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Megalodon
Dec 10, 2007

BITCH, I'D RATHER KEEP MY PTSD THAN HAVE YOUR BITCH ASS TRY TO HELP



DUNSON'D


After expressing my disappointment in not having a guinea pig thread while talking about my Porky, I and a few others have decided that PI needs a thread for ALL rodents. Rat owners, of course, have their own thread, but you're just as welcome here.

As always, feel free to go crazy posting pictures of your little guys. Any questions can hopefully be answered by the experienced rodent keepers. I'll toss in as much advice as I can regarding guinea pigs, but I know we have tons of people here who know their stuff, so we can get a nice thread going with a lot of good information.

That being said, I'd love to start off this thread with some hamster basics. I don't have hamsters, so I'm going to leave that up to somebody more experienced than me who is willing to contribute. I have a feeling that the majority of these little guys are impulse buys, so let's get some facts to help everybody learn more about their adorable little friends.

As for what I can contribute...

Guinea Pig Basics

First and foremost, there are a bazillion shelters out there with homeless guinea pigs. If you are looking into introducing one of these little guys to your family, please check your local shelter first. Chances are they're better taken care of than those at the pet store, and you'll be helping a pig in need.

Also, guinea pigs are social animals that do enjoy having other guinea pigs around. Please consider adopting a bonded pair. If you already have one pig, chances are you're already getting the itch (like I am), so let this thread act as an extra little push to get you out there on your pig-search.

Pigs are not grumpy, people-hating animals. They are skittish in nature but can be very lovable when given the proper amount of socialization. Porky still scurries off when I walk towards the cage because I am a giant human approaching her little house and that will likely always be scary to her. It takes only a few seconds for her to realize who I am and be cool with it. She loves to be held and petted and she shows her appreciation by making the cutest sound you've ever heard in your life. That and licking.

Pigs need to eat, and should get a constant supply of timothy hay. They also need to have a quality pellet as well as fresh veggies everyday. Oxbow hay and pellets are both very highly rated on PI, and can both be found at most feed stores, Petsmart, and likely other places that I don't know of. Pigs also need a regular source of Vitamin C. They are unable to produce it on their own, so it must be supplemented to prevent problems from occurring. This is the number one thing to remember when feeding your new buddy. You can purchase vitamin C drops and tablets (again, Oxbow is recommended), but a quality diet is best. I make sure that my pig always has extra bell peppers each day, as they're rich in vitamin C.

Guinea pigs, unlike many other small animals, are not prone to litter training. They tend to poop wherever they stand, often as they're eating, or when they're relaxing. About 90% of Porky's turds are found in her pigloo or around her veggie dish, with scattered piss. Fortunately, their poop isn't especially offensive and is easy to clean with no noticeable smell (to me, at least).

Providing your pig with its own cage may seem expensive at first, but a popular and inexpensive way to do this is to use wire cubes that can be purchased at Target and other stores with home improvement sections. I use these, and they do an awesome job. Also, the price on there is bullshit, as I paid $16.99 in the store. Unfortunately, most Target stores now carry a newer version with two different sized squares that are too large to accommodate a pig. If you're lucky enough to find the old version, on which all of the squares are the same size, you're good to go. Otherwise, heavy duty wire shelving (below) can also be used. You can purchase this at Home Depot, and hopefully somebody who has built a cage from this can add more information on how to go about it.



Okay, that's all I have for now. Feel free to contribute more and even correct any mistakes I may have made so I can edit it in. I'm still new to this whole rodent thing myself. That's it! Ask questions, give advice, and most importantly, POST PICTURES!



P.S. Rodents are cheap to buy, but VERY EXPENSIVE to properly care for. Fresh veggies are a pain in my rear end to purchase every few days, and exotic vet bills are extremely high. Make sure that you're financially (and mentally) prepared to pay ridiculous amounts of money to care for a hamster/guinea pig/chinchilla/whatever should it need medical attention. Just because they're cheap doesn't mean they're disposable.

Additional PI member contributions

Peristalsis' Guinea Pig FAQ

Resources
For all the best and latest guinea pig info available, check out guinealynx.com.

Some other good sites for guinea pig information:
pigloo.net
cavyspirit.com
guineapigcages.com (this is specifically about building your own guinea pig cage, and I think it's affiliated with cavyspirit)
cavymadness.com

The first site above, guinealynx.com, is probably the most authoritative, but can be a little weird in terms of the way people there treat each other. I think they've described themselves as a bunch of bitter, middle aged women, and that sums it up pretty well. That said, the info is top notch, and if you aren't a dick, you'll be fine there.

Pigloo.net was started by some folks at guinealynx who got tired of the catty bullshit and snitty behavior after some particular incident. It has a subset of the same information and expertise available, but has never caught on or grown the way guinealynx has. If you're too fragile to handle the bluntness of guinealynx, this could be a good place to start.

Cavyspirit.com grew out of the web site for a specific rescue, I think. I don't know that much about it, but it's always mentioned as a reputable source of guinea pig information. I'm not sure how active it is these days; it may be fine, I just never got in the habit of hanging out there.

Cavymadness is sort of known as a much more newbie-friendly site. I haven't been there in quite some time, but again, at least it used to be considered a decent source of information. I'd use it as a stepping stone to the other sites. Sort of a gateway site for your cavy addiction.

These sites have varying degrees of militancy about adopting from shelters and rescues, but I doubt that you'll find many people on any of them who condone breeding pigs or buying them from petsmart.

Veggies
The right veggies are very good for guinea pigs, but you have to be careful. Some veggies are actually toxic to them, and others are only good as occasional treats. See this for more details and additional links.

Hay
In my opinion, Oxbow hay hasn't been as good the past couple of years as it used to be. It's still better than Kaytee or Hartz, and occasionally it's still awesome, but it just seems dustier and less fresh than it did a while back. If you can get hay here instead, you won't regret it. Alfafa hay is NOT okay for most pigs most of the time. Good orchard grass hay and bluegrass hay are okay, if you can't find good timothy hay. Some alfalfa can be good for young pigs or nursing mothers.

Pellets
If you decide to feed pellets, use high quality pellets from Oxbow, KM's Hayloft, or another reputable company. Never feed anything with bright colors or seeds in it. Check the ingredients - it should only have compressed hay. Growing young pigs, elderly pigs, and sick pigs can benefit from pellets, which have a lot of calories, and can help the pig put on or maintain weight. However, pellets do not help keep their teeth worn down, and are NOT SUFFICIENT FOOD BY THEMSELVES. You HAVE to feed high quality hay. I generally only feed pellets as an occasional treat to healthy pigs, and as a weight-maintenance food for sickly or old pigs.

Bedding
If you can afford it, use carefresh. If you can't afford it, you probably shouldn't have piggies anyway. Don't waste your money on the designer colors - your pigs won't notice or care that they're pissing on a fashionable substrate.

Some people swear by using a washable fleece substrate. It's fine if you can keep up with the cleaning and the water bills, but I've never done it, so I'll let someone else comment on that.

I've also seen Yesterday's News used, but I didn't really think it was soft enough for pigs. It's probably okay, but it doesn't look very comfortable.

You can also use aspen shavings. IN A PINCH, you can use kiln-dried pine shavings. Never use pine that hasn't been kiln dried, and NEVER use cedar.

Cage
For one or two pigs, your cage needs to have at least 7.5 square feet of usable space on its bottom level. THIS IS BIG, and it will make a real dent in your room. Don't get pigs if you can't make enough room for them. See the guineapigcages site for details, and examples of good cages.

The sides of the cage should be fairly high - a few inches isn't enough. I have seen a panicked pig jump over the grids of a C&C cage. It was a very light pig, and an odd situation - I don't want to scare anyone away from using C&C cages, but you shouldn't use anything lower than that for containment.

Pigs also like to have places to hide. Pigloos are a popular choice. If you have a pigloo in the cage, I recommend moving it from place to place every day. It helps encourage the pig not to sit in one spot in its own waste for too long.

Medical
Ugh - where to start?

Find a good exotics vet before you get a pig. You WILL need one. Also, make sure you know where your nearest emergency vet is for those weekend and late-night illnesses. And make sure you have some money saved up for vet visits. Exotics vets are expensive as hell, at least for the good ones. If you can't afford vet care for your pig, you can't afford the pig. Your pig needs at least annual checkups, and you can probably plan to spend $250-$500 per year per pig on vet bills.

Pigs are prey animals, and hide their illnesses pretty well. By the time they're showing symptoms, it may well be too late. So, you need to get to know your pig very well. You need to notice if it isn't eating as much as usual, if its poops are looking deformed or scant, or if its demeanor changes. More than once, I've taken a pig to the vet for general listlessness or something just not seeming right. One thing you must do is weigh your pig(s) regularly. Significant weight loss is a sure sign of a problem.

Some common pig problems to watch for:
Mites - many or most pigs will get mites during their lives. Check the web sites above for info on treating it, or take your pig to a cavy-savvy vet for treatment. It's generally pointless to test for mites - if you suspect mites, the treatment is easier, more reliable, and less painful than the test. DO NOT IGNORE MITES OR OTHER SKIN CONDITIONS. THEY ARE SERIOUS ISSUES.
Bladder stones - for some reason, pigs are prone to bladder stones and bladder sludge. I've lost a pig to this, and it was a pretty horrible death. If you've had kidney stones yourself, you'll understand. This is where feeding the right foods is important - alfalfa hay and some veggies are thought to be associated with increased bladder stones. It's all about the calcium and phosphorus, I think, in the foods.
Bumblefoot - Weird, swollen sores on the pads of their paws. Once they get this, it's awfully hard to get rid of it completely. You may need to treat it for the rest of their lives.
Tooth problems - Both the front and rear teeth can get too long. When the back teeth grow too much, they can actually trap the tongue down. The back teeth are also hard to examine, which is why you need a good vet who knows what the hell she or he is doing. It's very sad to see an otherwise healthy pig starve to death because its teeth are preventing it from eating. This is also why you must include copious hay in the diet - hay helps keep the teeth ground down in ways that even pellets don't.
cancers - Some can be treated, but many are a death sentence. You have to be able to make the call to euthanize when the time comes.
arthritis - Mostly in older pigs. All you can really do is try to manage the pain with medication.

If you have a male pig, you'll need to clean out its pouch periodically. This is not fun, and reeks in a way you wouldn't think possible.

Older pigs may lose their ability to groom very well. Keep an eye on their rear ends, to see if they start getting dirty, staying wet, or getting poop-dreadlocks. While you won't generally need to bathe pigs much (if at all), an occasional, quick butt bath to get the crud out of the fur of your older critters can be nice.

Long haired pigs are prone to crud in their fur - it can be useful to trim their hair, preferably before it gets gross.

With good care and regular vet visits, many pigs live 5-7 years, some longer. If yours keep dying by age 3, you're probably doing something wrong.

Breeding
Just don't. It's very bad for the mother pig, it can produce lethal whites or other deformed animals if you don't know what you're doing, and it's pretty loving reckless, given the number of existing pigs that need homes.

RumbleFish's Gerbil FAQ

How long do gerbils live?
Typically 2-4 years, though some have been known to make it to 5. A gerbil is considered elderly once they hit the two year mark.

How many can I get?
Gerbils are extremely social animals, so you MUST get at least a pair. Gerbils can be kept singly, but it reduces their overall quality of life and I'm willing to bet they don't live as long because of it. Females do best in pairs; males can be kept in groups of 3-5 if you so desire.

So should I get males or females?
I suppose it depends on what kind of personality you want from your gerbs. Females are the dominant sex, so they're more active and tend to be more aggressive with each other, which is why it's only safe to keep them in pairs. Males, on the other hand, tend to be very easygoing and are a bit lazy. (My guys are chubbier than my girls ever were!) Of course, as with anything else, there are exceptions to the rule: my female pair never fought, and my oldest pair of boys had a lot of problems before they reached adulthood. So I guess it comes down to personal preference, but generally speaking, the risk of de-clanning (viewing the other gerbil as a strange threat and fighting) is larger with females.

What should I do for housing?
Generally a 10 gallon aquarium is adequate, though if you're keeping a group of males, a 20 long would be ideal. I'd say that floor space is more important, but gerbils do seem to enjoy climbing. There are some neat wire "toppings" that you can get to extend a 10g vertically if you'd like to go that route.

As for wire cages, I think they'd pretty much be a horrible idea for gerbils. Gerbils dig around in their cage constantly, so the floor around them would be a perpetual mess. They're also big-time chewers, meaning many of them would gnaw relentlessly on the cage bars. But then again, I'm sure some people have had this arrangement work out for them.

What about substrate?
This is a universal rodent truth, but absolutely NO pine or cedar; the aromatic oils can irritate their respiratory systems and make them sick. Aspen or Carefresh are your best bet. I prefer aspen because it's cheaper, natural in appearance, and my guys love shredding the chips to line their nest. But either of those is a solid choice.

Also, since gerbils have very strong digging instincts and love to create tunnels/burrows, I'd recommend putting in a good 4-5 inches of substrate for them to play in. They'll dig to their heart's content no matter what, but I like to give them a little extra.

Cages should be cleaned every 2-3 weeks.

So what do I need for cage furniture?
Aside from your standard small animal water bottle, I'd recommend a ceramic food dish. Gerbils are constantly rearranging their environment, so a heavy dish like that won't be tipping over and spilling their food every five minutes. They also can't chew on it.

Like most rodents, gerbils prefer a safe place to sleep/nesting box. There are tons of products and choices out there, but I'd recommend a sturdy, wooden house. The igloos are adorable, but gerbils are relentless chewers and will destroy it. They'll chew up a wooden house too, but it'll take them much longer to do any significant damage. Be prepared to replace their houses every so often.

What about toys and other stuff?
I like to provide my guys with a wheel. I've heard that some gerbils don't understand it or care for it, but all six of mine have loved it and get some serious speed on those things. Likewise, I have a couple hamster balls around that I put them in when I'm cleaning their cages. A few of mine go to town, but others just kind of sit there and try to dig their way out. Your mileage may vary, but I considered it a good investment regardless.

Oh, and one last thing about wheels -- make sure you get one that is wire mesh. Gerbil feet and tails can easy get caught in the standard metal wheel with slats. A solid plastic wheel is safe, but won't hold up well with their chewing habits and tends to be more loud. Wire mesh is not only safe, but the squeaking can be easily corrected with a bit of Vaseline.

As previously mentioned, gerbils are huge chewers. All rodents need to chew to trim their teeth, but in my experience, gerbils are the most ravenous chewers by far. They will chew and destroy anything and everything they can that's within reach. You can make this easy for them by tossing in toilet paper/paper towel tubes, which is a cheap and instant classic for them. I also get wood bars/blocks from the pet store, as those take much longer to chew and are probably a better workout for their teeth.

Gerbils are master nest builders and will use whatever they can to bulk up their burrows, so you can offer them some nesting fluff. Be careful, though -- I wouldn't give them too much of it or too often. One of my hamsters got a stray cotton fiber wrapped tightly around his foot, which cut off the circulation and made it swell. Thankfully, I noticed before any damage had been done, but I'm sure it was still an unpleasant and traumatic experience for him. I haven't had anything like this happen with my gerbils, but it's something to be mindful of and watch out for. The safest bet I've found is scraps of fabric or the batting used to back quilts.

One of the best part about having gerbils is giving them sand baths. Because they are desert animals, they clean themselves in the wild by rolling and twisting around in dust. Domestic gerbils enjoy this too, and it's very fun and cute to watch. The sand used is the same as chinchilla sand, and rather than keeping the bath in their cage, I offer it once a month or so. (If I kept it in there all the time, they'd chew it and just poop in it.) You can tell when a gerbil needs a bath -- their coats start to look slick and greasy.

What about food?
I suppose this can be a bit of a controversial topic, but gerbils can be fed lab blocks, which is probably as nutritionally sound as it gets. I prefer mine to have more variety in their diet, however, so they are on a seed mix called Ecotrition. (Another high quality seed mix I've seen is Gerri Gerbil.) The important thing to look for in seed mixes is the ratio of fatty seeds to the other, more healthy bits. Ecotrition is my brand of choice because there are NO sunflower seeds and only a smattering of pumpkin seeds in every bag. My gerbils love it too -- they seem much less picky than the hamsters I've had.

Gerbils also enjoy a variety of vegetables, but I'd stay away from anything that has a high water content, as it can give them fatal diarrhea. I've also offered mine some fruit, though citrus fruits are toxic and it seems the list of gerbil-safe fruits is much smaller than that of the vegetables they can eat. So more often than not, I just stick to classics like carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower.

For treats and other stuff, I like to give mine alfalfa hay every now and then. I also give them Yogies, but very sparingly since it's pretty much rodent McDonald's. They love unflavored/un-buttered popcorn too.

Anyway, I'm not particularly well-versed on the ins and outs of gerbil nutrition, so someone else with more expertise is welcome to add their input.

So what are the pros/cons of gerbils?
Gerbils are VERY clean. They have got to be the least stinky rodents I've encountered. Because they don't drink very often, they don't produce urine very often either, which is really what makes rodents reek. They're also active off and on throughout the day and night, so you'll see them out and about quite a bit and they're fun to watch. In my experience, gerbils are also very friendly; I've never been bitten by one of mine, even when I deserved it.

As for potential cons, they're fast-moving and sometimes flighty creatures, so handling them can be a bit of an adventure sometimes. They're not often content to just sit and chill in your hands. They can also keep you up at night with their frantic digging and chewing. This has never bothered me, but I'm sure it would drive some people crazy.

Megalodon fucked around with this message at 04:25 on Nov 19, 2009

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lu lu lu
Jul 27, 2007
I've got some apples

Megalodon posted:

P.S. Rodents are cheap to buy, but VERY EXPENSIVE to properly care for. Fresh veggies are a pain in my rear end to purchase every few days, and exotic vet bills are extremely high. Make sure that you're financially (and mentally) prepared to pay ridiculous amounts of money to care for a hamster/guinea pig/chinchilla/whatever should it need medical attention. Just because they're cheap doesn't mean they're disposable.

Anyone doubting this should head over to the "But it's just a..." Insane vet bill stories ITT. thread.

Also I am just going to say that you Guinea people get me every time you put the word "Piggies" in your thread title It is never pigs. Best be glad you're so cute.

Nereid
Sep 17, 2009

I am a leaf on the wind, watch how I soar


To Rat FAQ people who come to this thread: Let's try not to discourage people from getting a piggie/hamster/gerbil/mice in favor of a rat if they express interest in them.

Edit: This is a loving awesome thread, because not I won't feel like my rodents are being neglected in PI.


My girls. Black is Zora, DEH is Aya.


When they were babies!




My manly hamster, Creampuff, or CP. He's SO FLUFFY. Also he lives in a manly pink cage.


Morty, the grey one, is the survivor of this pair of dwarf hamsters, and is a grumpy butt.

Nereid fucked around with this message at 06:30 on Nov 17, 2009

RumbleFish
Dec 20, 2007



Thank you so much for making this thread! It has definitely been needed, and I can't wait to see it become a great resource like the Rat FAQ.

My own areas of rodent expertise/interest are hamsters and gerbils, the latter of which I have four of right now. Because pics are what make these kind of threads so great, here are some of my guys.

These are my new boys I just got a few weeks ago. I'd say they're about 9-10 weeks at this point, and they're settling in nicely. This is a very boring and pedestrian picture, but I took it their first day home, and didn't want to bother them too much with the flash, etc. Calvin is the dark-eyed honey and Hobbes is the classic agouti.



Merlin (top, lilac) and Gandalf (bottom, spotted lilac). They're brothers and a little over a year old. They had some territory issues during their gerbil puberty, but they get along famously now.



Here are my girls, who passed on a few months ago and were nearing three years of age. They were sisters and loved each other to pieces -- they never had a single squabble and were obviously very in sync with each other. They were my first gerbil pair and will always have a special place in my heart.



Cinnamon is the argente; Sugar is the ruby-eyed white.

In honor of another rodent who recently passed, here is Rachmaninoff (Rocky for short). He was a cranky and neglected Winter White dwarf that I took in from an owner who didn't want him anymore. He was never very social and I had to do a lot of work to get him tame, but he was still a special little guy and I don't regret it at all.



Like most hamsters, he was a total lardo and very messy.

Eager to see where this thread goes!

Peristalsis
Apr 5, 2004
Move along.

Thanks for starting this thread. I'd like to add some guinea pig info. Feel free to put it in the OP and delete this post. Or just leave it here; I'm flexible.

Resources
For all the best and latest guinea pig info available, check out guinealynx.com.

Some other good sites for guinea pig information:
pigloo.net
cavyspirit.com
guineapigcages.com (this is specifically about building your own guinea pig cage, and I think it's affiliated with cavyspirit)
cavymadness.com

The first site above, guinealynx.com, is probably the most authoritative, but can be a little weird in terms of the way people there treat each other. I think they've described themselves as a bunch of bitter, middle aged women, and that sums it up pretty well. That said, the info is top notch, and if you aren't a dick, you'll be fine there.

Pigloo.net was started by some folks at guinealynx who got tired of the catty bullshit and snitty behavior after some particular incident. It has a subset of the same information and expertise available, but has never caught on or grown the way guinealynx has. If you're too fragile to handle the bluntness of guinealynx, this could be a good place to start.

Cavyspirit.com grew out of the web site for a specific rescue, I think. I don't know that much about it, but it's always mentioned as a reputable source of guinea pig information. I'm not sure how active it is these days; it may be fine, I just never got in the habit of hanging out there.

Cavymadness is sort of known as a much more newbie-friendly site. I haven't been there in quite some time, but again, at least it used to be considered a decent source of information. I'd use it as a stepping stone to the other sites. Sort of a gateway site for your cavy addiction.

These sites have varying degrees of militancy about adopting from shelters and rescues, but I doubt that you'll find many people on any of them who condone breeding pigs or buying them from petsmart.

Veggies
The right veggies are very good for guinea pigs, but you have to be careful. Some veggies are actually toxic to them, and others are only good as occasional treats. See this for more details and additional links.

Hay
In my opinion, Oxbow hay hasn't been as good the past couple of years as it used to be. It's still better than Kaytee or Hartz, and occasionally it's still awesome, but it just seems dustier and less fresh than it did a while back. If you can get hay here instead, you won't regret it. Alfafa hay is NOT okay for most pigs most of the time. Good orchard grass hay and bluegrass hay are okay, if you can't find good timothy hay. Some alfalfa can be good for young pigs or nursing mothers.

Pellets
If you decide to feed pellets, use high quality pellets from Oxbow, KM's Hayloft, or another reputable company. Never feed anything with bright colors or seeds in it. Check the ingredients - it should only have compressed hay. Growing young pigs, elderly pigs, and sick pigs can benefit from pellets, which have a lot of calories, and can help the pig put on or maintain weight. However, pellets do not help keep their teeth worn down, and are NOT SUFFICIENT FOOD BY THEMSELVES. You HAVE to feed high quality hay. I generally only feed pellets as an occasional treat to healthy pigs, and as a weight-maintenance food for sickly or old pigs.

Bedding
If you can afford it, use carefresh. If you can't afford it, you probably shouldn't have piggies anyway. Don't waste your money on the designer colors - your pigs won't notice or care that they're pissing on a fashionable substrate.

Some people swear by using a washable fleece substrate. It's fine if you can keep up with the cleaning and the water bills, but I've never done it, so I'll let someone else comment on that.

I've also seen Yesterday's News used, but I didn't really think it was soft enough for pigs. It's probably okay, but it doesn't look very comfortable.

You can also use aspen shavings. IN A PINCH, you can use kiln-dried pine shavings. Never use pine that hasn't been kiln dried, and NEVER use cedar.

Cage
For one or two pigs, your cage needs to have at least 7.5 square feet of usable space on its bottom level. THIS IS BIG, and it will make a real dent in your room. Don't get pigs if you can't make enough room for them. See the guineapigcages site for details, and examples of good cages.

The sides of the cage should be fairly high - a few inches isn't enough. I have seen a panicked pig jump over the grids of a C&C cage. It was a very light pig, and an odd situation - I don't want to scare anyone away from using C&C cages, but you shouldn't use anything lower than that for containment.

Pigs also like to have places to hide. Pigloos are a popular choice. If you have a pigloo in the cage, I recommend moving it from place to place every day. It helps encourage the pig not to sit in one spot in its own waste for too long.

Medical
Ugh - where to start?

Find a good exotics vet before you get a pig. You WILL need one. Also, make sure you know where your nearest emergency vet is for those weekend and late-night illnesses. And make sure you have some money saved up for vet visits. Exotics vets are expensive as hell, at least for the good ones. If you can't afford vet care for your pig, you can't afford the pig. Your pig needs at least annual checkups, and you can probably plan to spend $250-$500 per year per pig on vet bills.

Pigs are prey animals, and hide their illnesses pretty well. By the time they're showing symptoms, it may well be too late. So, you need to get to know your pig very well. You need to notice if it isn't eating as much as usual, if its poops are looking deformed or scant, or if its demeanor changes. More than once, I've taken a pig to the vet for general listlessness or something just not seeming right. One thing you must do is weigh your pig(s) regularly. Significant weight loss is a sure sign of a problem.

Some common pig problems to watch for:
Mites - many or most pigs will get mites during their lives. Check the web sites above for info on treating it, or take your pig to a cavy-savvy vet for treatment. It's generally pointless to test for mites - if you suspect mites, the treatment is easier, more reliable, and less painful than the test. DO NOT IGNORE MITES OR OTHER SKIN CONDITIONS. THEY ARE SERIOUS ISSUES.
Bladder stones - for some reason, pigs are prone to bladder stones and bladder sludge. I've lost a pig to this, and it was a pretty horrible death. If you've had kidney stones yourself, you'll understand. This is where feeding the right foods is important - alfalfa hay and some veggies are thought to be associated with increased bladder stones. It's all about the calcium and phosphorus, I think, in the foods.
Bumblefoot - Weird, swollen sores on the pads of their paws. Once they get this, it's awfully hard to get rid of it completely. You may need to treat it for the rest of their lives.
Tooth problems - Both the front and rear teeth can get too long. When the back teeth grow too much, they can actually trap the tongue down. The back teeth are also hard to examine, which is why you need a good vet who knows what the hell she or he is doing. It's very sad to see an otherwise healthy pig starve to death because its teeth are preventing it from eating. This is also why you must include copious hay in the diet - hay helps keep the teeth ground down in ways that even pellets don't.
cancers - Some can be treated, but many are a death sentence. You have to be able to make the call to euthanize when the time comes.
arthritis - Mostly in older pigs. All you can really do is try to manage the pain with medication.

If you have a male pig, you'll need to clean out its pouch periodically. This is not fun, and reeks in a way you wouldn't think possible.

Older pigs may lose their ability to groom very well. Keep an eye on their rear ends, to see if they start getting dirty, staying wet, or getting poop-dreadlocks. While you won't generally need to bathe pigs much (if at all), an occasional, quick butt bath to get the crud out of the fur of your older critters can be nice.

Long haired pigs are prone to crud in their fur - it can be useful to trim their hair, preferably before it gets gross.

With good care and regular vet visits, many pigs live 5-7 years, some longer. If yours keep dying by age 3, you're probably doing something wrong.

Breeding
Just don't. It's very bad for the mother pig, it can produce lethal whites or other deformed animals if you don't know what you're doing, and it's pretty loving reckless, given the number of existing pigs that need homes.


Edit: For what it's worth, there is some dispute over whether or not guinea pigs are actually rodents.

Peristalsis fucked around with this message at 08:04 on Nov 17, 2009

Crash BandiCute
Nov 7, 2004

Dona Nobis Pacem

When researching any animal,it is important to research the specific breed because just like dogs, hamsters have massive variations in behaviour and temperament. Roborovski hamsters are very different from syrian hamsters. Here are two good roborovski hamster sites:

http://roborovskihamsters.webs.com/
http://www.roborovski.net/

I have four robos called Miso, Milk, Coco, and Plum, and they are awesome.







Bunnicula
Mar 22, 2007

skish skish

^What's up robo buddy I too have a roborovski hamster, named Otis


That's his little sleeping pod in his Habitrail Ovo setup. He has one ovo loft and two ovo pads connected with a crapton of tubes and little pods like that. I'll take a picture of the whole thing and post it soon. I love pictures of crazy habitrail setups!


Roborovski hamsters can run for hours and hours on end and I personally like the Silent Spinner that Otis has here. It only makes a soft, whirring noise. And yes, I guess I waste money on the pretty colored carefresh bedding, but I know it's for my amusement and not his.


Unlike syrian hamsters, robos aren't as keen on being manhandled, but you can train them to be cool when they are picked up (if you are patient). Otis is a food whore and will hop right into my hand for a treat

RumbleFish
Dec 20, 2007



Decided to try my hand at an informative post about gerbils. Anyone else is free to chip in with their own knowledge, advice, or personal experience; I'm just drawing from my own.

How long do gerbils live?
Typically 2-4 years, though some have been known to make it to 5. A gerbil is considered elderly once they hit the two year mark.

How many can I get?
Gerbils are extremely social animals, so you MUST get at least a pair. Gerbils can be kept singly, but it reduces their overall quality of life and I'm willing to bet they don't live as long because of it. Females do best in pairs; males can be kept in groups of 3-5 if you so desire.

So should I get males or females?
I suppose it depends on what kind of personality you want from your gerbs. Females are the dominant sex, so they're more active and tend to be more aggressive with each other, which is why it's only safe to keep them in pairs. Males, on the other hand, tend to be very easygoing and are a bit lazy. (My guys are chubbier than my girls ever were!) Of course, as with anything else, there are exceptions to the rule: my female pair never fought, and my oldest pair of boys had a lot of problems before they reached adulthood. So I guess it comes down to personal preference, but generally speaking, the risk of de-clanning (viewing the other gerbil as a strange threat and fighting) is larger with females.

What should I do for housing?
Generally a 10 gallon aquarium is adequate, though if you're keeping a group of males, a 20 long would be ideal. I'd say that floor space is more important, but gerbils do seem to enjoy climbing. There are some neat wire "toppings" that you can get to extend a 10g vertically if you'd like to go that route.

As for wire cages, I think they'd pretty much be a horrible idea for gerbils. Gerbils dig around in their cage constantly, so the floor around them would be a perpetual mess. They're also big-time chewers, meaning many of them would gnaw relentlessly on the cage bars. But then again, I'm sure some people have had this arrangement work out for them.

What about substrate?
This is a universal rodent truth, but absolutely NO pine or cedar; the aromatic oils can irritate their respiratory systems and make them sick. Aspen or Carefresh are your best bet. I prefer aspen because it's cheaper, natural in appearance, and my guys love shredding the chips to line their nest. But either of those is a solid choice.

Also, since gerbils have very strong digging instincts and love to create tunnels/burrows, I'd recommend putting in a good 4-5 inches of substrate for them to play in. They'll dig to their heart's content no matter what, but I like to give them a little extra.

Cages should be cleaned every 2-3 weeks.

So what do I need for cage furniture?
Aside from your standard small animal water bottle, I'd recommend a ceramic food dish. Gerbils are constantly rearranging their environment, so a heavy dish like that won't be tipping over and spilling their food every five minutes. They also can't chew on it.

Like most rodents, gerbils prefer a safe place to sleep/nesting box. There are tons of products and choices out there, but I'd recommend a sturdy, wooden house. The igloos are adorable, but gerbils are relentless chewers and will destroy it. They'll chew up a wooden house too, but it'll take them much longer to do any significant damage. Be prepared to replace their houses every so often.

What about toys and other stuff?
I like to provide my guys with a wheel. I've heard that some gerbils don't understand it or care for it, but all six of mine have loved it and get some serious speed on those things. Likewise, I have a couple hamster balls around that I put them in when I'm cleaning their cages. A few of mine go to town, but others just kind of sit there and try to dig their way out. Your mileage may vary, but I considered it a good investment regardless.

Oh, and one last thing about wheels -- make sure you get one that is wire mesh. Gerbil feet and tails can easy get caught in the standard metal wheel with slats. A solid plastic wheel is safe, but won't hold up well with their chewing habits and tends to be more loud. Wire mesh is not only safe, but the squeaking can be easily corrected with a bit of Vaseline.

As previously mentioned, gerbils are huge chewers. All rodents need to chew to trim their teeth, but in my experience, gerbils are the most ravenous chewers by far. They will chew and destroy anything and everything they can that's within reach. You can make this easy for them by tossing in toilet paper/paper towel tubes, which is a cheap and instant classic for them. I also get wood bars/blocks from the pet store, as those take much longer to chew and are probably a better workout for their teeth.

Gerbils are master nest builders and will use whatever they can to bulk up their burrows, so you can offer them some nesting fluff. Be careful, though -- I wouldn't give them too much of it or too often. One of my hamsters got a stray cotton fiber wrapped tightly around his foot, which cut off the circulation and made it swell. Thankfully, I noticed before any damage had been done, but I'm sure it was still an unpleasant and traumatic experience for him. I haven't had anything like this happen with my gerbils, but it's something to be mindful of and watch out for. The safest bet I've found is scraps of fabric or the batting used to back quilts.

One of the best part about having gerbils is giving them sand baths. Because they are desert animals, they clean themselves in the wild by rolling and twisting around in dust. Domestic gerbils enjoy this too, and it's very fun and cute to watch. The sand used is the same as chinchilla sand, and rather than keeping the bath in their cage, I offer it once a month or so. (If I kept it in there all the time, they'd chew it and just poop in it.) You can tell when a gerbil needs a bath -- their coats start to look slick and greasy.

What about food?
I suppose this can be a bit of a controversial topic, but gerbils can be fed lab blocks, which is probably as nutritionally sound as it gets. I prefer mine to have more variety in their diet, however, so they are on a seed mix called Ecotrition. (Another high quality seed mix I've seen is Gerri Gerbil.) The important thing to look for in seed mixes is the ratio of fatty seeds to the other, more healthy bits. Ecotrition is my brand of choice because there are NO sunflower seeds and only a smattering of pumpkin seeds in every bag. My gerbils love it too -- they seem much less picky than the hamsters I've had.

Gerbils also enjoy a variety of vegetables, but I'd stay away from anything that has a high water content, as it can give them fatal diarrhea. I've also offered mine some fruit, though citrus fruits are toxic and it seems the list of gerbil-safe fruits is much smaller than that of the vegetables they can eat. So more often than not, I just stick to classics like carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower.

For treats and other stuff, I like to give mine alfalfa hay every now and then. I also give them Yogies, but very sparingly since it's pretty much rodent McDonald's. They love unflavored/un-buttered popcorn too.

Anyway, I'm not particularly well-versed on the ins and outs of gerbil nutrition, so someone else with more expertise is welcome to add their input.

So what are the pros/cons of gerbils?
Gerbils are VERY clean. They have got to be the least stinky rodents I've encountered. Because they don't drink very often, they don't produce urine very often either, which is really what makes rodents reek. They're also active off and on throughout the day and night, so you'll see them out and about quite a bit and they're fun to watch. In my experience, gerbils are also very friendly; I've never been bitten by one of mine, even when I deserved it.

As for potential cons, they're fast-moving and sometimes flighty creatures, so handling them can be a bit of an adventure sometimes. They're not often content to just sit and chill in your hands. They can also keep you up at night with their frantic digging and chewing. This has never bothered me, but I'm sure it would drive some people crazy.

Whew, okay, I think that's all for now. Other gerbil owners/fans, feel free to agree, disagree, add more info, etc.

RumbleFish fucked around with this message at 18:41 on Nov 17, 2009

Sirotan
Oct 17, 2006

Sirotan is a seal.



Ham Wrangler

I might try to contribute worthwhile piggy info later but I was buying some new checks tonight and went with photo checks, and here are the pictures I used:


L to R: Fuji, Waldo, Chuckwagon (sitting on a bale of hay I had just purchased)


Fuji


Chuck


Waldo


And then I almost used this one but was limited to four pictures:

I call it "Party Pigs"

Cage
Jul 17, 2003



Grimey Drawer

My only other pics are SUPERhuge, so here is a teeny pic of Orbie. Hes a hammie.

Megalodon
Dec 10, 2007

BITCH, I'D RATHER KEEP MY PTSD THAN HAVE YOUR BITCH ASS TRY TO HELP



DUNSON'D


Sorry, I haven't been around to edit the OP. Peristalsis and RumbleFish's contributions are now added. Thanks a ton, and keep posting pictures! Everyone's little guys are so cute.

Cowslips Warren
Oct 29, 2005

What use had they for tricks and cunning, living in the enemy's warren and paying his price?


Grimey Drawer

I will get some pictures of my African Soft Furred Rats post haste.

These buggies are similar to the 'regular' rat but sized down more to mouse size. They do have a good memory, don't seem as smart as the standard pet rat, but like the standard female rat, maternal instinct is strong. Mine have taken and raised mice pups without problem.

My mice have also nursed and raised rat pups; oddly enough, even without handling these mouse-raised rats are far calmer around people, whereas the ones raised by natural rat mom and aunts are insane things that never really calm down. Your mileage may vary.

SonicYooth
Jun 13, 2005


Correct me if I'm wrong, but won't the wire cage you have pictured in the first post cause bumblefoot in guinea pigs?

Rodent Mortician
Mar 17, 2009

SQUEAK.


SonicYooth posted:

Correct me if I'm wrong, but won't the wire cage you have pictured in the first post cause bumblefoot in guinea pigs?

Those are used for the walls in place of cubes when you can't find them.

SonicYooth
Jun 13, 2005


Rodent Mortician posted:

Those are used for the walls in place of cubes when you can't find them.
Thanks for the clarification, my fault - I misunderstood the OP. On your next batch of edits you might mention bumblefoot up in the cage section (I do see it in the medical section) as its one of the big misconceptions about cages for guinea pigs. You wouldn't believe the number of people I write every day on craigslist who have their pigs on wired floors.

Total Meatlove
Jan 28, 2007


Rangers died, shoujo Hitler cried ;_;


Got a dwarf hamster in a Savic Spelos cage, and I want to give him some more space to run around in, does anyone know if the Ferplast tube range interlocks with the Savic stuff? It definitely looks like it would, but I don't want to spend 5 finding out it doesn't.

maplecheese
Oct 31, 2006
Disturbingly delicious.

I was at a newly opened Chinese grocery store before my SPCA exotics shift today when I discovered that they had yellow bell peppers for the utterly ridiculous price of $0.59/lb. So I bought one ($0.20!) to give to the SPCA guinea pigs... and when I got in and started cutting it up, as soon as they smelled it, they all completely FLIPPED THEIR poo poo. Just constant deafening WHEEK WHEEK WHEEK WHEEK WHEEK WHEEK WHEEK from all 9 of them at once. I've made guinea pigs happy before, but I've never made guinea pigs THIS happy. Definitely more than 20 cents worth of entertainment, right there.

MollyMonster
Jan 28, 2009


I've posted his guy once before, but here are a few pictures of Gus the Chinchilla. I got him impulse (I know, I know) from the Humane Society almost 4 years ago, which makes him about 7 years old now. He's still going strong. I'd really like to get him a friend, but am not willing to have another cage if the two decide they hate each other. So Gus makes do with stuffed animals. I'll have to take a picture of him sleeping with one...he's somewhat adorable.

These first two are with his new hay house. It was destroyed within hours, go figure.








Mid-bounce!




And running on his wheel.


kazmeyer
Jul 26, 2001

'Cause we're the good guys.



maplecheese posted:

I was at a newly opened Chinese grocery store before my SPCA exotics shift today when I discovered that they had yellow bell peppers for the utterly ridiculous price of $0.59/lb. So I bought one ($0.20!) to give to the SPCA guinea pigs... and when I got in and started cutting it up, as soon as they smelled it, they all completely FLIPPED THEIR poo poo. Just constant deafening WHEEK WHEEK WHEEK WHEEK WHEEK WHEEK WHEEK from all 9 of them at once. I've made guinea pigs happy before, but I've never made guinea pigs THIS happy. Definitely more than 20 cents worth of entertainment, right there.

Excited guinea pigs are basically the best thing in the world. My girls are growing up, but I'll occasionally still get popcorning and tearing around when I do something as simple as clean the cage or put in an enormous pile of hay for them to play in, and it's always the highlight of my day.

Megalodon
Dec 10, 2007

BITCH, I'D RATHER KEEP MY PTSD THAN HAVE YOUR BITCH ASS TRY TO HELP



DUNSON'D


To MollyMonster, how social are chinchillas? I know nothing about them other than they're extremely soft, but have always been under the impression that they're pretty aloof. Gus is super cute.

Also, my pig goes nuts whenever she hears me chopping. It's the cutest thing ever.

Serella
Apr 24, 2008

Is that what you're posting?



kazmeyer posted:

Excited guinea pigs are basically the best thing in the world. My girls are growing up, but I'll occasionally still get popcorning and tearing around when I do something as simple as clean the cage or put in an enormous pile of hay for them to play in, and it's always the highlight of my day.

At the pet store, I watched them put a new woven hay tent in for the guinea pigs, and there was so much popcorning and purring and squeaking.

MollyMonster
Jan 28, 2009


Megalodon posted:

To MollyMonster, how social are chinchillas?

If you get the chinchilla(s) from a good breeder, they will have been carefully handled from a young age and should be pretty social, though there are always exceptions. Gus is very social with me and likes being scratched behind his ears, but he will turn his back on my friends who try to pet him. I think they're one-person kind of pets.

Gordong Dongbay
Oct 18, 2007

by FactsAreUseless


I figured this would be the best place to ask this question.

My grandpa was handling my Panda Bear Hamster and he decided to leap out of his hands. He fell a good five feet and landed directly on his back. At first we thought he had broke his legs because he was walking and dragging his entire back part of his body. Being the weekend there was absolutely no way we could take him to the vet and frankly after being hit with a load of hospital bills regarding family problems we just didn't have the money.

We decided to wait and see what happens before we make any decisions. I kept a close eye on him and he has now began walking on all four legs once again and doesn't seem to be feeling any pain. He isn't limping or making noises when putting weight on the legs.

So now here are my questions. Is it possible that when he landed on his back he pinched a nerve which caused him to lose function in his legs temporarily? Also, what are the odds of internal injuries? We've had him for half a year now and we weren't exactly sure how old he was when we purchased him so odds are he could be towards the end of his life sadly.

I know I will probably get a load of messages saying to take him to a vet but sadly due to the random hospitalization of my grandmother we simply do not have the funds to spend on a hamster that ultimately cost us $30. Any help would be appreciated.

(Sorry for the wall of text.)

SonicYooth
Jun 13, 2005


(preface, I don't own hamsters, only guinea pigs)

I'm pretty sure the dragging of the legs is consistent with a spinal injury. I would think the fact that he's not dragging legs is at least better news, though that doesn't mean he's necessarily not in pain.

But yeah, really the only way you can know for sure is to head to a vet. He may have only cost $30 at a store but I would argue that his happiness would be worth a lot more. Maybe call around and get a quote on what a simple x-ray would run just so you can see if there's any way you can fit in in your budget...? Most of all I would keep a close eye on him and ensure that he's eating healthy etc.

[edited for dumb grammar]

SonicYooth fucked around with this message at 18:22 on Dec 14, 2009

Gordong Dongbay
Oct 18, 2007

by FactsAreUseless


Right, I understand it sounds absolutely horrible to say he is only $30. Normally he would have been out the door and to the vet as soon as he dropped but with the way the economy is and with the bills piling up we have to be realistic about what we can afford and what we can't considering I have three hamsters, three dogs, a cat, and a bird.

He seems to be fine for the time being. He finished all the food in his bowl and from what I can physically see of him he doesn't seem to be in any pain. He didn't come out of his log though, which he normally sleeps in, much last night. I assumed though that it was because he was probably still sore from the fall. I'm going to keep a close eye on him over the next few days and see what develops.

cruft
Oct 25, 2007



My wife and I are thinking about getting our almost-5-year-old daughter a pair of gerbils from our local shelter for Christmas. Aside from making sure she understands not to pick them up by the tail, and setting things up so she never carries them (kids tend to drop things), do the rodent gurus have any suggestions? A suggestion like "get a guinea pig instead" is also welcome

(Incidentally, how do shelters come by gerbils? Are they all surrenders? I guess at least they're not selling easter chicks anymore.)

SonicYooth
Jun 13, 2005


LAWLandMine posted:

I'm going to keep a close eye on him over the next few days and see what develops.

Keep us posted too if you would. Best wishes for the little guy.

RumbleFish
Dec 20, 2007



cruft posted:

My wife and I are thinking about getting our almost-5-year-old daughter a pair of gerbils from our local shelter for Christmas. Aside from making sure she understands not to pick them up by the tail, and setting things up so she never carries them (kids tend to drop things), do the rodent gurus have any suggestions? A suggestion like "get a guinea pig instead" is also welcome

(Incidentally, how do shelters come by gerbils? Are they all surrenders? I guess at least they're not selling easter chicks anymore.)

I think gerbils are good for children in the sense that they're very friendly -- I've had six now and not one has bitten me. They're also active during the day, so kids can easily watch them and interact with them.

On the other hand, gerbils can be quite skittish and are also very fast-moving, so they're not as easy for kids to pick up and hold. Hamsters are larger and slower, so they're a better fit in that respect, but they're strictly nocturnal and tend to be bitey. If your kid wants to wake them up and play with them during the day, for example, there's a very low chance that they WON'T get bitten. Some hamsters are more tolerant than others, of course, but I've found they're a grouchy bunch in general. Some kids might not like having to wait until the sun is down to play with their buddy.

I love both hamsters and gerbils and think either is a good choice for children. I had Syrian hamsters growing up and they were great; I have gerbils now and really enjoy them. I guess it comes down to personal preference and what you think is a better fit for your child. (Of course, it goes without saying that you should supervise them anyway when handling.)

Gordong Dongbay
Oct 18, 2007

by FactsAreUseless


A quick update for those of you that were interested in my hamster who had taken a fall.

His apatite has increased and he is eating more. He has also began to come out of his log more. I have yet to see him run on his wheel but that could be because I just changed it earlier today as he was getting a bit to fat for his older one. Hopefully he will start running which to me would mean he is all good.

Damn Bananas
Jun 30, 2007

You humans bore me


Yay rodents!! Great companions for no-pet-apartment-dwellers like me

I was wondering if anyone knows a technique to stop bar-chewing from a mouse? I know Bitter Apple makes a small animal version of their spray, but I heard somewhere that their stomachs are very sensitive and whatever's in that isn't good for them. Same with hot peppers or anything like that. She has plenty of cardboard (and plastic.. I'd prefer she not but at least it's better than the bars) to chew on, plenty of space with lots of climbable stuff... I'm just confused how she's bored enough to chew on the bars. Constantly. While I study for finals.

Suggestions??

cruft
Oct 25, 2007



drat Bananas posted:

I was wondering if anyone knows a technique to stop bar-chewing from a mouse?

Have you tried putting her in a glass aquarium? That's our plan for the gerbils anyhow, also notorius chewers.

Damn Bananas
Jun 30, 2007

You humans bore me


cruft posted:

Have you tried putting her in a glass aquarium? That's our plan for the gerbils anyhow, also notorius chewers.
I've considered it, but am not real big on aquariums. I used them when I lived with my parents and could hose them down in the back yard, but living in an apartment limits (non-pain-in-rear end)washing to the bathtub. This cage comes apart so it's easier to clean for me. Also the ventilation is better, and has a lot of attachments and extra compartments for happy mouse climb-y fun times.

I was hoping for something like "oh mice hate xyz vegetable! rub that on the bars!" but alas. If they don't like something it's probably because it's not good for them, or why else wouldn't they eat it? :/

I'll keep looking for interesting chewables to distract her. Come to think of it she's never had a wood toy before. I just remember with my gerbils, anything wood soaks up pee and isn't really washable after that. We'll see.

vvv I always rinse them out with soap and water even when it's weekly. I can imagine with just dumping bedding, the pee will accumulate pretty gross bacteria over time.

Damn Bananas fucked around with this message at 07:55 on Dec 16, 2009

Nereid
Sep 17, 2009

I am a leaf on the wind, watch how I soar


drat Bananas posted:

I've considered it, but am not real big on aquariums. I used them when I lived with my parents and could hose them down in the back yard, but living in an apartment limits (non-pain-in-rear end)washing to the bathtub. This cage comes apart so it's easier to clean for me. Also the ventilation is better, and has a lot of attachments and extra compartments for happy mouse climb-y fun times.

I was hoping for something like "oh mice hate xyz vegetable! rub that on the bars!" but alas. If they don't like something it's probably because it's not good for them, or why else wouldn't they eat it? :/

I'll keep looking for interesting chewables to distract her. Come to think of it she's never had a wood toy before. I just remember with my gerbils, anything wood soaks up pee and isn't really washable after that. We'll see.

Aquariums are probably the best bet. If you clean them fairly regularly they're not going to get as disgusting as would merit hosing down in the back yard.

Fewd
Mar 22, 2007

#vmp #opsec #kolmiloikka #happoo

drat Bananas posted:

I've considered it, but am not real big on aquariums. I used them when I lived with my parents and could hose them down in the back yard, but living in an apartment limits (non-pain-in-rear end)washing to the bathtub.

I got a somewhat large aquarium for my gerbils in an apartment and moving that fucker anywhere for washing is not really an option. You can clean an aquarium relatively easily without moving it anywhere though. I usually just shovel the old bedding into plastic bags, get the leftover dusts with vacuum cleaner, wash the inside glass with this cleaning solution from pet store (or anything else that's mild and suitable), then just dry up and toss the furballs and their new stuffs back in.

Most aquariums don't come with a suitable cover for the top though so you'd probably have to make up something creative if you get one. I just glued together a wooden frame and attached wire mesh on it with cable ties. Easy and surprisingly durable.

RumbleFish
Dec 20, 2007



Candida albicans posted:

Most aquariums don't come with a suitable cover for the top though so you'd probably have to make up something creative if you get one. I just glued together a wooden frame and attached wire mesh on it with cable ties. Easy and surprisingly durable.

You can also purchase mesh aquarium lids from a pet store for around $10 or so depending on the size of your tank. They're usually made with reptiles in mind, as you can buy hardcore clips to lock them down, but they're suitable for any critter and provide a lot of ventilation.

robotsinmyhead
Nov 29, 2005

Dude, they oughta call you Piledriver!

Clever Betty

Thanks for the bit on Gerbils. My girlfriend got one for Christmas as it's pretty much the only animal we can safely keep in our apartment. We'll definitely be getting a friend for him very soon on RumbleFish's advice. He absolutely adores the toilet paper tube too.

RumbleFish
Dec 20, 2007



robotsinmyhead posted:

Thanks for the bit on Gerbils. My girlfriend got one for Christmas as it's pretty much the only animal we can safely keep in our apartment. We'll definitely be getting a friend for him very soon on RumbleFish's advice. He absolutely adores the toilet paper tube too.

Awesome! I'm glad you found my information helpful.

When you do get another gerbil for him, I recommend using the split cage method to introduce them, since they will be strangers to each other. You don't have to build a special cage like the one shown in the instructions; I just used a piece of hardware cloth that I securely duct-taped to the sides of the tank. This is a safe and gradual way to get them used to each other, since mayhem could ensue if you just tossed Gerbil B in with Gerbil A.

kazmeyer
Jul 26, 2001

'Cause we're the good guys.



Territorialism is huge. You can also try (if you've got the resources for it) introducing them on neutral ground, a trick that works with guinea pigs. There's generally less fighting if someone isn't defending their "turf". And when you do put both of them in the same space, scrub the hell out of it first to remove lingering odors as best you can and rearrange the furniture.

robotsinmyhead
Nov 29, 2005

Dude, they oughta call you Piledriver!

Clever Betty

RumbleFish posted:

When you do get another gerbil for him, I recommend using the split cage method to introduce them, since they will be strangers to each other. You don't have to build a special cage like the one shown in the instructions; I just used a piece of hardware cloth that I securely duct-taped to the sides of the tank. This is a safe and gradual way to get them used to each other, since mayhem could ensue if you just tossed Gerbil B in with Gerbil A.

We've only had him for just over a day and I think we'll be getting his roommate today sometime. His cage isn't ideal (18"x12" 18" Tall), but it's ok as long as he has multiple levels, so I'm a little worried about floorspace for 2 of them and how to split the cage for a short time without confining them too much and providing them with food and water.

Any advice on that?

Like I said, we got him as a gift, and I don't really have the money to go out and buy an aquarium setup right now.

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RumbleFish
Dec 20, 2007



robotsinmyhead posted:

We've only had him for just over a day and I think we'll be getting his roommate today sometime. His cage isn't ideal (18"x12" 18" Tall), but it's ok as long as he has multiple levels, so I'm a little worried about floorspace for 2 of them and how to split the cage for a short time without confining them too much and providing them with food and water.

Any advice on that?

Like I said, we got him as a gift, and I don't really have the money to go out and buy an aquarium setup right now.

Hmm. Do you know how old he is? The younger he is, the better he'll take to a new friend, though I've heard that older males are pretty good with pups too.

One thing I'd definitely recommend is getting two of everything -- two food dishes, two water bottles (if that would actually work/make sense with your current setup), two places to hide. That way they won't have to compete with each other for necessary resources, and it'll save you a lot of potential conflicts.

e: Also, for future reference, an aquarium setup shouldn't run you much more than $20. You can get a 10 gallon for around $10, a wire mesh lid for another $10, and locking clips for as little as $2.

RumbleFish fucked around with this message at 21:02 on Dec 18, 2009

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