Exotic Pets

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  • Rabbits
    • Nutrition
      • Free choice grass hay (oat or timothy; not alfalfa)
      • If necessary, ¼ cup timothy pellets per five pounds of rabbit per day
      • 1 cup leafy dark green vegetables per five pounds of rabbit per day (dandelion greens, kale, mustard greens, etc.)
      • Treats: 1 level teaspoon per five pounds of rabbit per day (banana, apple, carrot, papaya)
      • Avoid processed sugars, bread, cookies, etc.
      • Free choice water
    • Habitat
      • Indoors—When not under supervision, a roomy wire cage with at least half of the floor’s surface area covered with Plexiglas or towels is recommended. The covered floor will protect feet from developing sores from the wire and the enclosed space will give your rabbit a sense of security. Rabbits like to chew and can be destructive, putting them in danger should they be left unattended and loose to chew electrical cords.
      • Outdoors—A roomy wire cage with mesh just large enough to allow fecal pellets to drop through is recommended. At least half of the floor’s surface should be covered with Plexiglas to protect your rabbit’s feet from sores and from stray animals. Ensure your rabbit has adequate shade and a hiding spot where he or she can retreat when feeling threatened.
      • Rabbits are most comfortable at 50° F. Temperatures above 80° F, especially in North Carolina’s high humidity, can stress a rabbit. Place a frozen, two-liter bottle of water in the rabbit cage each morning to help the bunny stay cool through the day.
    • Veterinary Care—While rabbits do not require vaccinations, they do benefit from being spayed or neutered between the ages of 6 and 8 months. As with dogs and cats, spaying and neutering your rabbit will protect them from many illnesses and cancer related to the reproductive organs.
  • Ferrets
    • Nutrition—Ferrets should be fed ferret food. We recommend Pretty Pets Gold Ferret Food. Fresh food and water should always be available to them. Water bottles are preferred as ferrets like to play in water dishes and make a large mess, but rodent water bottles are not recommended because ferrets can damage their teeth on the spout.
    • Habitat—Ferrets are highly active and curious animals that require the ability to roam free and explore in large areas. They should be caged only when necessary. They love to tunnel and enjoy anything they can crawl into and through, so PVC pipe mazes make wonderful toys. Ferrets should be housed indoors and need to live in dry environments that do not get overly hot.
    • Veterinary Care
      • Vaccinations—Ferrets are given vaccinations against canine distemper and rabies. They should visit the vet every six months for health exams.
      • Spaying/neutering—All ferrets should be fixed before reaching sexual maturity due to health complications in non-breeding animals.
      • Hygiene—Most ferrets are altered before adoption. At this time, ferret scent glands are typically removed. They do have a natural musky odor though. You can bathe them regularly to reduce this odor.
      • Illness—Ferrets like to chew on soft rubber and small objects that can block their intestines and cause excruciating pain and death. Keep small items out of your ferret’s area and avoid grain-based foods, such as breads, cakes, cookies, and the like, which can also cause blockages. Ferrets can catch the same kinds of colds and influenza that people catch, so hand washing is very important when handling your pet. If possible, any person with a cold should limit contact with a ferret, and any person with an influenza virus should avoid all contact with ferrets.
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