The Mongolian Gerbil’s Unusual Breeding and Social Behavior

Wild GerbilThe Mongolian Gerbil, Meriones unguiculatus, is a common pet, but its life in the wild is anything but “common”.  In fact, its social structure and breeding habits are among the rodent world’s most unique.  Let’s take a look at what field research has revealed about this most interesting little creature. Read More »

Breaking News – Dog Surpasses Blood Test in Detecting Bowel Cancer

Canine NoseA specially-trained Labrador Retriever named Marine has made medical history by exhibiting an amazing degree of accuracy in detecting bowel cancer.  It is hoped that further studies will lead to new advances in cancer detection and treatment.

A Near-Perfect Performance

Marine was able to detect the presence of bowel cancer by sniffing either the breath or stool samples of 48 people that had previously been diagnosed with the disease.  The dog’s accuracy was rated at 95% for breath samples and 98% for stool samples, and was not affected by potentially confusing factors such as smoking or the presence of other gastro-intestinal problems.  Read More »

World’s Smartest Dog?…Border Collie can Identify 1,022 Objects

Border CollieResearchers at South Carolina’s Wofford College have announced that a Border Collie has been trained to identify over 1,000 objects.  Surprisingly, the clever dog, “Chaser”, can also differentiate between objects and actions involving them – grasping, in essence, the concept of nouns and verbs!

Surpassing Her “Trainers”

Summarized in a recent Behavioral Processes article, the Border Collie experiments are expected to shed light on just what it is that dogs understand when we speak to them.  The researchers (or ethologists, as animal behavior specialists are known) pointed out that they stopped introducing new objects at 1,022 due to time constraints – Chaser seemed willing and able to learn more.  In fact, her ability to remember all the objects seemed to exceed that of her human trainers! Read More »

The Bedding Dilemma – Choosing the Right Bedding for Your Small Pet

Hamster in shavingsSeasoned small animal owners tend to bicker over the smallest of details when it comes to the care of their pet. From food to free time, no one seems to agree on just one thing. When it comes to bedding though, there seems to be an all out war over which is best. As a small pet owner, I’ve used just about every variety of bedding on the market, and even I get confused sometimes. One will claim to have the best odor control, but it’s really dusty. Another will be softer and cuddlier for your pet sleep in, but it smells bad even when it’s clean. There is no perfect small animal bedding…but, there is probably be one that is best for your particular situation. There are pros and cons to all the small animal bedding types available. Here’s my break down on what to expect from the most popular types available. Read More »

Ferret Owners Beware – a Fatal Disease Common in Unmated Females

Female Domestic Ferrets that are not allowed to breed often contract a life-threatening disease known as Estrus-Associated Aplastic Anemia.  Spaying your Ferret before she enters her first estrus cycle (the period during which she can become pregnant, also known as “heat”) is the best defense against this and other reproductive disorders.

A Unique Breeding Strategy

Ferrets and other members of the family Mustelidae (weasels, mink, otters and related species) have evolved a unique reproductive strategy known as induced ovulation.  Unlike most mammals, female Ferrets do not ovulate (release eggs so that they may be fertilized) until the act of mating has occurred.  Read More »

Join A Cause and Help Animals

Poultry Factory FarmAnimal lovers know that animal welfare is one of the most important issues in the world.  I thought I’d blog a little on several organizations that work against animal abuse and mistreatment. You can help the animals in many small ways, whether by giving a little money, choosing not to wear fur, becoming a vegetarian, signing a petition, adopting a pet from a shelter, or even just spreading the word. Without animals, our world would be a very sad place. Please click on at least one of the following links and get involved today! Read More »

Staying Updated on Laws Affecting Pet Ownership and Animal Welfare

Dog in a ShelterRecent concerns over animal hoarding, introduced species and animal attacks have resulted in a confusing maze of new laws.  Many are legitimate attempts to address serious problems, while others seem over-reactions based on poor research.  I’m an attorney as well as a biologist, and yet even with this background I find it difficult to keep up with all the changes.  However, I’ve found several organizations that track pending legislation and provide links to actions that can be taken…I hope the following helpful information is useful. Read More »

Animal Oddities – The Jackalope Disease

Rabbit with Shopes Papilloma VirusThere is an old myth of a creature that roams the plains, a crazy lookin’ cryptid that rolls with the tumbleweeds through the frontier of the southwestern United States. It is only caught by the eyes of a fellow who’s been smiled on by Lady Luck, but it is well known by even those who’ve never been to the southwest. This wily critter has the body of the rabbit, but the antlers of the antelope. It’s been said that its milk is like medicine and its meat like lobster. It is best lured out by using whisky as bait, but it can mimic human voices in order to elude pesky hunters. Sometimes it has been known to be dangerous if cornered! This, my friends, is the jumpin’ jackalope! Or is it?? Read More »

10 Ways to “Go Green” – Environmentally Friendly Pet Edition

Adopt from a Shelter There are so many unwanted animals already in the world waiting for loving homes. Bring home one of these loveable mutts rather than opting for a purebred dog – who was born and raised purely for profit.

Donate Clean out your closets, but before you toss away any old towels, leashes, or toys call your local animal shelter to see if they are in need of donations. You would be surprised by the variety of stuff shelters are in need of (even old computer equipment)! Read More »

Keeping and Breeding the African Pygmy Mouse – Part 2

African Pygmy MiceThe African Pygmy Mouse (Mus minutoides) is a charming little rodent suitable for those with some mammal-keeping experience…please see Part 1 of this article for more on its care and natural history.

Substrate

Pygmy Mice burrow in the wild – provide yours with 3-4 inches of pine shavings into which they can dig.  They will construct enclosed nests, often shared by several individuals, of dry grass or pet nesting material.

Self-constructed burrows are preferable to plastic caves or nest boxes.  Pygmy Mice have high metabolisms – condensation from respiration can build up on shelter walls, causing a damp, unhealthy situation (this helps them gather water in the wild – please see Part 1). Read More »

Scroll To Top