Chile rose tarantula care sheet.

Chilean rose tarantula: (Grammostola rosea, Grammostola porterii)

Chilean rose taratulas are a medium sized tarantula (body 7.5cm, leg span 15cm) from southern Peru and northern Chile, on the edges of the Atacama dessert. This docile spider ranges in colour from grey, through pink to a vibrant copper red. Females are thought to live from about 20 to 40 years. As with most tarantulas, males live shorter lives, sometimes due to their expiring a few months after maturation, often through becoming a post coital snack for the female. Males have smaller bodies and longer legs. Females remain pretty much in or around their burrows throughout their lives, whereas males roam around when adult, looking for a female. Although a burrowing spider in the wild, captive Chilean rose tarantulas rarely construct viable burrows, although they do appreciate somewhere dark to hide. In captivity they feed almost entirely on crickets and other insects (from which they derive most of their water) although larger spiders will eat the occasional small mouse.

Chile rose tarantula

Adult Chilean roses require an arid environment. They appear to despise damp substrate and should never be misted. However very young spiderlings do require some humidity. Their substrate must be regularly dampened or they will quickly desiccate and die. This is thought to be due to the exoskeleton taking time to “toughen” and become waterproof. As they age the substrate can be allowed to become progressively dryer. As they grow a suitably sized water bowl can be introduced. Too big and the young spider will fall in and drown. Adults, whilst liking it dry, do require a water dish for occasional drinking.

Chilean rose tarantulas are probably one of the easiest tarantulas to handle because they are fairly slow moving and rarely bite, giving plenty of warning first. If they do bite it is usually a dry bite (no venom injected) and in the extremely rare cases where venom has been injected it has proved to be the equivalent of a bee sting.

HOWEVER people can be allergic to bee stings and you would not know if you were allergic to a spider bite until after you had been bitten. And who wants those big fangs stuck in them anyway? As with most new world tarantulas the biggest risk is from urticating setae (the hairs). These either brush off the spider when handled or are rubbed off on cage appointments or by the spider itself. They penetrate the skin causing irritation, which can be quite severe in rare cases. Getting these hairs in the eyes requires hospital treatment. So NEVER rub your eyes after handling a tarantula or anything it has been in contact with and as with all animals ALWAYS wash your hands after handling.

The biggest risk when handling any tarantula is to the spider itself. Any fall of more than a couple of inches is potentially fatal. They are delicate creatures and can rupture internally and externally. A lost limb may well heal and eventually regrow but a ruptured body, whilst sometimes treatable, is more often fatal. Even a regrown limb can cause the spider problems with later moults. All in all it is best NOT to handle tarantulas, you don’t get any irritation or bites and they stay alive.

The Chile rose is probably the hardiest species in the hobby as well. The environment they come from is dry, very hot during periods of the day and very cold during periods of the night. The can tolerate quite wide ranging temperatures in the short term. Generally the normal household temperatures in the UK are sufficient for a Chile rose and no additional heating is required. Obviously if you keep the spider in an unheated room throughout the winter a heat mat would be required.

For spiderlings we use coir as a substrate. It can retain some moisture for raised humidity and is light weight so will not bury delicate spiderlings. For larger individuals and adults I prefer to use a more natural looking substrate, something like Lucky Reptile red clay sand bedding or desert Bedding and construct a more natural looking terrarium. That is only my preference however, you may prefer something a bit more utilitarian and that’s fine. The only thing I would point out is that if the substrate is too damp the spider will spend all of its time on the side of the enclosure to keep of it.

For hides you can use whatever you like from broken plant pots to fancy resin hides, it’s up to you, the spider just wants a dark hole to hide in. I would avoid anything too heavy and unstable though, you don’t want it to crush the spider if the enclosure gets knocked.

Chile rose tarantulas are notorious for stopping feeding as adults. They are reputed to have not fed for up to two years, although the longest I have experienced is just over 6 months. This can worry less experienced owners a bit. If you have an adult female and she looks in good condition I wouldn’t worry if she stops feeding for a while. If you have a youngster and it stops feeding it is probably getting ready to moult.

We feed all our spiders weekly. If the following week there are stiil insects in the pot we remove them and stop feeding. Generally the spider will moult within two weeks. With larger spiders you can see the new skin growing through exposed areas of the old skin (it goes darker), however this is not obvious on smaller spiderlings and keeping track of the feeding habits is a must. Do not leave crickets in with the spider whilst it is moulting. Often the spider will delay the moult in the presence of crickets etc. and when it finally does begin the process the crickets have an easily accessible meal whilst it is incapacitated. Following a moult the spider will remain soft and vulnerable for quite a while, so don’t feed for at least a week.

As with all our animals our Chilean rose tarantulas are captive bred, normally in this country and are not taken from the wild population. There are lots of reasons for this but the two most important to us are wild animals are likely to have parasites and/or infections and we have no control over how they are harvested. It could have been done responsibly, a controlled amount of individuals taken from an area that is then left to recover before more are taken or as is often the case, a businessman could have paid locals peanuts to collect as many as possible in a short period of time leading to the critical reduction in numbers of a species in a locality that may never recover. Always buy captive bred animals, they are generally more expensive but worth it.

Exo Terra waterfall? Want to improve it?

Exo Terra waterfall in small to large. They work with a small pump that sits in the base of the assembly and pumps water to the top through a small hose that then runs down the face of the waterfall into the reservoir at the bottom where the pump sits. The medium and large versions aslo have a small reservoir half way down to take an optional fogger.

A few problems we have found using these Exo Terra waterfalls in our display vivs. include the reservoir running low through evaporation and the pump being very intolerant of running dry (they burn out quite quickly if the go dry), blockage of the pump from substrate or dead crickets etc. and the just awkwardness of the assembly to clean out leading to the water being left a little too long and going off. It really is just too much work to do every couple of days, especially if you have the Exo Terra waterfall in amongst a complex display viv.

Exo Terra Waterfall

 

A cheap, easy to install improvement can be made that drastically reduces the amount of cleaning required, improves the amount of water flow (the Exo Terra waterfall pump itself generates quite a low flow) without causing splashing all over the viv. and improves the quality of the water.

We replace the Exo Terra waterfall pump with a Superfish Aqua 50 filter pump. It is larger overall but still fits neatly into the reservoir or the Exo Terra water fall. It has a higher flow rate than the Exo Terra waterfall pump and has an very efficient cartridge filter. This will clean out and solids from the water in the Exo Terra waterfall and will allow nitrosomonas and  nitrobacter bacteria to grow in the filter membrane which will remove ammonia and nitrate (products of biological breakdown of waste) and keep the water clean and fresh for much longer, reducing the frequency of cleaning and improving the quality of the water available to your reptile to drink (we typically use them with chameleons, tokays, etc.). The pump in the Superfish Aqua 50 also has a higher tolerance to running dry than the Exo Terra waterfall pump (although this still is not to be recommended) and has an easy to change and inexpensive cartridge filter.

exo terra waterfall replacement pump

 

If you have and Exo Terra waterfall it is well worth giving this small improvement a go. Save yourself some work and improve the environment of your animal for very little cost.

 

The Angell Pets Team

Ferret kits now in stock

pet shop gloucester ferretFerret kits from our own Angell Pets breeding stock are now in store. I went over to our breeding centre last night and collected hob and jill kits which are now safely housed in store.

I also brought back Vinny (grandad) to house at home. What a journey that was. He is in full breeding condition and not the best passenger to have in the van (aircon off – windows fully open – he stinks!)

Anyway we have seven hobs ferrets and five jills available for sale. We will be working on the last stages of hand taming and litter training over the next couple of days.

Prices are the same as last year, £25 for a hob and £30 for a jill ferret. This is below trade price (to buy them in from one of our suppliers would cost me £40 each!!!). Our ferrets are always extremely popular and as we have not had the best of breeding seasons so far this year these little beauties will not be around for long. So if you have been waitng for one of our ferrets get in quick. We currently have polecat, silver mitt, sandy mitt and albinos.

Before considering buying a ferret please factor in the cost of neutering. Male ferrets smell very strongly in breeding condition and are at risk of prostate problems. Females MUST be mated to take them out of season (or be given expensive jill jabs) or they will get very ill or die. We recommend all ferrets bought from us are neutered and vaccinated for canine distemper..

 

The Angell Pets Team

Livefood protein and fruit jelly pots

Livefood jellies to prolong the life of the insects. These convenient jelly pots can be fed to livefood or directly to reptiles. Either way your lizard is getting the full benefit of these nutritious feeding solutions.

Livefood at pet shop Gloucester

The pots can be used with the single or double holders to mount inside a glass vivarium to feed geckos or inside livefood keepers, Alternatively just invert the egg carton in a box of livefood and they fit snugly and provide an excellent food and water source greatly extending the life of the insects.

The pots sell for 99p each or 50p each when purchased with a box of livefood and come in five different flavours. The protein gel pot is best for keeping livefood alive over an extended period and will allow them to grow.

Just ask at the till when you next purchase your livefood.

The Angell Pets Team.

Natures Menu frozen food now in stock

Natures Menu raw foods are now in stock. Natures Menu ready made meals or raw meat packs are now avaiable at competetive prices. Here are a couple of excerpts from the Natures Menu preamble to what the product is and why feeding raw food is good for your animal.

“Natures Menu are proud to be the leading experts in natural and raw dog and cat food. Turning to mother nature for its unrivalled recipes, answers to common well-being issues and a happier, more content pet.
Our range of complete and balanced raw meals for dogs provide a convenient and simple way to feed your dog a healthy raw diet every day.
With over 30 years of knowledge and expertise making raw and natural pet foods Natures Menu can assure the highest level of safety, palatability and nutrition, creating foods that nourish your dog holistically on all levels; mind, body and soul.

Option 1: Feed your pet our complete and balanced raw meals range. We have currently 8 Natures Menu varieties, 4 of those are grain free.

Option 2: You make the raw meals up for yourself at home using a variety of ingredients of Meat, Meaty Bones, Ground Fruit and Vegetables and for some dogs(never cats), a non starchy grain.

Natures Menu

Dogs and cats are hunters and the basis of their teeth structure, jaws, stomach acid ph and whole digestive system is designed specifically to deal with lots of juicy meat and raw bones. Dogs and cats are carnivores who have evolved to eat a meat and bone based diet. Today there is an abundance of dry extruded and other industrially processed petfood on the market. This may be convenient, but is light years away from the food which nature intended dogs and cats to eat. Biology is a science itself and on a biological level your pet’s body is designed and has evolved to, digest raw foods quality proteins rather than processed cooked proteins and grains.
These are some basic natural rules to keeping your pet dog or cat happy and content:

  • A variety of diverse ingredients will supply your pet with an abundance of natural nutrients
  • Fresh meat protein will always be better than processed proteins and where possible, fresh protein should be the main protein source. Protein derived from meat meals or meat and bone meals is a food by product and we recommend where ever possible avoiding heavily processed proteins. Check the packaging on your pet food to see if it includes real fresh meat protein.
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables provide an abundance of natural vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants which are essential to maintain your pet in the best health. Fresh peas, carrots, swede, sweet potato, apples, blue berries and lots more great ingredients are all used in Natures Menu foods and locally sourced wherever possible.
  • Low starch carbohydrates or single source carbohydrates are much better for your dog’s digestion than highly processed heat treated grains. All of the Natures Menu products are wheat free and wheat gluten free. Parboiled rice is the only grain used instead and many of the Natures Menu products are totally grain free. We believe a small amount of boiled rice with some chicken or other real meat protein, mixed with fresh vegetables and fruits creates a full balanced meal for many dogs with totally balanced nutrition.
  • Dogs and cats thrive on quality foods and deserve more than just a bowl of dry cereal and water each day

The Raw Feeding Way Raw Feeding is also often referred to as B.A.R.F feeding which stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods a way of feeding which is fully in tune with what nature intended for your pet. The ‘holistic’ or ‘natural’ pet food sold to us by todays marketing companies is a far cry from what you would expect your dog or cat to search for in the wild. When was the last time you saw a wolf taking a bag of dry pet food back to the lair? Biologically appropriate food has been developed for owners who appreciate that their dog or cat can’t hunt for themselves, as they would in the wild.
Fresh raw meals are the appropriate food for your dog and cat and by bringing them back to nature.  You are feeding a diet that they have naturally evolved to eat. Whilst this diet concept might seem worlds away from the television or media messages pumped out by the big advertising budgets of multi-national petfood companies, that you have come to understand and trust. Do some simple homework and take the time to search for Raw Feeding to learn what’s really best for your dog or cat.
Mother Nature Knows Best At Natures Menu we know what real food really is and a simple check you can do at home with your dog or cat is – take some fresh pieces of meat in one bowl and some processed food in another. Make both bowls available for your dog or cat at feeding time and see which bowl is chosen first. The natural instincts of your dog or cat should always win through. ”

Pop in and see us and give Natures Menu raw a try. Here are our prices.

Natures Menu Freeflow tripe mince 2kg – £4.45

Natures Menu Freeflow chicken mince 2kg – £4

Natures Menu Freeflow lamb mince 2kg – £4.25

Nature Menu tripe 300g – £9.48 pack of 12 or 88p each

Natures Menu tripe and chicken – £9.48 pack of 12 or 88p each

Natures Menu lamb dinner- £9.48 pack of 12 or 88p each

Natures Menu chicken and salmon –  £9.48 pack of 12 or 88p each

Natures Menu banquet nuggets 1kg – £2.95

Natures Menu chicken and trip nuggets 1kg – £2.80

Natures Menu chicken and tripe mince 400g – £10.08 pack of 12 or 90p each

This is our first order of Natures Menu. We will be increasing the Natures menu range with each order as we receive feedback from our customers so watch this space.

Pet shop Gloucester advice series – good hygiene

Pet shop Gloucester advice on avoiding infection from animals through good hygiene.

All animals have the potential to carry organisms (viruses, bacteria, protozoa, multicellular parasites) that can cause disease in humans. The most obvious and common is E.coli bacteria. We carry this ourselves, that’s why you should wash your hands after going to the toilet. Another common one is salmonella, potentially carried by a host of animals including reptiles and birds.

The commonest way of spreading these disease causing organisms is through faecal material (poop), urine, saliva and breath (in the water droplets). So on the face of it owning an animal seems to be a bad thing to do if you want to avoid being ill.

Well you actually stand more chance of being infected by disease from another human than you do from an animal, wild or a pet. How many people do you know who don’t wash their hands after going to the toilet or before preparing food, after blowing their nose, who sneeze, pick their nose, cough and splutter all over the place when they have a cold or worse and every one knows the story about the research into how many individual samples of human urine can be found on bar snacks! I even gave myself food poisoning recently, most likely from blue cheese, although I can’t be sure.

pet shop Gloucester

Humans eh! Dirty, horrible things.

With regard to animals, especially pet animals, the risk can be greatly reduced by ALWAYS following a basic set of rules. It is common sense really when you think about it but it does no harm to reiterate the rules here. You wouldn’t lick a rat’s bottom (I would hope not anyway!) but that is exactly what you are doing if, after handling your pet rat, you bite that little bit of hang nail off or wipe your mouth with the back of your hand.

  • Do not do anything that involves putting your hands near your face whilst handling any pet animal. This includes eating, drinking, smoking, sucking your thumb!
  • Keep your pet’s enclosure clean and dry generally. Remove soiled bedding and use a disinfectant appropriate to the species (household disinfectants can be toxic to animals).
  • Wash you hands IMMEDIATELY after handling you pet or cleaning its enclosure. Also after handling anything your pet touches such as toys, dog beds, scratch posts etc.
  • Do not kiss your pet or hold it close to your face, that’s what humans are for.
  • Cover any cuts, abrasions, sores or scratches with a water proof dressing before handling or cleaning. Also if you pick up any new ones in the process clean these and apply  a suitable dressing.
  • Don’t keep animals in rooms used to prepare food. Never let them walk on food surfaces and don’t wash animal items in sinks used for human food utensils. If you have no choice, always thoroughly disinfect the sink and surrounding work surfaces afterwards and don’t use the same cloths for both.
  • Don’t let animals onto your bed and especially not your pillow.

Follow these rules and you shouldn’t end up as one of the many people with an undiagnosed gastrointestinal infection (24 hour bout of diarrhoea) or one of the very rare cases of rat hantavirus (the only two cases of this flu like disease I know of in the UK were breeders who were in constant contact with rats but clearly didn’t have sufficient infection control).

If you are sensible pets have been shown to reduce disease in humans but if you lick a rat’s bum (figuritively speaking), expect the worst!

Keep visiting for more pet shop Gloucester advice.

The Angell Pets Team

FREE Acana

FREE Acana dog food for the first pet shop Gloucester custmoers that ask for it in store.

We have had a few 340g bags of Acana dog food given us by the Orijen and Acana rep. We are giving these free to the first customers to come in and ask us for one (one per customer). We only have seven bags so you will need to be quick. This is a top quality food and is very popular so I can’t see them being around for long.

pet shop Gloucester offer

Now’s your chance to give the natural diet concept a try without any risk. It really is the best way to feed your dog as it is as close as you can get to a natural diet, in a bag. Unlike most foods on the market this is not loaded with grain (a carboydrate source you dog doesn’t need) as a cheap filler. The result is you feed less, feed better and have less mess to clear up. Happy days.

See you in the shop soon and don’t forget to ask for your FREE bag of Acana.

 

The Angell Pets Team.

Pet shop Gloucester care sheet – goldfish

Pet shop Gloucester advice series, how to look after goldfish

Goldfish are generally  rated as one of the easiest fish to keep. However there are basic requirements for all fish that must be provided for the fish to remain healthy. Goldfish come in a wide variety of colours and shapes. Whilst most are capable of being mixed as they have similar water quality requirements, not all should be mixed. Mixing normal or comet types with fancy fantails for instance can result in the fins of the fancy fish being attacked. Fancies and fantails with thier long flowing fins and tails tend to be slower moving than the “normal” types and cannot get away from boisterous tank mates.

pet shop gloucester goldfish

A fish tank is a sealed system. With the exception of perhaps oxygen and carbon dioxide, which can enter and leave the system at the surface of the water, anything you put into the tank stays in the tank and nothing can get in unless you put it in. Put food in and you have added energy and nitrogenous waste (from the protein in the food). So the fish will grow (and so may plants) and the waste will build up. In a natural system such as a river or lake, this waste is washed away and broken down (recycled and reused by other organisms). In a tank it cannot go anywhere and you have to establish and maintain the natural waste disposal mechanisms to deal with it.

Solid waste will build up in the gravel or sand and in the filter. Left alone a sludge would eventually build up and begin to rot, releasing toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs). To prevent this is easy. Simply stir up the gravel at each partial water change (more on that later) or better still, buy a gravel cleaner that cleans the gravel as you remove water for the water change. Every second water change rinse the filter element in the water you have taken out to remove the solids. Do not rinse under the tap. This will kill all your lovely beneficial bacteria and you don’t want that. Some filters also contain carbon. This does become saturated and will need replacing periodically. The same is true if there is a nitrate removal sponge. Leaving this in for too long will seriously effect water quality.

Dissolved nitrogenous waste is released into the water by the fish in the form of ammonia. Ammonia is highly toxic to fish so it has to be removed. Bacteria that eat the ammonia live on the surface of the gravel and in the filter medium. They break it down into nitrite, which is less toxic and then into nitrate (much less toxic). Nitrate is plant fertiliser. If you do not remove this then your tank will suffer from excessive algae growth. For this reason and those already given you should carry out a partial water change (remove some of the water and replace it with fresh, i.e. treated if using tap water) every couple of weeks as a minimum. How frequently you need do this depends on a number of factors, size of tank, size of filter, number of fish, presence of plants etc. but for an established, reasonable sized, not overstocked tank every couple of weeks should be sufficient.

Having an efficient filter (internal or external) will significantly improve the quality of the water (and reduce frequency of partial water changes to a degree) and improve oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange rates at the surface of the water (by the rippling effect of the outlet of the filter). We do not sell goldfish bowls or recommend tanks without some form of filtration. It is possible to do without but it significantly increases the amount cleaning and water changes you will need to do and with the best will in the world people let it slip. In the end the fish suffers so we choose not to sell them.

pet shop gloucester external filter

There are three main ways of adding filtration. Under gravel, using an air pump to drive water down through the gravel and up and over a tube, internal cartridge or element, probably the commonest form in small tanks and external cartridge or element,  more usual in larger tanks. All work well and have their own benefits and drawbacks which we will not go into here. Any can be used with goldfish.

Before putting goldfish into a new tank it needs time to mature. A week is normally sufficient. This is to allow the natural systems to establish before being presented with waste to dispose of. The process of maturation can be accelerated by the addition of the necessary bacteria in a liquid form. Fish should then be added gradually over a period of weeks to enable the bacterial cultures to grow with the increased waste load.

Pet shop gloucester safewater

Plants make an attractive addition to the tank and can also help use up nitrogenous waste but they are not essential. Fish do like to hide among them and eat some kinds but artificial plants can be used. Ornaments are at your discretion, they can provide hideaways for nervous new fish but again are not essential.

Lighting is also not essential but does bring out the colours of the fish. If using real plants then the lighting is needed to encourage plant growth. Leaving the light on for too long can stimulate algal growth on the glass, gravel and any ornaments and plants though.

We wouldn’t recommend less than a 25 litre tank for goldfish. With regard to the number of fish there is no hard and fast rule but generally it is the surface area of the tank that dictates how many fish it can hold, rather than just the volume of water (larger surface area = higher oxygen exchange rate) so a shallower wide tank will hold more than a  deep narrow tank.

pet shop gloucester aqua 40

Goldfish are omnivores and eat a variety of food stuff. A good flake or pellet food is normally sufficient to provide all the necessary nutrients.

Goldfish are quite hardy. All goldfish are fish farm bred nowadays and can tolerate a wide range of waters. Tap water in this region is medium to medium hard and pH (a measure of the hydrogen ion content of the water) is well buffered (resistant to change)at around 7.4 – 7.6. This is suitable for all modern goldfish and further treatment for pH and hardness is not normally required. Note that if water quality is not made a priority and the tank is not regularly cleaned pH can rise to high levels and effect the health of the fish over time. As long as you do not neglect your routine water changes this will not happen. However chlorine and chloramines are present in the water to keep it safe for us to drink and these need to be remove before being used with fish. Standing tap water for 24 hours will remove the free chlorine but will not remove the chloramines. You must use a chemical (Tapsafe, Aquasafe, Safeguard etc.) to remove these toxic chemicals (toxic to the fish – not you) BEFORE using the water.

pet shop gloucester safeguard

Avoid using real rocks unless purchased for the purpose from a reputable aquarist shop. Some rocks will significantly change the water quality to the detriment of the fish (limestone for example). Fake rocks are resin based and will not effect water quality.

After you have bought your tank, set it up, let it mature for at least a week, you can add your fish. Don’t add more than one or two at a time. Check the fish in the shop for any obvious signs of disease such as a swollen body, damaged eyes or fins, sores, excreta stuck to the fish in a long line etc. The shop should carry out these basic checks in front of you and tick off each element of the inspection. When you get home, put the bag with the fish in into your tank (remember to remove some water first or you will have an overspill!) and leave it for about 15 minutes. This is for the temperature in the bag to equalize with that of the tank to avoid temperature shocking the fish (which can be fatal). Then remove the fish from the bag and put it in the tank. Do not bother to try to “acclimatise” the fish to the water chemistry by  making holes in the bag etc.. It takes many days for this to happen and is just not practicable.

Feed your fish daily. The food should be gone in 1 – 2 minutes maximum. Any longer and you are overfeeding your fish and this will eventually lead to problems. Check the fish daily for signs of disease. Carryout your water changes and filter cleaning and you should have a healthy fish for many years to come.

Pop into our pet shop Gloucester for more specific advice on goldfish.

Pets for Christmas? Pet shop Gloucester advice

We are a pet shop and we sell pets. We also care about their welfare, so what is our pet shop Gloucester stance on selling pets around Christmas time?

Should you buy pets for Christmas presents? On the face of it this is a no brainer. Pets are for life – not just for Christmas is a phrase that is parroted everywhere and in principal seems obvious. However the phrase is misused these days. What is meant by it is that the pet shouldn’t be bought as you would buy say, the latest trendy toy.

A child see’s a toy that comes on the market and remarks to his/her parent that that’s the one for them, they will be sooo good if only they could have one for Christmas. By the time they open the gift on Christmas morning the fascination has already gone, their friends have moved onto another model, they use it for a couple of days and you hardly ever see it again until you find it amongst all the other rubbish under the bed. If this is your reason for buying a pet at Christmas (or at any other time of year for that matter) just don’t. The amount of times I have had parents and kids in the shop and mum has left convinced that little johnny would do all the housework for the next twenty years if only he can have a rat/rabbit/snake/spider, he’s never wanted anything so much in his life. When we say we’ll see you next week and they return and when shown his favourite ever animal, little johnny says “Yeah great, can I have a look at…” whatever has now caught his fancy; mum realises her lucky escape. At Christmas parents are just as convinced that because they have been in the shop and their child has expressed the same level of interest, on Christmas morning they will still be as interested. Pets should not be bought at Christmas for these superficial reasons.

However a pet, the housing and all the correct equipment can be expensive. If a child and parent come in repeatedly throughout the year and the child (and the same is true for us big kids too) has retained their interest all year but the parent cannot afford to buy it now, in the middle of summer and then get something else at Christmas there is nothing wrong with delaying the purchase until then.

The important thing about buying a pet is what is informing the decision, not what time of year it is. Pets should never be purchased on a whim. So buying a pet for someone because you can’t think of anything else, because someone mentioned they “like” rabbits, because you are “sure” they will like it, is definitely wrong. You can put the jumper someone bought you in a drawer and forget it, you can’t do that with a pet. The person you bought it for is going to have to clean it, feed it, provide it with exercise, enrichment etc. Are you sure they will want or be able to in a few months (or years, or decades!). That should really be their decision, made in the cold light of day with all the information in front of them, not forced on them on Christmas morning. Also children (and a lot of adults I meet) are fickle. You have to be absolutely sure that they will fulfil their commitment and responsibility to the animal. This is best ascertained over a period of time, with repeated visits.

So the basic message is don’t buy a “surprise” present of an animal on a whim at any time of year. The chances of it being not wanted are too high. If you are convinced your recipient really wants a pet and has shown consistently they have the ability and the will to look after it properly over a period of time, you have done you research and know what you and/or they are taking on then don’t let others make you feel guitly about combining a purchase they really want with Christmas. It should really be “A pet is for life – not just for any particular day of the year”

Let us help you make that informed decision by informing you of everything you need to know about your chosen pet BEFORE you buy it. Pop in and see us in our pet shop Gloucester anytime to ask us anything you need to know.

The Angell Pets Team

Pet shop Gloucester advice series – Catnip – what does it do?

Pet shop gloucester advice series. What does cat nip do to your cat?

Catnip is a member of the mint family (Nepeta cataria). It contains an essential oil called nepetalactone which appears to mimic opiates and produces an intoxicating effect, acting on some opioid receptors in the nervous system. In the wild it grows in hedgerows and on waste grassland and foxes and cats seek it out to roll in it. It is thought that one reason for this behaviour amongst predators is to mask their scent so they can approach prey more easily.

pet shop Gloucester catnip

Cat nip has varying effects in domestic cats. In 10% of cats it has no effect at all. This is believed to be a genetic trait to do with the sensitivity of the olfactory system (sense of smell). In most cats it has one of three effects. The majority of cats go into a sort of ecstasy, rolling around and exhibiting behaviour similar to female sexual behaviour. In others it seems to send them to sleep (it can do this to people too, although in others it has the reverse effect and acts as a stimulant!). In a minority of cats is can actually make them aggressive, so watch out.

Catnip is a useful tool to help reduce stress in cats by giving them a toy impregnated or filled with catnip to distract them on car journeys, in new environments etc. It can encourage the use of scratch posts and when used in conjunction with a repellent, protect a the furniture or carpet. (repellent on the furniture, cat nip on the scratch post).

So catnip stimulates a cats olfactory system to produce behaviour associated with feeding (chewing and sniffing), sex (rolling and rubbing) and hunting and play (pouncing and kicking). Outside, on wild catnip, all three types can be exhibited as prelude to a hunting mission. Inside it can be used as an artificial way of getting a cat to exhibit natural behaviours.

Register on our pet shop Gloucester email list for your 10% discount and regular advice and offer updates.

 

The Angell Pets Team