TROPICAL FISH

As tropical fish display such a variety of colour and line, it is not surprising that keeping them has become something of a cult. Since many are incompatible, and some — notably the piranha — are deadly carnivores, beginners should take an aquarist’s advice before attempting to stock a community tank. Among the fish most…

European Pond Terrapins

European Pond Terrapins

Terrapins are carnivorous and need a diet of raw meat, whole fish, and such freshwater life as Daphnia, Gammarus and Tubifex. Both crustaceans and molluscs will be taken complete with their shells, which are valu- able for their calcium content. Terrapins will also eat pond weeds and lettuce. ACCOMMODATION Terrapins should be kept in a…

Caring For Tortoises

Caring For Tortoises

VARIETIES Tortoises are land animals, turtles are marine and terrapins live in freshwater, although in America the word ‘turtle’ is used to describe all three. Those kept as pets are usually Mediterranean tortoises, European pond terrapins and tropical Red-eared terrapins. None of these animals is well enough suited to our northern climate to successfully breed,…

Cage Bird Varieties

Cage Bird Varieties

The two most popular kinds of cage bird are the budgerigar and the canary. The first is a small Australian parrot and is by nature a roving flock bird from semi-arid grasslands; the other, is a flock bird of the finch family and is native to the forests of the Canary Islands. The care of…

Mongolian Gerbils

Mongolian Gerbils

Many species of gerbil have been kept as pets, but of all the different kinds it is the Mongolian gerbil, with its distinctive black claws, that has established itself as a very successful pet. ACQUIRING A GERBIL Gerbils are born after a pregnancy of twenty-four days. The young are very immature and small with dark…

Rabbit Breeds

Pedigree rabbits are classified as normal fur breeds which include Chinchillas, Californians and New Zealands; fancy breeds, including English, Dutch, Angoras, Lops, Netherland Dwarfs and Flemish Giants and the Rex and Satin breeds. The smaller rabbits whether mongrel or purebred, are to be preferred as pets to the larger breeds, which may be very difficult…

Pet Care Basics

In many homes the pets are introduced by the children, who understandably cannot resist the thought of an interesting new companion in their lives. Yet, when young children ask for pets and still more pets, they are not taking into account all the responsibilities involved. These concern the parents, and it is they who must…

How To Breed Rabbits

How To Breed Rabbits

Rabbits have to be kept singly in hutches and this means than breeding has to be undertaken deliberately, rather than letting nature take its course. Still, breeding is fun and is not difficult. Small breeds mature sooner than large, so that while a Dutch doe may be bred as early as five months, a larger…

Handling Rabbits

Handling Rabbits

Rabbits have been domesticated for so long that even youngsters of a few weeks display no fear. It is rare that petting or coaxing is necessary to overcome the animal’s natural caution. This makes the rabbit an ideal pet even for quite young children, who could not be trusted with a smaller animal for fear…

Rabbit Hutch Tips

Rabbit Hutch Tips

Rabbits are kept in hutches either in a shed or in a sheltered part of the garden. Hutches are usually made of wood, preferably of tongued and grooved timber to minimise draughts. They should not be less than 36in. long, 24in. deep and 18in. high, perhaps a little smaller for the smallest breeds but about…

Buying A Pet Rabbit

Buying A Pet Rabbit

Rabbits make an ideal pet for most children because their larger size means that they can be handled more roughly without harm befalling them. By the same token, they can, be handled more easily. There is no question of their tameness for rabbits have been bred in captivity for so long that any wildness has…

Guinea Pig Illnesses

Guinea Pig Illnesses

Sickness is not something to be anticipated because guinea-pigs are tough little creatures. However, one cannot ignore the fact that illness may strike despite careful attention to feeding and hygiene. The typical signs of ill-health are a bedraggled coat, listless behaviour and absence of appetite. At the first signs, the animal should be separated from…

Breeding Guinea Pigs

Breeding Guinea Pigs

It is easy to set about breeding guinea-pigs. All one has to do is allow the boar and sow to run together and nature will do the rest. Both sexes will show sign:- of sexual behaviour at an early age but this is a form of play or preparation for more serious behaviour when older….

Handling Guinea Pigs

Handling Guinea Pigs

Guinea-pigs are so naturally tame that little difficulty should be experienced in handling for the first time. Most animals show some signs of nervousness with strangers and this nervousness can be overcome by treating the animal kindly and unhurriedly. Gently stroke and pet him but make no attempt to pick him op if he cowers…

Feeding Guinea Pigs

Feeding Guinea Pigs

The guinea-pig will accept a great many different foods and these may be grouped into two sorts. Dry food and green stuff of various descriptions. Both kinds of food are essential and, in this respect, both guinea-pigs and rabbits differ from most other pet rodents who can live on a dry diet with a bare…

Buying Guinea Pigs

Buying Guinea Pigs

The guinea-pig is larger than rats, mice and hamsters. A fully grown animal will weigh between two and three pounds and be about nine inches long. They have squat, tubby bodies and are surprisingly strong. Young people handling a guinea-pig for the first time may be astonished at an absence of tail (even the hamster…

Looking After Pet Mice

Looking After Pet Mice

The hamster may have displaced mice as the most popular of small rodents but, nevertheless, mice are still cute little creatures and have an irresistible appeal for many boys and girls. Pet mice are clean, docile and very adaptable animals, thriving on all sorts of food and often in spite of far from ideal conditions….

Common Ailments Of Gerbils

Common Ailments Of Gerbils

Gerbils have few ailments provided they are housed in clean, dry cages, fed sensibly, kept away from draughts and not exposed to extremes of temperature. This is all to the good, because it is not easy to doctor small animals. Gerbils may have their “off” days when they are quieter than normal but they soon…

Breeding Gerbils

Breeding Gerbils

A pair of healthy gerbils living together can be expected to produce a litter of young in due course. Sexual maturity occurs about 9 to 12 weeks of age and pregnancy lasts about 25 days. Therefore, the first litter could be arriving about the 15th week. However, do not worry if a litter does not…

Handling Gerbils

Handling Gerbils

The art of taming gerbils is in encouraging the animals to become used to you. Young gerbils are often nervous and this is due to inexperience. It is essential to be gentle, unhurried and not to force the pace. Make the gerbils’ natural curiosity work for you. Leave the cage door open on a table…

Feeding Gerbils

Feeding Gerbils

A “special” food for gerbils is unnecessary. Their diet is somewhat more restricted than that of the hamster but nevertheless provides plenty of variety. A simple guide is to give ample food but not sufficient for the food to go to waste. Food which has been fouled by urine or has deteriorated with age can…

Keeping Gerbils

Keeping Gerbils

The gerbil is one of the newest of small pets and most fascinating they are, too, particularly for people who like something out-of-the-ordinary. They are bright, active and very inquisitive little creatures, with little smell. Once they have become accustomed to new surroundings and to their owner, they display a lack of fear which is…

Feeding Hamsters

Feeding Hamsters

It has rightly been said that hamsters will eat anything —well, almost anything. Most rodents are nibblers and the hamster is no exception. Leave a hamster on a table, say, with a mixed variety of food and watch its behaviour. It will pouch quite a lot but it is especially interesting to see the way…

Varieties Of Hamster

The hamster has become one of the popular pets of modern times. Just why is really not hard to understand. It is small and easy to keep, does not require expensive nor uncommon food, and its endearing behaviour soon wins over those people who would look upon the little chap “as just another rodent”. The…