Moving: With Pets (Part 1)


Moving is stressful when it’s just you and your junk (speaking from experience) – but how does moving take its toll on your pets? You can bet they’ll be stressed and anxious too, even if they’re not packing or trying to organise a removal company!

Here are some tips to help your pets cope with moving… part 1: packing and travelling.

On a practical level – remember to update your contact details on microchips, tags, pet passports, etc. – as well as with your pet insurance company and your local vet. If you’re moving a significant distance, remember to find a new local vet and get all your pet’s details transferred.

Updating the tag is something you can do easily, and may choose to do before moving day in case your pet wanders off during or post transit.

Packing:

Your pet’s belongings and foodstuffs – if you can pack these last do. In particular pack bowls/bottles last so that your pet can have a drink upon arrival, as they will likely need one!

If you have a designated area in your home for your pet and will do so in your new home, this can all be packed last so your pet can chill whilst you pack up, and then unpacked first so your pet can begin to settle whilst you move the rest of your stuff in.

Maine coon snoozing on suitcases

Welfare:

If your pet is prone to being anxious in transit there are steps you can take to ensure their welfare is one of the top priorities on moving day…

• Allocate one person (if possible) to be in charge of your pet – checking on them at regular intervals during the move to ensure they’re doing okay.

• Ensure the removal company staff know where your pet is and how their belongings are to be transported – i.e. any of your pet’s things that are to stay with your pet and not be packed deep into the removal van you should make the removal co. staff aware of.

• Pheromone sprays and collars are very beneficial to a distressed pet – companies such as Feliway and Adaptil provide such items for dogs and cats (for more information please click here for Feliway and here for Adaptil).

• Animals can be placed into carriers with a familiar scented item (current bedding rather than fresh, blanket or owners item of clothing, etc).

• Placing a blanket or towel or sheet over the carrier can also help in keeping your pet calm.

• Ensure pets in carriers have something to keep them occupied if they so wish – you don’t want chewing of carrier bars (potentially damaging their teeth/gums) when you could provide a chew toy to keep them occupied.

• Ensure your pet is secure in transit; whether this means entrusting someone responsible to holding the carrier, or fitting the carrier safely into a vehicle, or ensuring your dog’s seat-belt is secure and he can’t get to anything he shouldn’t whilst on the move – make sure your pet is safe and secure.
A big pet peeve of mine is people who have dogs loose in the car – not only is their jumping about distracting to you and other drivers, even a small dog (say 5-10kg in weight) can cause serious damage to you if you have an accident and the dog is thrown into someone – not to mention the injury the dog will sustain by being unrestrained! We wear seat-belts to avoid injury if we were to be involved in an accident; its the same principal – secure your dog.

• If you ware moving far away and the journey is long – remember your pet would enjoy a bathroom/ water break and a leg stretch. Ensure that any exercise is done safely and with your pet on a lead – your can get harnesses/leads for dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets and more.

 

To follow: I will cover moving with fish, amphibians and reptiles, and once you’re in your new place.


All images are open source, Google images, or my own – or photos donated for use by the pet owners.


If you have any questions or comments; please post a comment below, or contact Ali’s Answers via one of my social media pages…
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Ugly mug: aquatics!


Not everything in the animal kingdom is an lovely songbird with beautiful wings or a cute crustacean bobbing along the ocean floor or a fuzzy little kitten on your lap or adorable snakey nuzzling your neck (you get my point)… some creatures are just unpleasant!

Here are a three examples of the weird and wonderful, but not necessarily cute, beasties in the animal kingdom… starting with the world of water!

1) Blobfish

Usually found in lists of animals not winning any beauty awards! This poor fella has a rep for having an ugly mug – living in the murky deep off the coast of Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand, this fish grows up to 12″ and has a low-density, giving it the jelly/blob look which actually aids in in bobbing along in the high-pressured deep.

However, as you can see fron the inage above, they’re a lot less vlob-like underwater! Unlike most fish species, the Blobfish doesn’t have a swimbladder to keep it afloat but rather their blobby structure and the pressure of the deep work together to keep them floating. The Blobfish isn’t very active, and pretty much just waits for food to pass by.

This little guy was actually voted the “World’s Ugliest Animal” in 2013! Out of water (see image below) – you can see why it won that title!

2) Axolotl

I know (personally) a few people think the Axolotl is quite cute but I have never seen the appeal so they have made my little list of ugly aquatic animals. The Axolotl only lives in the lakes of Xochimilco, Mexico (and in various homes/ tanks around the world) and is the top predator in its’ habitat.

Axolotls can grow up to a foot in length, however usually only reach half a foot. This ugly little salamander has the ability of regrowth – it can regrow a limb if lost! Despite this fascinating ability the Axolotl is critically endangered and on the decline.

Colouration is usually mottled brown or black; however white, albino and piebald variations do occur – but usually in captive environments. I personally think the albino and white colouration’s are uglier than the other variations, as they give the appearance of being almost translucent! They have a dorsal fin running from the neck to the tip of the tail, and external gills with a feathered appearance – this is unusual in salamanders; as such the Axolotl is considered to be aesthetically neonatal, as it stays in larval form throughout its’ life.

3) Goblin Shark

This is a shark of many names; the scientific name being Mitsukurina owstoni named after Kakichi Mitsukuri and Alan Owston – the two people who discovered this unusual shark species. It is mainly found off the bays of Japan, however can also be found off the coasts of Australia, New Zealand, USA (California and Florida), Brazil, Portugal, France, South Africa, Taiwan, and Sri Lanka. in Japan the Goblin Shark is known as tenguzame (Tengu being a long-nosed mythical demon creature, and zame meaning ‘same’). Along those lines, it i known as Gnome or Demon Shark in Portugal; in USA it is known as Goblin or Elfin Shark.

This amazing and ugly looking shark has nail like teeth, set in a flexible jaw under a long, protruding, pointy nose. The see the unusual bite action of the Goblin Shark watch this amazing YouTube video – the jaws spring forward out of the mouth in a pincer-like grab (protrusive jaws)… showing that’s looks aren’t everything! The Goblin Shark is pinky in appearance due to the blood vessels being close to the surface of the skin, and can grow to over 10ft in length.

The last Goblin Shark sighting was in 2000 – before that the last sighting is said to have been in the early 1970’s. As such, there are few photographs of this ugly mug!


All images are open source, Google images, or my own – or photos donated for use by the pet owners.


If you have any questions or comments; please post a comment below, or contact Ali’s Answers via one of my social media pages…
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A-Z: Cat Breeds (8)


Over 8 posts, I am going to go through cat breeds, and cover some basic titbits about the breeds; a little bit of history surrounding the breed, including the original use for the breed, and some other interesting facts.

This, the eighth and final, post will cover W-Z of cat breeds… basically I am doing an A-Z of cat breeds, covering 1-3 breeds per letter.

If I do not cover the breed of your cat in this post, and you would like me to; please leave the breed in the thoughts comment box below, or post it via the contact page, or get in touch via any social media pages listed at the end of each post – this way I can include your breed in another post (either the follow up, or a repeat with different breeds). Do the same if you want more information than I have provided on any particular cat breed, or if you would like to share a photo of your cat(s)!

W

There are no cat breeds for this letter.

X

There are no cat breeds for this letter; however see below image of an x-ray of a domestic cat.

X-Ray of a domestic cat

Y

York Chocolate

Country of Origin: USA

Lifespan: (approx.) 15 years               Breed Size: Large                

Hair/Fur Length: Semi-Longhair     Colour(s): Chocolate

Breed History: In 1983, on a farm, the first York Chocolate was born in a litter to a (shorthaired) black and white female, fathered by a (longhaired) black male. One kitten of the litter was semi-longhair, chocolate coloured female. The kitten was named Brownie by the farm owner. Brownie had her own litter, and produced within it a semi-longhair, chocolate male named MinkyMinky was eventually bred with Brownie (his mother), producing a litter with two semi-longhair, chocolate kittens – a male named Teddy Bear and a female named Cocoa.  The breed was named by farm owner, Janet Cheifari, after her hometown of New York and the unique colour of the breed. By 1989 Janet had bred another 27 York Chocolate kittens.

This breed is not yet recognised by any official cat organisations, as a recognised breed as such, as it is considered as still being developed. It is recognised by some associations as an ‘experimental’ breed.

Outstanding Physical Trait: Unique chocolate colouration.

Z

There are no cat breeds for this letter.; however see below some images of adorable sleeping “Zzz” kitties!

 

 


All images are open source, Google images, or my own – or photos donated for use by the pet owners.


If you have any questions or comments; please post a comment below, or contact Ali’s Answers via one of my social media pages…
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A-Z: Cat Breeds (7)


Over 8 posts, I am going to go through cat breeds, and cover some basic titbits about the breeds; a little bit of history surrounding the breed, including the original use for the breed, and some other interesting facts.

This, the seventh, post will cover S-V of cat breeds. In the follow-up (and final) post I will look into cat breeds from W-Z… basically I am doing an A-Z of cat breeds, covering 1-3 breeds per letter.

If I do not cover the breed of your cat in this post, and you would like me to; please leave the breed in the thoughts comment box below, or post it via the contact page, or get in touch via any social media pages listed at the end of each post – this way I can include your breed in another post (either the follow up, or a repeat with different breeds). Do the same if you want more information than I have provided on any particular cat breed, or if you would like to share a photo of your cat(s)!

S

Scottish Fold

Country of Origin: Scotland, UK

Lifespan: 11-15 years               Breed Size: Medium

Hair/Fur Length: Shorthair and Longhair

Colour(s):  White, Blue, Cream, Red, Silver, Cameo, Brown, Tortoiseshell, Black – in solid colouration, bi-colour, tri-colour, tabby, ticked/spots.

Breed History:  The origin of this breed is said to stem from a mouser in a farmer’s barn in 1961; a white cat with unusually folded ears, named Susie. Susie mated with a local tom cat; a local shepherd named William Ross acquired one of the kittens and named her Snooks. William bred Snooks, and then bred one of her kittens with a British Shorthair, which resulted in a litter of “lop eared cats”. While the Scottish Fold is generally Shorthaired, from Susie the trait for Longhair has been passed down – a Longhaired Scottish Fold is often known as a Highland Fold.

Outstanding Physical Trait: The folded ears. kittens are born with straight ears, which may fold at about 3 weeks old (they do not always fold). The fold could be a single – a fold half way up the ear, or a double – where the ears sit tighter to the head, or a triple – where the ears lie flat against the head (which is the desired ear fold for show cats).

Sphynx

Country of Origin: Toronto, Canada (not Egypt as many think due to the name)

Lifespan: 10-15 years                    Breed Size: Medium                

Hair/Fur Length: Hairless           Colour(s): All colours and patterns

Breed History: Developed as a breed in the mid-1960’s, when a domestic shorthair had a hairless kitten in her litter (named Prune). Prune was a male, and bred with furred cats (including the Devon Rex) to try and produce more hairless kittens. The results of the breeding of Prune was litters that had kittens both with and without fur. The hairless kittens were subsequently bred and the breed developed into the mid-late 1970’s. Some of the hairless kittens were also exported to Europe, where the breed was developed there.

Outstanding Physical Trait: The lack of hair/fur.

T

Tonkinese

Country of Origin: USA

Lifespan: 15-18 years                 Breed Size: Medium                

Hair/Fur Length: Semi-Longhair

Colour(s): Champagne, Blue, Natural, Platinum – in solid, point, and mink patterns.

Breed History: The modern version of this breed that we see today is a cross between the Siamese and Burmese, developed in the 1950’s. However in the 1880’s it was a breed in its’ own right, but were known as Chocolate Siamese, and was very close genetically to the Siamese and the Burmese. In the 50’s they went by Golden Siamese but by the 60’s they were renamed to Tonkinese.

Outstanding Physical Trait: The oriental but fuller look – not quite a slender as most oriental type breeds.

U

Ukrainian Levkoy

Country of Origin: Ukraine

Lifespan: 15-19 years                   Breed Size: Medium              

Hair/Fur Length: Hairless          Colour(s): All colours and patterns

Breed History: A cross between the Donskoy (or Russian Hairless) and the Scottish Fold (above) – this is a hairless cat with folded ears, artificially bred 2000-2001 for their unique appearance.

Outstanding Physical Trait: The lack of hair/fur coupled with the folded ears.

V

Van Kedishi (a.k.a. Turkish Van)

Country of Origin: Eastern Turkey (Lake Van region)

Lifespan: 12-17 years                  Breed Size: Medium                 

Hair/Fur Length: Semi-Longhair

Colour(s): Traditionally white with auburn throughout. Modern accepted colours include white with cream, black, blue, tortoiseshell (tortie), blue tortie, blue tabby, brown tabby, tortie tabby or blue tortie tabby.

Breed History: There is a myth relating to the origin of this breed; the Van Kedishi cat was on Noah’s Ark during the flood. Noah’s Ark came to rest on Mount Ararat when the flood was over, which is said to be not too far from Lake Van, and is where these cats headed once they cam off the Ark. It is also said that the coloured markings on their fur are due to God blessing the animals as they came off the Ark. Thought to have originated in the Lake Van region of Turkey, and to have existed there as a domestic breed for centuries, but first brought to Britain in the 1950’s.

Outstanding Physical Trait: The van colour pattern – white with colour on the head and tail only.


All images are open source, Google images, or my own – or photos donated for use by the pet owners.


If you have any questions or comments; please post a comment below, or contact Ali’s Answers via one of my social media pages…
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National Bird Day: 5th January 2018


National Bird Day is on 5th January every year; it is scheduled for the end of the annual Christmas Bird Count. The count helps to monitor our nation’s birds; members of the public go out and count as many birds as they can see during the three week count.

It is estimated that approximately 12% of the population of all bird species could face extinction within the next century. Many parrot species and songbirds face extinction due to illegal trade (see my post about the Javanese Songbird Trade for some related information), disease, and loss of habitat.

Today, National Bird Day, is to promote care and conservation of birds, as well as to raise awareness about their decline. It also marks the end of the Christmas Bird Count – which monitors wild populations to measure the numbers of individuals.

Many countries have a national bird, and I am going to use a few as examples to show the importance of National Bird Day, and the conservation of birds.

United Kingdom: European Robin 
The population of this bird has increased by 45% since 1970! The current count is 117,000,000-181,000,000 mature adults in Europe alone.

European Robin

United States of America: Bald Eagle
Estimated population of 300k-500k (k = thousand) in the 1700’s; the current population is now 70k in North America, and just 5k in the South. However numbers were as low as only 500 in mid-late 1800’s, so the population has increased again.

Bald Eagle

Italy: Italian Sparrow
The current population is 10-20 million individuals (5-10 million pairs) however have been classified as vulnerable due to their rapid decline at a rate of 54.2% between 2000 and 2015.

Italian Sparrow

Canada: Canada Goose
This species has steadily increased in population  at an estimated rate of 3% between 1998 and 2007. In 2015 the estimated population was 4.2-5.6 million.

Canada Goose

With the information from bird counts, we can take active steps to help conserve species when they need it – to show us the most vulnerable or endangered species, so that we can take steps to avoid their extinction.


All images are open source, Google images, or my own – or photos donated for use by the pet owners.


If you have any questions or comments; please post a comment below, or contact Ali’s Answers via one of my social media pages…
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2017 Annual Report


Sadly, the presentation form of the Annual Report is, again, unavailable this year. Usually, this is kindly provided by Word Press – with the fireworks, and stats all done for you.

In the absence of this, I have again produced my own (if you’re interested)… using the Word Press provided report/information for the different sections.

YOUR SITE IN 2017

Crunchy Numbers

A London Underground Tube holds (approximately) 876 people. This blog was viewed about 7,437 times in 2017. If it were a London tube, it would take over 8 trips to carry that many people.

The busiest day of the year was January 7th with 145 views – with the most popular post viewed that day being Shamu: Tilikum. This was closely followed by 89 views on October 11th – with the most popular views that day being My Work and International Tiger Day.

The best day overall in the history of Ali’s Answers is still May 2nd 2016 with 244 views – with the most popular post viewed that day being Curious About Cross-Breeds.

Posting Patterns

In 2017, there were 21 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 118 posts.

Jan – 4 posts
Feb – 2 posts
Mar – 2 posts
Apr – 1 post
May – 1 post
Jun – 1 post
Jul – 2 posts
Aug – 2 posts
Sep – 1 post
Oct – 1 post
Nov – 1 post
Dec – 3 posts

Attractions in 2016

Most Popular – Top 5 Posts of 2017

Some of my most popular posts were written before 2017. My writing has staying power!

Where did they come from?

Top 3 Countries: USA, UK, Canada.

Christmas Camel (Dromedary)


Yes it does seem like an odd title for a post – “hot” and “dry” and “sandy” are words that tend to come to [my] mind when thinking of camels; whereas “cold” and “frosty” and “snowy” are words that tend to come to [my] mind when thinking about Christmas… however there is logic!

Think of the school nativity play you played a role in (no matter how small) as a child – no room at the inn, Mary and Joseph in the stable, the birth of baby Jesus, and of course the visitors: the shepherds and their sheep, and the three wise men who rode in on their camels!

As Jesus was born in Bethlehem (a town south of Jerusalem), and lived in Nazareth (a city in north Jerusalem) – the camels the wise men rode in on were likely have been dromedary camels as they came from the East (and it took them about two years to get there, so they wouldn’t have actually visited Jesus in the stable).

Camels are even-toed insulated, with a hump or humps. Each hump is a mound of fat – stored up so that the animal does can go travel great distance without stopping to refuel! When the store has been used up the hump(s) will flop and become limp, until the animal has refuelled; the hump(s) will then return to their upright position

The dromedary or Arabian camel (scientifice name: Camelus dromedarius) is the one-humped camel; the smallest of the three remaining camel species. This species is found in the Middle-East and the Horn of Africa; likely the species the wise men travelled on. (The other camel species being the Bactrian.)

Standing between 1.7-2.0m tall and weighing 300-600kg the dromedary has a diet consisting of a range of desert vegetation; including thorny plants, dwarf shrubs, herbs, desert grasses, vines, and trees. They will graze for 8-12 hours each day.

A male camel is known as “bull”, a female is a “cow”, and the young as “a calf” or “calves”. After a 12-15 month gestation period the female will give birth in solitude, usually to a single calf, however on occasion may give birth to twins. The mother will then care for the young for up to two years.

Unfortunately, the dromedary has not naturally existed in the wild for a long time; thought to be around 2000 years. However there are feral camels of this species found, particularly in Australia (where they were introduced around 1840). But with breeding programmes around the world in animal collections, this species is still strong in number [for the time being].


All images are open source, Google images, or my own – or photos donated for use by the pet owners.


If you have any questions or comments; please post a comment below, or contact Ali’s Answers via one of my social media pages…
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Rare Species: Vaquita


The Vaquita is the rarest marine mammal in the world; a little porpoise, that wasn’t discovered until 1958. Now, almost 60 years on and they are on the brink of extinction. They are often caught in nets in marine protected areas, within Mexico’s Gulf of California, and drown as a result. Sadly, more than half of the population has been lost in the last three years.

The Vaquita is pale grey along its’ sides, dark grey on the dorsal surface (on top), and light grey/ white ventral surface (along the bottom). They have dark rings around the eyes and lips, and a dark thin line from the lips to the pectoral (front, side) fins. Newborns are darker in colour, with pale grey along the dorsal surface and head.

Since the freshwater River Dolphin species, the Baiji, went extinct in 2006 the Vaquita has taken the title of the world’s most endangered cetacean. As of 2016, there is suspected to be less than 30 left in the wild; a drastic drop in numbers since 1997 when there were approximately 600 in the wild.

The poaching of the endangered Totoaba fish, for its’ swim bladder – a Chinese delicacy, using gill-nets (fixed fishing nets) is the main cause of the Vaquita’s declining numbers. Vaquita’s get caught in gill-nets, and drown, as they cannot get free to get to the surface for air.

Gill-nets, though usually put in place for a single species, do not discriminate – many different species get caught, and often die. Whales, dolphins and porpoises all get trapped – some get away with injuries, whilst most die.

Dr. Anna Hall, of the Porpoise Conservation Society, said, There is nothing else we need to worry about other than gill-nets. If we remove the gill-nets, we will likely save the Vaquita.”


All images are open source, Google images, or my own – or photos donated for use by the pet owners.


If you have any questions or comments; please post a comment below, or contact Ali’s Answers via one of my social media pages…
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