Category: Lagomorphs and Rodents

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Endangered Earth

Endangered Earth


In the past 10 years we have lost several animal species – in this day and age we consider ourselves better than our predecessors, yet we are still the main cause of animals going extinct… we’re no better than those before us – in some ways we’re worse, as we are not doing what we do to survive; we are doing it for “fun” or “progress”. In what civilised or ‘advanced’ society is there place for this abominable behaviour? Yes, this post is looking to be an informative rant-type…

In the past century many animal species have been wiped from the planet, below is a selection (from the past decade) of those lost forever:
(1) 2015 – Eastern Cougar
(2) 2014 – Malagasy Hippopotamus
(3) 2013 – Formosan Clouded Leopard
(4) 2012 – Pinta Tortoise
(5) 2012 – Zanzibar Leopard
(6) 2012 – Japanese River Otter
(7) 2011 – Western Black Rhinoceros
(8) 2010 – Alatora Grebe
(9) 2010 – Derwent River Sea Star
(10) 2009 – Christmas Island Pipistrelle Bat
(11) 2008 – Spotted Green Pigeon (Liverpool Pigeon)
(12) 2008 – Caribbean Monk Seal

Many species that are extinct today is due to humans – we hunt to extinction, we destroy habitats, we remove animals from the wild for fashion or entertainment – we first make them extinct in the wild and then we deplete the captive animals until they’re gone… and many other reasons.
The ICUN Red List contains information of the endangerment of species.
We used to hunt sustainably for food, and in many countries/cultures this is still the case, but most of the hunting (at least in first world cultures) is for “fun” or “sport” and is unjustifiably cruel and unnecessary. The man that hunts to feed his family and/or community is not the reason Elephants and Rhino’s are depleting in number and becoming extinct; the cruelty of riding out with a pack of dogs to have them tear apart an innocent fox is not for any justifiable reason; the mind-set of people needs to change to make a difference… the bans we have in place need to be enforced to make a difference… we all want a better world but that won’t happen if we cannot really change.

We have bans (in certain countries) on things like fox hunting, whale hunting (whaling), shark finning, dog and cock fighting, removing animals from the wild (with conservation excepted), and many more abhorrent things – yet these bans are not universal, and often not enforced. If there are no consequences for these actions, or these consequences are not adhered to and/ or enforced, then what power do these bans have? Where then is the protection for these creatures?

Red Fox

Animals are a lot more important to their ecosystems than people give them credit for – the removal or addition of one species has an affect on everything around it. Take the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park for example – video link here (this is in no way my video) – thanks to wolves being back in the ecosystem, the rivers went back to how they used to be, plants that had been destroyed by the overpopulation of deer returned, because the wolves kept down the deer population – things went back to the way they were; back to how they should be. Why did the ecosystem breakdown in the first place; why did the wolves become extinct in Yellowstone? Because of us. Because of humans. Because we killed them off…Grey Wolf

The way we are going, the same thing will happen again and again, with more species. We, as a species, need to change before we are the only species left on a dying planet – small steps to ensure that other species don’t become myth and fairy-tales, instead of living, breathing creatures that share this planet.

Moving: With Pets (Part 1)

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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International Rabbit Day: 24 September 2017

Happy International Rabbit Day

Initially classified as Rodents but, in the early 20th Century, re-classified as Lagomorphs; rabbits in the wild exist on every continent except Asia and Antarctica, and domestically world-wide.

A male rabbit is known as a Buck and a female is known as a Doe. Baby rabbits are often mistakenly thought to be known as Bunnies, but a young rabbit is actually known as a Kit or a Kitten.

For more information about rabbits, check out another of my posts, Bunny Basics – http://alisanswers.com/index.php/2014/03/28/bunny-basics/ 

Rare Species: Ili Pika

Rare Species: Ili Pika

For over two decades this little lagomorph was winning at the “hide” part of the game “hide and seek”! Until it was finally spotted again in 2014, after being thought to be [practically] extinct.

The Ili Pika (scientific name: Ochotona iliensis) is an eight-inch long rabbit and hare relative, and is one of the world’s most endangered animals. The census carried out in 2014 showed that less than 1,000 individuals of this tiny animal is believed to be left in the wild. That more endangered than the Giant Panda. Unfortunately, little more is known about this species – thought to be diurnal with some nocturnal activity.

First discovered by Li Weidong in 1983, this man has watched as the species he discovered has declined in number over the years, becoming endangered – with no one working to protect this species, or their habitat, their numbers may well keep decreasing. It was named after where Li first spotted the Pika, on the far west side of China’s Xinjiang province; the Ili Prefecture. They live in holes in the rocks, high up in the mountains – at heights of between 2,800-4,100 metres.

The cause of the reduction in the habitat of this little furry creature is unknown; however contributing factors may include the increasing population of people moving further into the habitat of the Pika, due to climate change – the reduction of snow at lower altitudes,  and causing a reduction in grazing areas. Whatever the cause, there is no conservation system in place currently; however the rediscovery of this species has boosted them into the media since 2014, raising awareness.

 


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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Fun Times

Fun Times

Life has been pretty busy recently, and a blog post done in a rush or without my full attention is not something I want to do. I enjoy my blog posts, and I hope anyone reading them also enjoys – so I won’t post something not done properly.

Instead, check out some fun animal-related videos on YouTube. Please note that I am in no way affiliated with any of these videos; they are not mine, or posted by anyone I know. I am just guilty of watching them too often online!

I love this video, “Cat-Friend vs Dog-Friend” – I think is a a funny (and kind of accurate) depiction of dogs and cats in the home.

I also love this video, “Dog wants a kitty” – apart from the owner of this frustrated pooch being scarily accurate in matching his voice-over to the dog’s behaviour and mouth movements, I think it would be just ace to be able to have conversations like this with your pooch! Wonder what voice your pet would have? Also check out the related video, “Ultimate Dog Tease” – poor thing is just hungry!

And one for the musically inclined, “Hamster on a piano” – not quite sure what I love more in this video; the fact the hamster is nomming popcorn, or the fact that (s)he is just so not bothered about what’s going on because (s)he has popcorn!

Have you got any fun animal-related videos I have missed, or you just feel the need to share? Please post a comment below, or via one of my social media pages…
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Largest Species – Rodent; Cabybara

Largest Species – Rodent; Cabybara

The Capybara is the world’s largest rodent species; specifically part of the Cavy family (related to the Guinea Pig). The Capybara can grow up to 4.5ft in length, and lives for 10-12 years on average. They are herbivores; eating a diet of grass, aquatic plants, fruits and berries.  Like all rodents, their two front teeth (both top and bottom) are continually growing throughout their life ; this means that they must gnaw and chew food to keep them down.

Capybara

This large species is native to South America; inhabiting a range of tropical / temperate/ wet forests and grasslands (including the Amazon Rainforest), swamps and marshes, and lakes/ ponds.

They love to spend time in water; they are excellent swimmers and can spend up to 5 minutes under the water at a time. This is advantageous for hiding in the water from predators. The Capybara can also sleep in the water, with just their noses poking out for air.

Capybara_Hattiesburg_Zoo_(70909b-58)_2560x1600

Capybara’s live in groups and are quite sociable. Groups can range from 10-40; but average around 20. Within a group there is a single dominant male, with the his females (and possibly some subordinate males too). The females within the group will collectively care for all of the young. A Capybara can have between 1-6 pups in a litter; with gestation (pregnacy) lasting only 5 months.

Capybara_male

The Capybara is a thriving species, and though is hunted for food and other uses by humans, they are not endangered (however hunting is restricted to help ensure the longevity of this species for the future). They are commonly found in zoos all over the world, so you can see this amazing creature for yourself!

 

National Pet Week: 4th-10th May

National Pet Week: 4th-10th May

This week is National Pet Week – a week to remember your loving pets; past and present.

All the companion animals that made their way into our hearts; the members of the family that we can’t live without. From large to tiny – no matter what species, pets are held close by their families.

Here are some photo’s of “People’s Pets” shared via various (Ali’s Answers) social media pages (if you want your pet adding to this post, share via the social media options at the end of this post:-

New Discoveries: Tuco-tuco

New Discoveries: Tuco-tuco

Did you know that we are still discovering new species?

Over a period of posts, I will go through a few new discoveries from 2014…

Four new species of Tuco-tuco (small rodent) has been discovered in Bolivia in 2014. The Tuco-tuco is named after the “tuc tuc” vocalisation they make. There were thought to be eight species of Tuco-tuco in Bolivia; but with these new discoveries there are now twelve species of this little rodent species in this area. There are around 65 species scattered throughout South America.

They are classified as Mammals, of the order Rodent, and the genus Ctenomys. They are a small burrowing rodent, with large front teeth. Their closest relative is thought to be the Degu.

The Tuco-tuco is a herbivore, primarily feeding on grass. As well as grazing; grass (and other vegetation) is collected, and stored in burrows.

The Tuco-tuco measures between 18-30cm long, and weighs less than half a kilogram! They are fairly sedentary by nature (couch-potatoes if it was you or me!); however some species are social, others are not. They are a diurnal species – meaning that they are most active at dawn and dusk, and spend a lot of time above ground compared to most rodent species.

Open source Google image

 

National Visit the Zoo Day

National Visit the Zoo Day

In tribute to all the species kept in zoos and safari parks, enjoy some pictures of species that are wild, unusual, rarely seen (outside of zoos/ safari parks), and protected species/ last of their species.

Not everyone agrees with zoos or safari parks – there can certainly be improvements made; but on the other hand, we all enjoy visiting the zoo or safari park and taking in the exquisite and diverse animal species.

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