Saturday, January 29, 2011

Owning a Pet Wolf

People often say they want a pet wolf. These beautiful, wild, canines, are the ancestors of all domestic dogs, and as such people often think owing them is an ideal. Who wouldn't want to own such an iconic animal? Who wouldn't want the attention of their peers as they walk down the street having dominion over such a creature as a wolf?

Well.. me for one.

The domestication of the wolf into the pet dog we see today, was not simply brought about by primitive people owing wild wolves. Undoubtedly they only kept the tamest animals and would have gotten rid of (or maybe even eaten) those with unsafe tendencies. It took generations before the wild wolf became a “pet dog”.  Not just any wolf was kept, only the smaller ones, the less aggressive ones, that were timid towards the other "wild" wolves were the ones that bonded with the people of the time. 

One of the closest domestic dogs to a wolf, is the Husky. Not everyone is suited to owning a Husky, these dogs are noted for being somewhat aloof, prone to jumping fences and running away, and can be a problem with cats, and livestock. Huskies need mile long (or more) runs every day. If a person is aware that they would not be a good owner for a Husky, they certainly would not be cut out to own a wolf, even where ownership is legal (it often requires a permit, and special fencing).

Wolf- Hybrids are wolves crossed with domestic dogs.  One must be careful when getting such a pet; a wolf hybrid will also require extra care, and lots of exercise and may have a high prey drive.  Also some sellers are not ethical, without proof that an animal is part wolf, it could be anything, even a poorly bred Husky!

In general ownership of an actual wolf is not for a person with little experience, they can be more demanding than a typical pet dog, and have more concerns in regards to physical needs.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Pet Fennec Foxes

Fennec Foxes are not at all like "Domestic Dogs".  Foxes are actually from a slightly different genetic line than domestic dogs, who are descended from wolves.  Fennec Foxes are more suited for a person who likes cats, than a person who wants a typical dog as a pet.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons
Keeping Fennec Foxes as pets often falls under different laws than keeping regular dogs.  Many places have banned these cute pets, they are currently not allowed as pets here in Alberta, where I am.

In some areas Fennec Foxes may be allowed as exotic pets with special permits. This something a person must learn before they get one as a pet.

The behavior of a Fennec Fox is somewhat cat like, they are clever, and playful, and enjoy exploring things.  They are mostly nocturnal, which can be a problem in some homes.  They will try to hunt during the night, much like a pet cat would.  Like all Foxes, they have a high prey drive and may bother smaller house pets.

Fennec Foxes should only be purchased from reputable breeders, never from pet stores.  Some animal shelters may adopt them out, however this is very uncommon.  Fennec Foxes are also sometimes sold at exotic pet shows and sales. 

Before getting a Fennec Fox as a pet, be sure they are allowed in your area and that you have a veterinarian willing to treat Fennec Foxes (and experienced).  As well more research should be done into the care of a Fennec Fox to be sure they fit your lifestyle.

Read More on Fennec Foxes as Pets

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Why Are Exotic Pets Banned in Some Areas

One struggle prospective exotic pet owners face is that the animal they may wish to keep is banned from where they live.

There are many reasons for this, depending on the animal, and the area, and the law makers.

When my husband asked why Fennec Foxes could not be kept as pets here in Alberta, he was told by somebody at the Fish and Wildlife department that it had something to do with a stripper having a tiger at a bar and people petitioned for a blanket type law against all exotic pets.  Over time a few exotic pets (such as wallabies) have been allowed, and people have been able to apply for zoo permits to own other certain exotic pets.  This may, or may not, be the real story, but this is what we were told by somebody who should know.
©Brenda Nelson

It is easy to understand why some areas would not allow dangerous exotic pets, but what about the seemingly harmless exotic pets, ferrets, hedgehogs, chickens?

Many exotic pets are not allowed due to the risk of them escaping and destroying native species, or due to the considers of them spreading disease to native species, or the risk they pose to humans.  In most areas keeping animals that are native to the area is not allowed as it is hard to determine if an animal has been legally bred - or illegally snatched from the wild. 

The livestock industry has been held to blame for protesting against allowing city people from keeping pet chickens.  Indeed if people could raise their own eggs, a whole industry would suffer.  This is a pity, since pet hens would have better lives than battery hens, and some chicken breeds make terrific pets!

In some areas it is simply too hard to enforce proper care of certain animals, so it is easier for law makers to ban the animal all together.

The public holds a large role in creating bans for exotic pets.  Public outcry is even held to blame for bans on certain breeds of dogs.

If you are in an area where a certain exotic pet is banned, you will have to apply for a special permit, lobby to have the laws changed, or move.  Keeping a pet where one is not allowed, not only puts you at risk for getting a fine, but the animal may be removed and euthanized immediately according to the laws in your area.

Are you Ready to Own an Exotic Pet?  Click here to find out!
Read about Concerns when Keeping a Pet Illegally.

This does give me the idea for writing something in regards to How to Lobby Against Exotic Pet Bans in Your Area.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

One of the Trials of Owning Exotic Pets

There are many things that make owning an exotic pet difficult.  Other than finding out if a certain pet is legal or not, another stumbling block can be finding a Veterinarian willing, and qualified, to treat exotic pets. 

Most veterinarians are trained to treat cats, dogs, or common livestock.  A few may have some education (or experience) with other pets such as rabbits or birds, but there are few that specialize in care for exotic pets.  This will be especially true of veterinarians in rural areas, or smaller cities, where the volume of exotic pets will be smaller.  Unless the veterinarian themselves owns such animals they simply do not encounter them often enough to be very familiar with care and special needs of some exotic pets. 

Treating exotic pets, and unusual livestock, is not as simple as you may think.  Some species have allergies to certain medications, or face greater risks from anesthesia.  As well certain species have different dietary needs, or risks.  For example Guinea Pigs must have Vitamin C added to their diet, but rabbits do not. Sheep cannot have copper, but goats need it.

Anyone interested in keeping an exotic pet, or unusual livestock animal, should first seek out good veterinary services for their pets. 

Read How to Find a Veterinarian for Exotic Pets

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Cute Little Ducks Called Call Ducks

In the world of ducks the Call Ducks are the bantams (small ones). The most common color of Call duck is “gray”, however these birds are not really gray, but rather they have the same coloring as Mallards, being smaller. Indeed these birds were bred to act as decoys to attract Mallards to a pond, or enclosed area, so the hunter could shoot them.

Call ducks weigh about 1.5 pounds, just over half a kilogram, and make terrific pets. They do require a proper enclosure and are often kept in a large pen with a pool for swimming. In most weather they are happy outside, but when nesting prefer to be under a shelter. This should be bedded with straw.

photo source - a White Call Duck

Call ducks can be purchased at bird shows, auctions (at ones that sell pet chickens and other fowl) or from private breeders who may advertise in livestock publications, or at local livestock feed stores. Call ducks can be purchased as mature birds, ducklings, or even hatching eggs.

Here at the Animal Cabin, we have a pair of gray Call Ducks, and they hatched out some ducklings for us.  You can read about them, see their pictures, and Learn more about Call Ducks and their Care - click here.

Discover the Difference between a Duck and a Goose - click here.