Category Archives: FAQ Friday

FAQ Friday #6: Why don’t you sell bunnies for Easter?

We love bunnies here at The Animal Store and we sell a lot of cute ones to people who really want a pet rabbit. But this time of year, some people get excited about the idea of having a real, live “Easter Bunny” without giving a lot of thought about what happens after the holiday is over.

This year, in conjunction with Red Door Animal Shelter, we have taken the Easter Amnesty Pledge, which reads:

Rabbits are the third-most frequently relinquished species at shelters across the country. This problem is exacerbated shortly after the Easter holiday has passed when rabbits are purchased on impulse and the novelty of the new pet has worn off, and the rabbit starts to grow, mature, and need more care.

At The Animal Store, we are committed to promoting high-quality rabbit care and responsible pet guardianship. Therefore, we agree not to sell rabbits between April 2, 2012 and April 13, 2012.

Like all pets, rabbits are a commitment. Did you know that a spayed or neutered pet rabbit can live for 8 to 12 years? Here are a few more interesting bunny facts:

  • Rabbits can be litter trained.
  • A rabbit’s teeth never stop growing.
  • The American Rabbit Breeders Association recognizes 47 unique breeds.
  • The small Netherland Dwarf rabbit weighs about 2.5 pounds full grown, while the British Giant Rabbit can weigh more than 15 pounds.
  • Since rabbits are ground dwellers, they don’t like to be picked up and will often kick when you try. They do like to be petted, though, so sit down on the floor next to a bunny when you want to pet it.

We think rabbits make great pets and would love to talk to you about what it takes to become a great pet-rabbit owner. Come in anytime to meet our bunnies and learn more about them.

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FAQ Friday #5: Why does my small animal need something to chew on?

Bunny chews come in many sizes and varieties.

I guess even fish are never too old to learn something new. Today I learned that many small animals have special teeth (called open-rooted teeth) that grow continuously. Some pets with teeth that never stop growing include:

  • all rodents (degus, gerbils, guinea pigs, hamsters, jirds, mice, and rats)
  • rabbits
  • chinchillas

The teeth of these animals have evolved over time to help the break down the tough, fibrous foods they eat. All that chewing also promotes good digestion. If their teeth stopped growing, they would soon be worn to nubs, so the open-rooted system works for them.

But, this means these pets also need hard items to chew on to grind and shape their teeth. If they don’t have proper chews, their teeth can grow misshapen or get sharp edges that can cause small cuts and mouth infections (ouch!).

The Animal Store carries a wide selection of chews that will help keep your pet’s teeth healthy. Variety, as they say, is the spice of life. Keeping a variety of chews on hand and switching them out occasionally will keep your pet interested in chewing on the right things. This is important, especially for larger animals, like rabbits, which may decide to chew on your furniture or toys instead of an appropriate chew toy or treat.

As Kenn says: “Give them something you want them to chew on, or they’ll find things you don’t want them to chew on.”

Chews come in many different material, shapes, and flavors. Ask us which ones are best for your pet. Hope you learned something new today, too. School’s out.

FAQ Friday #4: What does it mean to hand-feed a bird?

baby cockatiel

We fish have an entirely different way of life than our feathered friends, so I was curious about the whole idea of hand feeding. Luckily, the bird experts here at The Animal Store know what they’re doing.

It turns out that hand feeding isn’t what you think it is. I thought hand feeding meant that a person puts bird food in his or her hand and holds it out for the bird to eat. Of course, how could I know that this isn’t how it works—they don’t call it fin feeding, do they?

No, hand feeding means putting liquefied food directly into a baby bird’s crop (a kind of pouch in the bird’s throat that is part of its digestive system and is used to temporarily store food). Hand feeding is usually done with a spoon, syringe, or tube, depending on the kind and size of bird.

In the wild, bird parents chew and regurgitate food into a baby bird’s crop. (I know, yuck, right? But it works for them.) When baby birds are raised by humans, hand feeding mimics this process.

Hand feeding takes skill. The formula must have the right mix of nutrients, be fed in the right quantity, and at the right consistency and temperature. Other issues with hand feeding can include:

  • Underfeeding.
  • Overfilling the crop, which could result in the bird aspirating food into its lungs.
  • Crop stasis (sour crop), which happens when a baby bird get something inedible in its crop.
  • Dehydration.
  • Issues weaning to solid food.

Many people believe that hand feeding helps socialize birds into becoming better pets. If you have more questions about hand feeding, just ask one of our animal experts.

Sometimes I think it would be great to fly like a bird, but when I hear words like “regurgitate”, it makes me glad I’m a fish. Hey, did you catch last week’s FAQ Friday about how to feed your fish? Now that was some interesting reading.

FAQ Friday 2: What kind of hamsters do you carry?

There are so many furry, friendly hamsters at The Animal Store that it’s hard to keep them straight, so I asked the staff for some info. They wanted me to tell you that our stock varies, but here are the varieties we usually carry.

Dwarf Hamsters

Roborovski hamsters

Roborovski(i) Hamsters (Phodopus roborovskii)

  • aka Desert Hamster
  • smallest of the dwarf hamsters (about 2 inches long)

Siberian Winter White Hamster

Siberian Hamsters (Phodopus sungorus)

  • aka Winter White Russian Hamster, Djungarian Hamster, Dzungarian dwarf hamster, Sapphire Winter White Russian Dwarf hamster,
  • size (about 3-4 inches long)

Note: We do not carry Chinese Hamsters (Cricetulus griseus) (recognizable by their long tails)

Standard (Syrian) Hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus)

Syrian Hamster

  • aka Golden hamsters (common tan and white); Fancy hamsters (any color other than golden); Teddy Bear or Longhair hamsters (any hamster with long hair, any color).
  • size (about 6-7 inches long)

Black Bear Hamsters

Black Bear Hamster

  • aka European Black Bear hamsters, Black Syrian hamsters
  • a variety of Syrian hamster, with black fur and white masks and paws; tend to be a bit larger than other Syrian hamsters.

Come visit our hamsters (and me, Ernie, the Giant Gourami) soon.

photo credits: Roborovski Dwarf Hamster by cdrussorussoDwarf Russian White Hamster Winter White by cdrussorussoSyrian Hamster by zixii; Black Bear Haster by The Animal Store

FAQ Friday 1: Can I volunteer at The Animal Store?

Yes, we have a volunteer program at The Animal Store called the Jr. Critter Crew. Here are a few facts:

  • You must be at least 11 years old to be a volunteer.
  • If you are between 11 and 17 years old, you must come in with a parent or guardian to learn about being a volunteer, sign a waiver, and get a tour of the store.
  • A volunteer’s primary responsibility is to socialize the birds. You will:

– Learn about their habits, food and care.
– Hold, play with, and carry them around the store to get them used to people.
– Show them to interested customers.

  • Sometimes volunteers work with other small animals to socialize them.

If you love animals, want to play with them, and are kind and responsible, then you might be a perfect person to join the Jr. Critter Crew. Fill out the form on our home page for more information.

Viernes 1 de FQA: ¿Puedo ser voluntario en la tienda The Animal Store?

Si, tenemos un programa para ser voluntario en la tienda The Animal Store el cual se llama el Jr Critter Crew. Aquí estas los requisitos:

  • Tienes que tener tan siquiera 11 años de edad para ser voluntario.
  • Si estas entre las edades de 11 a 17, tienes que venir con un papa o guardián, firmar un documento y dar un tour por la tienda.
  • La responsabilidad más grande de un voluntario es socializar a las aves. Tendrás que:

– Aprender sobre los hábitos de las aves al igual que sobre su alimentación y cuidados.
– Agarrar, mimar y jugar con las aves para así acostumbrarlas al contacto humano.
– Ser capaz de mostrarlas al cliente que se encentre interesado en la ave.

  • De vez en cuando los voluntarios también trabajan con otros tipos de animales pequeños para de igual manera socializarlos.

Si te gustan los animales, y te gustaría jugar con ellos, y eres gentil y responsable podría ser que eres el candidato perfecto para formar parte de nuestro Jr. Critter Crew. Llena el formulario en nuestra página de web para más información.

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

I’m excited to announce a couple of new regular features here on The Animal Store Blog.

I get to see a lot of happy faces when pets meet their new families, like the guinea pig shown here with his smiling new owner. (Trust me, I recognize a happy guinea pig when I see one.) Each week on the blog, we’ll be featuring Wordless Wednesday, with some of our favorite photos.

We also get a lot of questions here at the store, so Kenn and I are working together on a new feature we’re calling FAQ Friday. Each week, we’ll try to answer some of your most common (and maybe a few uncommon) questions. If you have questions you’d like answered, just ask me (Ernie the Answer Fish) by leaving a comment here on the blog or fill out the form on home page. We’ll answer your questions directly, and choose some to feature on the blog on FAQ Friday. Stay tuned.