses.

Quarter Horse care is fairly easy as far as horse care goes. They keep weight on quite easily and only need a low amount of daily feed (compared to some other horses). Their diet should consist of grass and hay, with vitamin and mineral supplements provided on a minimum basis as needed. They can become overweight somewhat easily so you must make sure to not overfeed them! This may be because their ancestors were free-roaming plain horses, making it necessary to thrive on the simple foods that were available. These horses can be kept in either a pasture or a stall, and they should be provided with ample exercise.

Training of Quarter Horses includes many different activities and sports because of their speed and agility. They are excellent at cutting, reining and gymkhana. They are also great at ranch-type work, including driving cattle which makes them wonderful Western Pleasure Horses. They can also do well at jumping and English Pleasure activities. They are very good at stopping quickly and turning sharply. In general these horses are fairly attentive and responsive in temperament, making them great family horses, beginner horses, and trail riding horses.

In general, Quarter Horses are pretty hardy horses and they live some of the longest lives! It takes ongoing neglect of their basic maintenance to really cause them problems. However, one genetic disease to be on the look out for before purchasing a Quarter Horse is hyperkalemic periodic paralysis (HYPP). This disease is not very common but it is passed down from the sire and should be tested for in any horse that you plan to obtain. The disease causes uncontrolled muscle twitching and/or muscle weakness and can sometimes cause collapse and death.

Quarter Horses are available just about everywhere in the United States and you should be able to locate one quite easily if you wish to obtain one. Look at Animal-World’s page on Quarter Horses for more information.

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

Animal-World’s Featured Pet of the Week – The Umbrella Cockatoo

November 14, 2011 by  
Filed under All Posts, Featured Pets, Pet Birds

Umbrella Cockatoo

Animal-World’s Featured Pet for this week is: The Umbrella Cockatoo!

When I first started working at a pet store, they had an Umbrella Cockatoo, Cacatua alba named “Pierre.” He was the most loving and affectionate bird I have ever known – still to this day I have not met another bird like him. I believe he recognized me over time because eventually every time I would walk up to him he would start dancing and talking and displaying his head feathers. He would always come up on my hand and seemed to really look forward to me petting him. He was sold at some point in time and I really did miss him.

Cockatoos in general are known to make great pets. They are almost all loving and friendly birds, however they need to be given a lot of attention and “one-on-one” time. If you plan to purchase an Umbrella Cockatoo, then you MUST be prepared and willing to spend a great deal of time as their companion. They are very social, can learn to talk, and be taught to do all sorts of tricks. Many people provide play areas outside of their cage where the cockatoo can spend most of the day. They love this and it provides them with a a feeling of being part of the family and a feeling of freedom. In fact, if they are caged too often and/or not given adequate attention, they can turn into screamers. Generally this behavior starts because they feel lonely and neglected. However, screaming can be abated by most often by simply dedicating time and energy into being with your bird and making sure it feels comfortable in its daily surroundings.

Umbrella Cockatoos are one of the largest cockatoos, being all white with a crest of feathers on their heads. When these feathers are raised, it looks like an umbrella – hence the origin of their name! In the wild, they are found in central and northern Moluccas, Indonesia and Obi, Halmahera, Ternate, and Tidore. They can reach a foot in length when they are full-grown adults and this dictates the need for a fairly large cage.

The two main behavioral problems that come up frequently with cockatoos are their screeching habits (mentioned earlier) and the fact that they are prone to chewing their own feathers. They can become quite bald if this is allowed to go on. In order to prevent this you will need to give them plenty of daily attention and make sure they are let out of their cage for good periods of time. They do love to chew to keep their beaks in shape, so also provide them with plenty of chew toys.

Proper care, feeding, and housing is a must for these large birds. They should be provided with clean fresh water daily to make sure they don’t become sick. Fresh food including some fresh fruits and vegetables as well as a large hookbill seed mix should also be provided daily. They can often eat other foods that you may have around the house occasionally, such as cheese, eggs, and canned dog food. If kept alone, these cockatoos should be preened occasionally by their owners to help clear out feather sheaths. You should also probably keep their wings trimmed so that they cannot fly far and accidentally escape out through an open door or window. Their beaks and nails will continually grow as well, so these should be trimmed periodically if they are becoming too long.

Umbrella Cockatoos are considered wonderful pets in the bird world if you have the time to dedicate to them! If you would like to learn more about these particular cockatoos, check out Animal-World’s page on Umbrella Cockatoos!

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

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