Rodents and Pigmy Hedgehogs
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What order are rodents from?
What three suborders can Rodentia be divided into?
- Myomorpha - mice, rats, gerbils, hamsters
- Scuiromorpha - chipmunks, squirrels, beavers
- Caviomorpha/hystricomorpha - guinea pigs, degus, capybara, porcupine
What order to pigmy hedgehogs originate from?
What is the latin name for Chincilla?
What is the a) lifespan b) bodyweight c) temperature d) heart rate e) respiratory rate, of a chinchilla?
- a) 8-9 years
- b) 500-800g
- c) 37-38°C
- d) 200-350 bpm
- e) 40-80
When do chinchillas reach sexual maturity?
With regards to groups, how should chinchillas be housed?
In single sex pairs
Describe what is needed for adequate Chinchilla housing
- Plenty of horizontal and vertical space
- A nest box
- Newspaper/hay for a substrate
- Ropes, branches and wooden toys
What do Chinchillas require once a day to keep their coat in good condition?
A dust bath
Describe how to safely handle a Chinchilla
Place one hand around the pectoral girdle and use the other hand to support the body.
True or false: you can scruff Chinchillas?
False - they have soft dense fur which will be released when you grab them roughly
What is the latin name for Guinea Pig?
What are some of the most common types of guinea pigs?
What is the a) lifespan b) bodyweight c) temperature d) heart rate e) respiratory rate, of a guinea pig?
- a) 5-6 years
- b) 700-1200g
- c) 37.2-39.5°C
- d) 230-380 bpm
- e) 90-150
What is the dental formula for guinea pigs?
When do guinea pigs reach sexual maturity?
Why must guinea pigs be bred before they are a year old?
They must be bred between 6 months to a year or else there is fusion of the pubic symphysis. If they get pregnant after a year they may develop dystocia and need a c-section.
Describe what is needed for adequate guinea pig housing
- Large pens with a wide horizontal space
- Nest box
- Newspaper/hay are suitable substrates
- Boxes, drain pipes and hiding places should be located throughout the pen
True or false: guinea pigs are social animals?
True - they are best housed in pairs
Why should guinea pigs never be housed with rabbits?
As rabbits carry Bordetella and can be quite aggressive towards guinea pigs
Describe the diet of a healthy guinea pig
Guinea pigs are herbivores and should be provided with grass/hay at all times. They can be given a small amount of pelleted food and must be provided with fresh leafy greens.
Why MUST guinea pigs be provided with fruit and vegetables?
As these are their only source of vitamin C. Failing to provide these in the diet can lead to scurvy.
What is another way to supplement a guinea pig with vitamin C?
- Vitamin C can also be given in drinking water but you must remember to change this daily
- Pellet food created for guinea pigs also contains vitamin C
What is the latin name for Rat?
What is the a) lifespan b) bodyweight c) temperature d) heart rate e) respiratory rate, of a rat?
- a) 2-3 years
- b) 200-250g
- c) 38°C
- d) 310-500 bpm (when stressed)
- e) 70-150
What is the dental formula for a rat?
When do rats reach sexual maturity?
Describe what is needed for adequate rat housing
Rats should be housed in large cages with different levels. They need hiding places with hay or shredded paper as a substrate (no sawdust or shavings as these irritate the respiratory system). Small sized ropes, branches, ladders, cardboard rolls and boxes and an exercise wheel provide environmental enrichment.
Describe a healthy rat diet
Rats are omnivores. They should be provided with commercial balanced pellets, fruit and vegetables and water. Can biscuits can be given once a week.
Why is a high protein diet bad for rats?
This will cause kidney problems in older rats
What is the latin name for Hamster?
What are the most common types of hamster?
What is the a) lifespan b) bodyweight c) temperature d) heart rate e) respiratory rate, of a hamster?
- a) 1.5-2 years
- b) 85-130g
- c) 37.5-38°C
- d) 300-470 bpm
- e) 40-110
What is the dental formula for a hamster?
When do hamsters become sexually mature?
What is a common problem during the breeding periods in hamsters?
Cannibalism, due to stress. The mother and young should be left alone and not handled during breeding.
Describe what is needed for adequate hamster housing
Hamsters are usually housed in multi-floor cages with tunnels. They need a nest box - this is where they will bring food and nest material. Hamsters are prone to obesity and so should be provided with plenty of opportunities for exercise e.g. solid wheels and toys.
Why is it important to clean out the hamsters nest box when cleaning the cage?
The hamster will hate you for removing all that it has collected but this provides environmental enrichment as they simply begin the whole process again.
Describe a healthy hamster diet
Hamsters are omnivores. Pellets are better than cereal mixes at preventing selective feeding. They should also receive fresh vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, apples and cabbage. Water can be provided in drinking bottles. Hamsters only require 5-10g of food per day and should not be fed ad libitum.
What is the latin name for Gerbil?
What is the a) lifespan b) bodyweight c) temperature d) heart rate e) respiratory rate, of a gerbil?
- a) 2-3 years
- b) 50-130g
- c) 37.5-39°C
- d) 260-600 bpm
- e) 85-160
When do gerbils reach sexual maturity?
Describe what is needed for adequate gerbil housing
Gerbils should be housed in a gerbilarium - a pen with a wire mesh on top, to provide ventilation, and a burrowing area beneath. They prefer a dry environment and can use sawdust, wood shavings, hay or shredded paper as a substrate. Cardboard boxes are good for environmental enrichment and for chewing.
What type of group should gerbils be housed in?
A single sex group
How often do gerbils need to be cleaned out?
They only need to be cleaned out once a week as they are desert animals and produce a scant amount of urine
What do gerbils require once a day?
Describe a healthy gerbil diet
Gerbils are omnivores/granivores. They should be given pellets to prevent selective feeding but also fresh vegetables. Water can be given in drinking bottles.
What is the latin name for Degu?
What is the a) lifespan b) bodyweight, of a degu?
Why is it important to leave behind some furniture/substrate when cleaning a degu cage?
Degus have strong social and hierarchal organisation based on group territories so leaving some substrate means they still know what their hierarchy is and stops them from fighting to reestablish it.
When do degus become sexually mature?
Describe the what is needed for adequate degu housing
Their husbandry is similar to chinchillas. However, degas require a cage made entirely of solid wire mesh as they will be able to chew through any type of plastic. Degus should be provided with a large rodent wheel, tunnelling, a nest box, sufficient bedding to dig and a daily sand bath.
Describe a healthy degu diet
Degus are herbivores, specifically hind gut fermenters. As pets, they should be fed pellets and hay, supplemented with a small amount of fresh greens.
What is the latin name for African Pigmy Hedgehog?
True or false: african pigmy hedgehogs hibernate?
Why should african pigmy hedgehogs be bred between 6months-2years?
To prevent fusion of the pubic symphysis
When do african pigmy hedgehogs reach sexual maturity?
Describe what is needed for adequate african pigmy hedgehog housing
Cages with smooth, high walls (as they like to climb). They require a hiding box, deep bedding and exercise wheel, a heat pad to provide additional heat and litter tray.
Describe the diet of a healthy african pigmy hedgehog
APHs are insectivorous/omnivorious. They should be fed at night and have any uneaten food removed the next morning. They can be fed two tbsp of high quality cat food or insectivore diet plus two tbsp of mixed veg. They should also receive earthworms, insects, egg pinkies or mealworms three times a week.
Describe how to safely handle an african pigmy hedgehog
Tame hedgehogs can be cupped in hands. To uncurl a hedgehog, stroke the back gently with a toothbrush to annoy them. Then grasp the hind legs gently and hold them face down. They should be transported in a small carrier.
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