tortoise

Tortoise

Introduction

Mediterranean tortoises originate from the countries surrounding the Mediterranean and the Middle East.  Their natural habitat is grassland and shrub where there is a lot of sunshine and light shade. The most common species kept in the UK is the Hermann s tortoise. Although other species such as the Spurred thigh and Marginated tortoise are kept.

A species requiring similar husbandry in captivity is the increasingly popular Horsefeld s tortoise. Tortoises will grow annually in the right conditions and their shell scutes grow like the rings of a tree. Mediterranean tortoises can reach sizes in excess of 20cm. Life expectancy up to 80 years or more.

General Care

A healthy tortoise should be bright and alert with shiny eyes. Its body should be carried above the ground and the head and limbs should withdraw if alarmed. The shell should be hard and there should be no signs of the following:

  • Diarrhoea: this can be caused by incorrect feeding or internal parasite infestation.
  • Respiratory problems: signs include fluid or mucus from the nose.
  • Mouth rot: cheesy deposits appear in the mouth.
  • Soft shell disorders: can be due to a lack of calcium and/or vitamin D. Or incorrect lighting.

Your tortoise should be bathed weekly. If you are at all worried about the health of your tortoise you should consult your vet or a specialist reptile vet as soon as possible. Some reptiles carry a form of salmonella. Salmonella is most usually contracted by ingestion. Good hygiene and washing hands after handling or cleaning your tortoise should be sufficient to prevent any risk of infection.

Housing

Ideally your tortoise should have an indoor area and access to outdoors. Indoor accommodation: An escape proof vivarium with good ventilation is the most suitable type of indoor housing. The minimum cage size for an adult should be 90x30x40 cm for babies up to a 6cm carapace, rising to 2 square metres for adults.

  • Outdoor accommodation: Tortoise should have access to escape proof outdoor accommodation whenever the whether is suitable. Ideally situated where there is natural non-toxic vegetation. Provide a basking area and opportunities to climb.  All outdoor accommodation should be fox proof and a fully covered enclosure is essential for small tortoise to protect them from airborne predators.
  • Temperature – All reptiles are cold blooded and need an external heat source to maintain their body temperature. Each species requires different degrees of heating, but all will benefit from a range of temperatures within the vivarium. One end of the vivarium should be heated. This creates a thermal gradient allowing the tortoise to choose its preferred temperature. Thermometers can be placed at each end of the vivarium to monitor the temperature range. The overall vivarium temperature should be controlled
    by a thermostat.  Wire mesh guards should be fitted over all hot heat sources used in order to prevent thermal burns. Gentle heat can be provided by using heat mats and more intense heat by spotlights or UV heat lamps. Petwise can advise on heating products and their use suitable for your tortoise. Create a thermal gradient of 18°C at the cool end and 32°C at the hot end.  Night temperature can be dropped to 18°.
  • Lighting – Tortoises are diurnal and require UVB lighting to fully absorb and utilize the calcium in their diet. This light should be left on for 12-14 hours in the day. The bulbs will need replacing from time to time and Petwise staff will advise you.
  • Furnishings – The floor of the cage should be covered with a suitable substrate such as Calci-sand, Coconut bark chips, Aspen wood shavings, or artificial grass. Provide a spot light or UV heat lamp for basking and place climbing rocks or branches beneath it. Provide a shelter, perhaps with a piece of cork bark and additional bark or branches to create areas for climbing.
  • Cleaning – Remove droppings and uneaten food daily.  Water and food bowls should be washed, dried and refilled daily. Vivariums should be completely cleaned out and disinfected with a pet-safe disinfectant regularly. Soiled substrate should be disposed of and replaced. Deodorisers can be used in the vivarium – Petwise can advise.
  • Hibernation– This is a complicated procedure and you should ideally seek professional advice before you hibernate your tortoise., However before you consider hibernating your tortoise, it should be of sufficient size and weight and be showing no signs of illness to cope with the stress of hibernation. Your tortoise should be fasted for 2-3 weeks before hibernation (though fresh water must be provided). Your hibernation box should be well ventilated and be made of rat roof materials. The temperature should not fall below 2-3 C and not above 8C (optimum temperature is 5C). You should check your tortoise at regular intervals during hibernation.

Feeding

Mediterranean tortoises are herbivores. Provide a varied high fibre diet low in fat and protein. Commercial pellets are available as pert of a balanced diet and your Petwise can advise.

Vegetables: Mixed vegetables and weeds such as, dandelion, groundsel, clover and sowthistle.

Fruit: apples, berries, fresh and frozen (thawed) orange, grapes, kiwi, pear, fed occasionally in small amounts.

Fruit and vegetables should be washed and dried before feeding and offered in bite size pieces. A Calcium supplement and a separate multi vitamin should be provided. Fresh water should always be available.

The Law

Mediterranean tortoises are protected by CITES regulations, all are sold, with the exemption of the Horsefeld tortoise, with a Defra exemption certificate. They must be micro chipped when big enough.

Shopping List

  • Vivarium
  • Heat mat/spotlight
  • Substrate
  • UVB tube/UVB heat lamp
  • Thermometers x 2
  • Thermostat
  • Food and water bowl
  • Calcium supplement
  • Pet safe disinfectant
  • Cage furnishings
  • Vitamin supplement
  • Tortoise care book

All the items required can be purchased at Petwise Aquatics.

Remember: Never release your pet into the wild.

hamster

Hamsters

Introduction

Hamsters make good family pets. They are nocturnal so being more active in the evening allows the busy family time to enjoy them. They are small mammals ideal for families with limited space. Hamsters make a suitable pet for children providing they are taught the responsibilities of their pets daily cleaning, feeding and care.

Syrian or Golden hamsters originally come from Syria. In the wild they live in burrows in the day to keep cool. They are active animals and travel great distances at night. They will carry food in pouches and hoard it. Syrian hamsters are solitary animals and best kept alone. Syrian hamsters have more than twenty colours and coat types such as smooth coat, satin and long haired

Syrian hamsters average life span is 2 years.

General Care

Hamsters normally stay healthy throughout their lives. They can suffer from coughs and sneezes and their nose and eyes may run, so keep them warm and away from any draughts. If the signs persist seek veterinary advice. Hamsters can suffer acute diarrhoea known as wet tail. If this occurs take your pet to the vets immediately.

There is normally no problem with hamsters teeth. However if they do not meet properly they will grow too long and eating will be impossible. If this occurs the teeth must be clipped regularly. Syrian hamsters do not need to hibernate but will do so if there is a sudden drop in temperature below 5°C.

If your hamster escapes from its cage try putting a box or bowl in the corner of the room. He may well be in it the next morning.
If you are concerned about your hamster s health speak to your pet shop or your vet.

Choosing and buying your hamster

A healthy hamster should be:

  • Bright and alert
  • Have no signs of discharge from eye, ears, mouth and nose
  • Have a clean anal area
  • Have a glossy coat with no bald patchesskin
  • Should have no signs of breathing problems
  • Should move around the cage easily with no stiffness or staggering
  • Should feel well covered and not bony

Housing

A cage of 60 cm long x 30 cm wide x 30 cm high will give them adequate space to divide their accommodation into an eating, sleeping and toilet area. More space or two adjoining rooms or stories will add to their environmental enrichment. Plastic cages with metal tops are ideal as they are easy to clean  and escape proof. Systems cages provide good stimulation for your hamster.

Your hamster will take a lot of exercise; an exercise wheel will assist him with this. Hamsters are indoor pets so they should be kept in an even temperature ideally between 17 C and 23 C. You should avoid putting the cage in draughts, direct sunlight or in damp or humid conditions. A sudden drop in temperature to below 5°C may put your hamster into hibernation. Soft wood, dust-free woodchips make a good floor covering. Soft shredded paper can be used as bedding and nesting material. Your hamster’s cage should be emptied and cleaned with a pet-safe disinfectant at least once a week.

Feeding and Water

Hamsters are omnivores and so will enjoy a varied diet. A good hamster mix or pellet will provide the nutrition they require. This can be supplemented by small amounts of fresh fruit or vegetables but remember hamsters hoard their food and this can rot. Additional vitamin supplements or a mineral block can be added to your hamster s diet. Feeding bowls should be gnaw proof, easy to clean and hard to knock over. Soft fruit such as bananas should not be given to hamsters as it can stick in their pouches. Uneaten fresh food should be removed daily. Fresh clean drinking water must always be available. It can be provided by a pet water bottle designed to suit your hamsters cage.

Handling

It is important that you handle your hamster regularly to help you build up a relationship with him. When you first get your hamster home leave him alone for the rest of the day and night to get used to his new surroundings. Introduce your hand so he will get used to your smell. When he seems happy gently cup one hand under him and one hand over him and pick him up. Always concentrate on holding your hamster as they have loose skins and can slip out of your hands. Do not try to handle your hamster if he has just woken up as they feel vulnerable at this time and may bite.

Shopping List

  • Cage/housing unit
  • Mineral block
  • Food
  • Bedding
  • Food dish
  • Litter
  • Water bottle and bottle brush
  • Gnaw block
  • Treats
  • Toys
  • Book on hamster care

Remember you must never release your pet into the wild.

Parrot

Parrot

Introduction

Including Parakeets, African Greys and Amazons.Parrots make interesting and enjoyable pets. However a single caged bird will require a lot of attention and stimulus if it is not to become bored and frustrated. Parrots are natural acrobats and mimics. Some can learn simple words and phrases and are excellent whistlers. Many parrots have a long lifespan and are therefore a long term commitment.

Choosing and buying your Parrot

A healthy parrot should:

  • Be bright and alert.
  • Have no signs of discharge from the eyes or nostrils.
  • Have a clean vent area.
  • Have feathers flush to the body and not fluffed up.
  • Have no signs of breathing problems.
  • Have fluent movement with no signs of lethargy.

Housing

Although parrot cages make suitable homes for short-tailed parrots, longtailed varieties should be kept in an outside aviary or an indoor flight, as can short-tailed parrots. A single caged bird will require a lot of attention and stimulus if it is not to become bored and frustrated (a common cause of feather plucking). If the bird is to be left on its own for long periods it is better to give it a companion.

Love birds should always be kept in pairs or small groups. A roomy cage is  a necessity unless housed in an aviary and must be large enough for your parrot to stretch its wings and fly from perch to perch. Parrots are climbing birds so it is preferable to choose a cage with horizontal bars. A removable tray will make cleaning easier.  You should avoid putting the cage in draughts, direct sunlight or in damp or humid conditions. Sandsheets or cage bird sand should be placed in the bottom of the cage and replaced regularly. The cage should be furnished with perches of different diameter and one or two toys. Do not overcrowd the cage. Try and buy a selection of toys and rotate them to avoid boredom. Remove droppings daily. The cage and furnishings should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected with a pet safe disinfectant weekly.  Do not place perches directly above food and water pots. Outside aviaries must have a sheltered section to provide protection from wind, rain and strong sunlight and for many species may need to be heated. This is where you should position the roosting site (the highest perch or nest box) and the food containers. The cage/aviary can be furnished with nonpoisonous wood branches such as fruit wood which will add interest and aid with keeping the beak short.

Introducing your parrot to its new home

Before introducing your parrot to its new home fill the food and water pots and sprinkle a little extra onto the floor to ensure that he has enough to eat until he finds its seed pots. Make sure all windows and doors are closed and fires are guarded. Gently open one end of the carry box and let your parrot walk into its new home. If he appears anxious or does not settle drape a cloth over three sides of the cage until he settles. This can be gradually removed as he settles.  Leave him to adjust quietly.  Only cover the cage at night if the room temperature is likely to fall.

Feeding and Water

It is important that you give your parrot a varied diet. Each day you should offer food from the following categories.

  • Cereals – A good quality parrot mixture is available from your pet shop. Check the seed dishes daily and remove any empty husks. Refill as necessary.
  • Fruits – Apples, bananas, oranges, grapes, pears, cherries.
  • Vegetables – Celery, carrots, beetroot, lettuce, cabbage, spinach, fresh peas and beans.
  • Supplements – Cuttlefish is a source of calcium and helps to keep the beakworn down. A mineral block will provide essential minerals and trace elements.
  • Vitamin drops should be added to the water.
  • Millet seed can be given as a treat as can honey bells and seed bars.
  • Fresh foods must be thoroughly washed before being offered.

Food and water pots should be washed regularly. Fresh water should always be available.

General Care

Properly cared for your parrot will live a long and happy life. Early signs of illness include loose droppings, discharge from the nostrils, laboured breathing, feathers raised to give a puffed up appearance, resting with head under the wing and both feet on the perch. If you are at all worried about your parrots health, contact your vet.

Feathers – These should not be allowed to become too dry.  You should use a suitable fine mist spray, together with a special solution to spray on. Your pet shop will advise.  Some parrots do enjoy a bath but not all.

Colds – Chilling causes colds.  The bird will be listless, with feathers fluffed up and wheezing. Keep it warm and do not bath. Consult your vet.

Diarrhoea – This is commonly caused by an excess of green food, mouldy or contaminated food, a change in diet or lack of fresh water.  Keep him warm, make sure he has plenty of  fresh water and consult your vet.

Mites – Usually the red mite, this is a parasite which feeds on birds blood, causing itching and weight loss. Mites are easy to destroy with a suitable spray. Your pet shop or vet will advise.

Beaks and nails – Should they become overgrown you will need to get expert help.

Feather plucking – This can be due to a poor diet, lack of exercise or stimulation. Spend time with your cockatiel and provide novel toys. If the condition persists, consult your vet.

Shopping List

  • Cage and cage stand
  • Cage cover
  • Water pot
  • Seed pot
  • Perches
  • Seed guard
  • Food
  • Bath
  • Toys
  • Sand/sand sheets
  • Vitamin drops
  • Cuttle fish
  • Mineral block
  • Pet safe disinfectant
  • A good book on parrot care

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finch

Zebra & Bengalese Finch

Introduction

The Zebra finch originates from Australia, but the Bengalese finch is not seen in the wild as it is a product of many years of selected
captive breeding. Zebra and Bengalese finches naturally live in flocks and should not be kept singly. Either keep them in pairs in cages or in small groups in aviaries. Zebra and Bengalese finches can be kept with canaries. Properly cared for, your finch will live for several years.

Choosing and buying your finch

A healthy finch should be:

  • Bright and alert
  • Have no signs of discharge from the eyes or nostrils
  • Have a clean vent area
  • Feathers should be flush to the body and not be fluffed up
  • Should have no signs of breathing problems
  • Movement should be fluent with no signs of lethargy

Housing

Bengalese and Zebra finches can be housed in a cage or in an aviary. A roomy cage is advisable and should be large enough for your finches to stretch their wings and fly from perch to perch. You should avoid putting the cage in draughts, direct sunlight or in damp or
humid conditions. Sand sheets or cage bird sand should be placed in the bottom of the cage and replaced regularly.

The cage should be furnished with perches of different diameter and one or two toys, but do not overcrowd the cage. Try and buy a selection of toys and rotate them to avoid boredom.  Remove droppings daily. The cage and furnishings should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected with a pet-safe disinfectant weekly. A removable tray will make cleaning easier.

Care should be taken not to disturb your finch at night. Night fright can cause the birds to fly into the cage wire, so be sure to cover the cage at night.

Bengalese and Zebra finches are keen bathers and shallow dishes should be provided. Outside aviaries must have a sheltered section to provide protection from wind, rain and strong sunlight.  This is where you should position the roosting site (the highest perch or nest box) and the food containers.

Feeding and Water

A good quality finch mixture should be available from your pet shop. Check the seed dishes daily and remove any empty husks. Refill as necessary. Thoroughly washed, fresh green food may be given, such as lettuce, chick-weed and dandelion and sweet apple. Be careful not to overfeed. Cuttlefish is a source of calcium and helps to keep the beak worn down. A mineral block will provide essential minerals and trace elements. Grit helps with the digestion and should always be provided. Food and water pots should be washed regularly. Fresh water should always be available.

General Care

Properly cared for your finch will live a long and happy life.

  • Colds – Chilling causes colds. The bird will be listless, with feathers
    fluffed up and wheezing. Keep him warm and do not bath. Consult
    with your vet.
  • Diarrhoea – This is commonly caused by an excess of green food,
    mouldy or contaminated food, a change in diet or lack of fresh
    water. Keep him warm, make sure he has plenty of fresh water and
    consult your vet.
  • Mites – Usually the red mite, this is a parasite which feeds on birds
    blood, causing itching and weight loss. Mites are easy to destroy
    with a suitable spray, your pet shop or vet will advise.
  • Toenails – Overgrown claws need to be clipped. If left they will
    endanger the bird by becoming caught in the cage wire.  Care must
    be taken when cutting nails to avoid cutting the blood vessels and
    nerves. Consult your vet or pet shop.
pet

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Petwise Masters Darts Competition 2016

World’s best darts player, Michael van Gerwen will be returning to play at the Pet Wise Masters

After darts fever gripped Merthyr Tydfil last November, fans will be delighted to hear that the Pet Wise Masters is returning in 2016.

The event will take place at the Merthyr Tydfil Leisure Centre on Thursday the 10th of November.

The main attraction in the star-studded line-up is world number one Michael van Gerwen, who is back for a Third appearance at Merthyr Tydfil Leisure Centre.

Joining the World No1 in the Rest of World team will be 3 x BDO World Champ, “Wolfie” Martin Adams, Aussie Simon Whitlock and Hawaii 501 Showman Wayne Mardle.

Meanwhile, the Welsh contingent is made up of former World Champion Mark Webster, local stars Barrie Bates and Peter Locke. The fourth player to join them will be the winner of a knockout darts tournament open to all dart players and taking place at various venues around the principality.

Also lining up on stage in the lady’s clash is Englands no 3 ranked Fallon Sherrock v Wales no 3 ranked Rhian Edwards

Tickets for The Pet Wise Masters are now on sale at www.dartshop.tv , over the phone on 08450 180 180 or from the Merthyr Tydfil Leisure Centre.

Fans can also buy tickets from Dean Williams on 07791 307624.

Various ticket options are available and customers are advised to book immediately to avoid disappointment.