Feathers, Fins and Scales

We recognize that not all pets are furbabies… many of our companion pets have feathers, fins and scales! In fact, according to a recent study by the APPA 16 million US households have a fish, bird or reptile. Perhaps you’re considering joining them. The most important question to ask yourself before you get a bird, a fish or a reptile is why you want this pet. One of the top reasons pets are relinquished is unrealized expectations. Spend time finding out as much as possible about their welfare needs. Are they really a good fit for your lifestyle right now? Can you make a lifetime commitment to them?

People have kept birds as companion animals for years and they are wonderful pets. Some people select a pet bird because they feel a caged pet is low maintenance. This is not accurate. All birds need daily care and attention including the very popular parakeet. They come in a variety of colors. Their average lifespan is from 5 and 15 years. They’re very active and playful and require a cage large enough for sleeping, playing and exercising. They also need perches, a nest for sleeping, and dishes for water and food. Parakeets need a variety of toys and chewy items to avoid becoming bored. All birds require time spent outside the cage for free flying, playing and socializing. This time provides excellent opportunities for bonding with your feathered friend.

Fish are increasing in popularity offering many benefits ranging from beautifying our homes to lowering our stress levels. The betta fish is a great choice for someone considering a fish. It enjoys a solitary life and often socializes and bonds with its owner. They come in a variety of gorgeous colors. Though they do okay in a small bowl providing a larger tank adds to their enjoyment and well being. They are labyrinth fish and have the ability to take in oxygen from the air and their gills; this ability makes them more tolerant of poor water quality. They do best in warm water so a heater is recommended when indoor temperatures are cold. Their lifespan is between two and four years yet can live much longer with proper care.

Reptiles can make excellent pets but can be expensive and difficult to care for. There are some snake species that are better for beginners. One recommendation is the ball python. Generally they are very docile, laid back, tolerate handling and are relatively easy to care for. They come in a wide range of color and pattern combinations. Habitat considerations are important. Adult ball pythons can grow from four to five feet; usually a 40 gallon terrarium will comfortably house an adult ball python. Reptiles cannot control their own body temperature, therefore, controls must be provided to keep temperature and humidity at the right levels for them. Proper lighting must also be supplied to create the proper environment. Ball pythons are secretive and love hiding spots so one or two hide boxes will help create a sense of security. Their life expectancy is 20 to 30 years so the decision to get a ball python is a serious commitment.

Acquiring any pet means you are accepting responsibility for their health and well being. Taking the time to choose wisely is the best way to make sure you and your pet enjoy a wonderful life together.