Category Archives: Birds

Pet Travel Safety


People don’t think about safety during travel with regards to there pets, as much as they should; especially with dogs in cars. Travelling with our pets is something we almost all do at some point – even if it’s just a trip to the vets.

Safety is important when travelling – smaller pets ought to be in a safe, secure pet carrier; suitable for the size of your pet. Someone ought to securely hold the small pets in the carrier, or the carrier ought to be secured in your vehicle; so that the carrier does not move about too much or tip over.

Hamster in carrier

Larger animals can be in larger pet carriers and crates/ cages, and secured in your vehicle. This can be a carrier that is mobile, or fitted in your vehicle.

Dog in crate
Dog in crate

Alternatives for larger pets, such as dogs and cats, are pet seat belts. These consist of harnesses and some way to fasten them into the seat belt buckle; some plug straight into the buckle plug, others have a loop in which the seatbelt goes through and plugs in as normal.

Dog Car Harness (loop)
Dog Car Harness (loop)

What is important to remember is that it’s not just your pet you put at risk by leaving them loose during travel. They could be a distraction and cause an accident without meaning to, and they are a weight that can be thrown into a person or out a window/windscreen if you get into a crash. Now my little Bedlington, in the image above, is 17″ to the shoulder and weighs upwards of 10kg – if he was lose in my car and there was an accident, 10kg slamming into a person could kill them; 10kg shooting out the window/windscreen could kill your pet too…

It is one of my biggest pet peeves (no pun intended) is seeing pets loose in a vehicle – the danger for the pet and people is greater than we tend to give credit to.

World Animal Day


4th October 2014 – World Animal Day

Also known as International Animal Day or World Animal Lover Day. World Animal Day is a day for remembering all animals; by the people who love and respect them.

So enjoy the following animal images…

Common Behavioural Problems: Feather Plucking


Behaviour Banner

Birds range from the little songbirds in your garden, to the powerful birds of prey, and various kinds of flightless birds – they certainly vary a lot between various species. They have been popular as pets as early as the 1700’s. Christopher Columbus brought 2 Cuban Amazon Parrots back from his travels in the 1490’s.

We all love our pets, no matter how they became introduced into our history, and our individual lives. The sad things about domestic life for our pets, is that sometimes it can result in behavioural problems; without always knowing the cause.

Grooming is a normal, natural behaviour – in birds known as ‘preening’. Feather plucking is when this normal, natural behaviour becomes obsessive, and done to excess. Birds may do this to themselves, or to others in their group.

Possible Causes:
– Nutritional deficiencies/ unbalanced nutrition
– Poor Diet
– Food sensitivity/ intolerances/ allergies
– Disease
– Itchy skin/ skin problems
– Frayed feathers
– Boredom (insufficient stimulation)
– Dirty environment
– Wrong environment

Moluccan Cockatoo
Moluccan Cockatoo

Possible Solutions:
–  Change in diet
–  Allergy tests (steering clear of the allergen)
– Food supplements
– Regular vet checks
– Stimulation: toys, interaction, treats/fruit/veg
– Plenty of light; not left in the dark
– Clean environment
– Sufficient space (but not too much) per bird
– Suitable type of environment; cage (tall or wide), paddock, by water, dirt bath, places to perch (at different levels)

Geese
Geese

Toys:

Ensure these are appropriate for your bird; for the species. Stimulating toys with bells and pieces that move are good for birds such as parrot types.
Mop/ rope toys (without loops!) are good for occupying birds with a pulling/ preening activity – keeping feather preening to a normal and safe amount.
Some birds like toys that look like birds, and this can be beneficial; others will be stressed by this kind of toy – know your bird and what they like, so as to best care for your pet.


If you have any questions or comments, or would like more information regarding this post; or if you have anything specific you would like me to cover in a future post, then either leave a comment below, or contact me via one of my social media pages:-
. Google+ (Ali’s Animal Answers)
. Facebook (Ali’s Animal Answers)
. Twitter (@AnimalFreak24)
. LinkedIn (Ali Holloway)

Common Behavioural Problems: Introduction


What is a behavioural problem?
(a) A natural behaviour that is undesirable to the owner, but very desirable to the animal.
(b) A natural behaviour that us undesirable to both owner and animal.
(c) An abnormal behaviour exhibited (and often done in repetition) that suggests the animal has an inability to cope with something in its environment (known as Stereotypical Behaviour).

Common Behavioural Problems:
– Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (O.C.D.)
– Coprophagia (eating faeces – not abnormal for certain species)
– Aggression
– Excessive Vocalisation
– Scratching/ biting/ kicking/ rearing/ bucking
– Anxiety
– Tail Chasing
– Feather Plucking/ Fur Pulling
– Chewing (things that they are not meant to chew)
– Hyper-excitability
– Excessive Grooming
– Wind Sucking/ Cribbing

Stereotypical Behaviours:
– Pacing
– Weaving/ Swaying
– Head Bobbing
– Circling
– Neck Twisting
– Bar Biting
– Rocking
– Self-Mutilation
– Vomiting (and then eating it, and vomiting again)
– Coprophilia (playing with faeces)
– Coprophaga (repeated)

How can behavioural problems be approached?
(1) Educating the owner
(2) Modifying the environment
(3) Modifying the animal


I will be doing some follow up posts on some of these behavioural problems, and some ways to tackle them. If you have anything specific you would like me to cover then either leave a comment below, or contact me via one of my social media pages:-
. Google+ (Ali’s Animal Answers)
. Facebook (Ali’s Animal Answers)
. Twitter (@AnimalFreak24)
. LinkedIn (Ali Holloway)

Pet Health Check: Body


As a response to a message asking to know more about health checking your pet at home, here is some information… part two:

Last weeks post covered the face, this week will cover health checking the rest of the body – as a continuation from the face/ head…

SPINE:
From feeling for lumps, nicks, cuts, etc. on the head and face of your animal; run your hands gently down the spine, feeling all along for anything out of the ordinary.
– check the spine is straight, not sticking out at any odd angles
– no lumps or swelling around the spine
– check the skin around the spine is not punctured or wounded (open)
– feel gently, slowly, and carefully

TAIL:
– same as above, just continue down the spine to the tail, checking the same things
– if your pet is a tail chaser, check that your pet has not caught its’ tail and done damage (with their teeth)

ABDOMEN:
– gently apply a slight pressure, to check for any pain
– feel for any internal lumps

RIBCAGE:
– check it feels normal for the species, not oddly shaped
– gently apply pressure, checking there is no pain (nothing feels broken)
– no lumps or swelling

LEGS/ WINGS/ HIPS/ SHOULDERS:
– no lumps, swelling, cuts, nicks, etc.
– free from pain when gentle pressure is applied
– joints bend normally; no pain or stiffness

FEET/ NAILS/ HOOVES:
– not too long; curling
– not flaking or split
– clean and free from dirt, debris, stones, etc.

FUR/ FEATHERS/ SCALES/ SKIN:
The fur patterns on your pet tend to match up with the skin colour; i.e. black patches of fur will have dark skin beneath, white fur will have pale skin beneath, brown fur will have brown skin beneath (etc. etc.) so know what your pet looks like all over so you can tell if anything is unusual. Know what is normal for your pet in terms of fur/ skin/ feather/ scale type, note any benign abnormalities so that you are able to ascertain when anything unusual occurs.
– skin: free from dryness/ crusting; fur/feathers: free from dandruff/ debris
– fur free from matting/ knots
– feathers should have a healthy shine
– fur should be soft and shiny
– wire hair/fur should not be brittle
– scales ought to be normal; not raised, or discoloured
– free from parasites, abrasions, lesions, infection

Male Bearded Dragon

Did you know? The 5 Freedoms


Short one this week. As much as we love our pets, not all animals have it as good as our little sweetie’s. Some have it very bad which sucks. It’s lovely to read rescue adoption stories and see animals get a second chance at happiness (they needn’t need a second chance, they should be loved right the first time).

The UK has the best animal welfare laws in the world, but even our laws do very little to help animals that really need it, without hard evidence. There are the 5 Freedom’s that were originally written by farmers for livestock, but have since been applied to domestic animals too. I have also realised that not many people have actually heard of the 5 Freedom’s – so this is merely an informative post to share what the 5 Freedom’s are and what they mean.

1. Freedom from hunger and thirst – fresh water readily available at all times, and a diet to maintain a healthy vigour

2. Freedom from discomfort – providing a suitable environment, including shelter and a comfortable area to rest

3. Freedom from pain, injury or disease – by prevention, or rapid diagnosis and treatment

4. Freedom to express normal behaviour – by providing sufficient space and proper facilities, and the company of the animal’s own kind (suitable socialisation)

5. Freedom from fear and distress – ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering

I firmly believe in providing animals with the highest standard of care and good welfare that is possible. These are a good starting point.

Daisy Dog & myself
Daisy Dog & myself

Sleep Time!


I have been thinking about sleep this week, and how with longer days and more sunlight during summer, often we rise earlier and stay up later. This is because of serotonin released in your brain (the waking hormone) caused by sunlight (you can counter this with heavy curtains that block out most light). Melatonin is the hormone that causes sleep. Obviously these hormones work differently depending on what species you are, and whether you are diurnal, nocturnal or a crepuscular species.

Anyway – with all that technical nonsense floating around my brain I decided to share some random things about animals and sleep, with a few pictures for your enjoyment too!


Fish and snake need darkness to help them sleep due to not having eyelids – snakes may bury in substrate but fish do not, so remember to turn off tank lights

Some species of snails can sleep for as long as 3 years!

Elephants sleep only 3 and a half hours per day, usually standing

Horses and cows cannot dream unless they sleep lying down

Giraffes need less than 2 hours of sleep per day, often getting no more than half an hour of sleep daily – broken into several intervals of between 5-10 minutes – they sleep the least of of all mammals

Giraffe
Giraffe

When dogs sleep on their back, with their paws up, they are in a deep sleep

The little brown bat sleeps up to 12-20 hours a day

Cats (big & small) need a minimum of 12 hours sleep per day, on average sleep for 14 hours daily

Sharks must keep moving whilst they sleep, often covering great distances

Birds have a locking system to stabilize them whilst they sleep, perched

Kookaburra
Kookaburra

Dolphins and ducks can half sleep – where only half their brain is asleep at a time, the other half stays awake!

Flamingo’s also sleep half their brain at a time, whilst on one leg

Walruses can go up to 3 days without sleep, but when they do sleep they get on average of 14 hours (just like cats!) daily

Koala’s sleep approximately 18 hours daily

Sloth’s sleep 15-18 hours daily (not as much as you may have thought)

sloth
Sloth

Bats sleep (and rest) hanging upside-down as their wings are not strong enough to take off from standing – they need to drop into flight

The green tree-frog turns a tan colour during sleep

Prey species tend to sleep little and often in safe (often high) places, or stood up – whereas predator species sleep for long periods and where they like


I hope that you found that interesting – if you want any more information or have any questions, about anything animal related, please feel free to ask in the ‘thoughts’ box below or on the comments page, or via social media sites
– Facebook, Google+, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Want To Know More? Emperor Penguins


As a response to a message asking to know more about Emperor Penguins, here is some information you may not have known…

Emperor penguins are the largest species of penguin. They are streamlined, with waterproof feathers – specially adapted for swimming. The colours of a penguin are for camouflage – the black back, when viewed from above, make the penguin appear to blend in with the sea; the white underside causes the penguin to blend in to the sea when viewed from below. This makes the ideal hunters in the sea (but does not stop them being hunted!) – although penguins cannot be in the cold sea for too long.

Penguins, again, are specially adapted for this with the ability to  store undigested food in their stomach for up to 3 weeks! They do this by maintaining their stomach temperature  around 38°C and keeping the pH levels of their stomach constant. During this time the stomach will not fluctuate and everything will remain internally constant. Penguins also do this for shorter periods of time when feeding their young, so that they can regurgitate food for them – until they can hunt for themselves; until they are big enough, with their adult feathers (waterproof enough to hunt in the sea).

Emperor Penguins live in temperatures ranging from 0°C to -60°C whilst maintaining an internal body temperature of 35°C to 41°C. The thick layers of blubber that penguins have, under their waterproof feathers, helps to keep them warm, as well as huddling together. Huddling together works best for the penguins in the middle, the outer huddle individuals will bare the brunt of the cold, so the penguins will rotate to avoid anyone freezing to death.

Random fact – polar bears are not a predator of penguins. Why? Because polar bears do not live in the same place!

 

Smallest Species – Bird, Reptile, Amphibian


Bee Hummingbird – the smallest bird in the world
  • Approximately 5-6 cm in length (from tip of bill to end of tail)
  • This species weighs approximately 1.6-2.6 g
  • Males are smaller than females, on average being 5.5 cm in length and 1.6 g in weight
  • Females are the larger of the species, on average being 6.2 cm in length and 2.6 g in weight
  • Mainly found in Cuba
  • Their wings can beat up to 200 times per second
  • They will visit an average of 1,500 flowers daily
  • These tiny birds must eat half their total body mass (and drink eight times their total body mass) every day to support their high metabolism
  • A solitary species, exceptions made only during breeding times
Jaragua Sphaero a.k.a. Dwarf Gecko – the smallest reptile in the world
  • This little gecko is only 0.6-0.8 inches in length; averaging a length of 0.63 inches
  • It weighs just 0.00455 of an ounce!
  • This species lives in the Caribbean; many in the protected Jaragua National Park
  • This is a very endangered species – threatened with extinction!
  • It is a terrestrial species, spending most of the day on the floor hiding in undergrowth
  • They do, however, spend their nights sleeping off the ground (hopefully away from predators!)
  • The Virgin Islands dwarf gecko is a very similar size measuring an average size of 0.71 inches in length
  • These 2 lizards are the smallest of the 23,000 species in the group Amniotes (all reptiles, birds and mammals)
Paedophryne amauensis (frog) – the smallest amphibian in the world
  • Also the smallest of all vertebrates
  • Has no common name, only the scientific name
  • From Papua New Guinea; lives amongst leaf litter in rainforests
  • Average size is 0.27 inches in length
  • The males are smaller than the females when fully grown
  • Discovered in 2009; officially announced in 2012
  • Discovered by Christopher Austin
  • They fill a small species specific, ecological niche
  • They can jump 30 times longer than their body size

 

“Did You Know?” at Easter


Easter themed animal facts – Easter chicks & Easter bunnies!

 “Did You Know?” Easter chicks

There are more chickens than people in the world

There are more chickens than any other bird species in the world

Chickens have different alarm calls for different types of predators

Chickens have over 30 different calls

Chickens have full-colour vision

Baby chickens are called chicks

Female chickens are known as pullets until they’re old enough to lay

Laying females are known as hens

Male chickens are called roosters, cocks or cockerels

The part of a rooster that dangles under his beak is called a wattle

 A chickens toenails and beak each have a blood supply

Heard the phrase “running around like a headless chicken”? – there is some truth in this, the longest time period recorded, of a chicken living without its head, was 18 months!

The fear of chickens is known as Alektorophobia

Chickens are afraid wide open spaces, this is known as Agoraphobia

Rooster

“Did You Know?” Easter bunnies

For more bunny information – including terminology – check out my “Bunny Basics!” post (http://wp.me/p4i7kX-7c)

The biggest rabbit is 50lbs (3.5 stone!) and is called Darius – he is 4ft 3″ in length

Darius lives in the UK and is also the most valuable rabbit – insured for over £950,000.00

The largest litter reported to date was 24 kits the litter

At a run, a rabbit can reach 35 mph!

Rabbits on average live 8-12 years, the oldest rabbit lived to be 16

Rabbits are crepulscular animals – meaning they are most active at dawn and dusk

Rabbits can jump 36″ high

Rabbits cannot vomit – like horses, they lack the reflex

In the UK, the rabbit is the 3rd most popular pet (after dogs and cats)

A rabbit can growl and/ or scream when threatened

Rabbits scent mark their territory with scent glands under their chin

The fear of rabbits is known as Leporiphobia

Bunny Rabbit
Bunny Rabbit

I hope that you found the random Easter animal facts a bit of fun – if you want any more information, or have any questions, please feel free to ask in the ‘thoughts’ box below or on the comments page, or via social media sites
– Facebook, Google+, Twitter or LinkedIn.

HAPPY EASTER!