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August 25, 2013 on 11:57 am

‘Super Food’ for your pet Chickens. Chicken ‘Krack’ 8.5 lb. Bag. Treat for chickens will drive-your-flock wild. We call it Krack because your Chickens will become addicted! Combination of grains, dried mealworms & natural extracts. Chicken ‘Krack’ treats are an irresistible snack! Hand feed or sprinkle on the ground. Does not contain any artificial colors, flavors or preservatives – and, is darn tasty! Wholesome, Healthy and Fun. Full of Protein, Natural & Tasty. Added natural extracts (Marigold & Paprika extracts) … keeps the yokes a dark orange color!

Ingredients: Red milo, Cracked corn, Dried kelp, Crimped barley, Dried meal worms, Flax Seed, Whole wheat, Marigold extract, Paprika extract.

August 25, 2013 on 11:53 am

Are you killing your Sugar gliders? You may be … if you are allowing them to feast on treats, mealworms, and loads of fruits. The sad fact is many Sugar glider owners do this on a regular basis. Sure, it’s fun to watch your pet go crazy for a food or treat that they absolutely love, but are you taking into account the consequences? How about the onset of calcium-related deficiencies – often resulting in seizures, hind-limb paralysis, and death? When offered a choice between sweet foods and a nutritionally balanced diet formulated specifically for Sugar gliders, they will almost always gorge themselves on sweets first – to the exclusion of nutritious items. Once their systems become accustomed to feeding on sweets, they will often stubbornly hold out for them – refusing to eat other foods. It is up to you (the pet owner) to limit the amount of foods that contain high sugar content or high fat content. Sugar gliders do require balanced diets that consist of a combination of a protein, fruits, vegetables, fats etc. Exotic Nutrition’s Glider Complete, Instant-HPW and Premium Sugar Glider diet offer this healthy alternative. Treat your pet Sugar gliders like young children, do not allow them to eat only the foods they really like, allow them to get hungry enough to eat the healthy foods! Sugar gliders are a hearty species, they will not ‘starve’ themselves if offered healthy foods, but they will consume poor quality foods until it affects their health, sometimes irreversibly. Do the right thing … be the ‘parent’.

August 12, 2013 on 3:24 pm

Safety First: Hedgehog Hazards
Before you bring your pet home, check for possible hazards an Exotic pet could encounter if he were to accidentally escape. Your home can be a dangerous place for a pet on the loose. Let’s take a look at some of the many accidents waiting to happen in your home so you can prevent them before they occur!

Sticky Traps, Snap Traps, Rodent and Insect Poisons, and Baits
Remove all traps, baits, and poisons that are in your house or garage. They are as deadly for your pet as they are for vermin.

Household Chemicals
Exotic pets can climb into and hide in cabinets where there are household products such as cleaning agents, bug sprays, paints, fertilizers, and other poisonous chemicals. These substances are extremely dangerous and potentially deadly for your pet if he comes in contact with them.

Before you do the laundry, check any piles of clothing lying on the floor and double-check the pockets. Sadly, small pets have been found, too late, inside washers and dryers.

Other Pets
Keep your Exotic pet separated from other pets. They can frighten and harm him.

Outside Doors
Make sure all doors to the outside or the garage are closed. If your pet escapes to the garage, he will be exposed to hazards and poisons, such as antifreeze on the garage floor. Antifreeze has a sweet taste, but is a deadly poison that causes rapid kidney failure.
If you pet escapes outside, he will be almost impossible to find and he will certainly not survive the dangers of automobiles, neighbor animals, and harsh weather conditions.

Poisonous Plants and Insects
While your little friend is on the loose, he will forage and might sample some greenery. Unfortunately, many household and garden plants are poisonous, so be sure to remove any poisonous plants and fertilizers that could make your runaway sick. Your pet might also eat insects that have been poisoned (for example, snails and slugs that have been exposed to snail bait). Remove all pesticides from the area until you locate your pet.
Note: Cocoa mulch used in gardens is toxic for many animals. It contains a methylxanthine substance similar to caffeine.

Crushing Injuries
If your Exotic pet has escaped, be very careful where you step and sit down. Check underneath furniture and pillows, especially under rocking and gliding chairs and lounge chairs where your pet could be caught in the mechanism and crushed.

Purchase Housing, Food, Travel Kennel, and Supplies in Advance
Make sure you have everything you need ready and set up before you bring him home. Purchase the accommodations and food he will need. Take home some of the same food the breeder or pet store has been feeding your pet, to prevent stress and gastric upset from a sudden change in diet. If you change your pet’s diet later on, do so gradually.
Set up your pet’s enclosure and accommodations in advance so that when you get home, you can transfer the animal directly into his new environment and he won’t have to wait, confused and uneasy, in the travel kennel while you get everything ready.

You can find a wealth of information and supplies for your Exotic pets on the Exotic Nutrition website – click here.

July 29, 2013 on 6:30 pm

Here’s how to attract and maintain bluebirds in your yard:
· Provide suitable habitat. Open or semi-open areas with short or mown vegetation and scattered trees – parks, suburbs, golf courses, schools, farms, and forest clearings – all provide ideal conditions for bluebirds to forage for the insects that make up most of their summer/breeding diet.
· Bluebirds are attracted to areas with perches from which to hunt. Consider erecting additional perches using dead tree limbs or garden stakes, etc., throughout your yard.
· Set up a birdbath or other reliable source of clean water for drinking and bathing in all seasons. A heating element can keep the water open in the winter. A simple dripper, which birds love, can be created by hanging a hose over the bath. Locate the bath far enough from the brush to protect the birds from predators.
· In Virginia, bluebirds do not migrate. When insects aren’t flying during the winter months, they rely mostly on berries. Plant berry-producing trees, shrubs, and vines such as dogwood, cedar, holly, hackberry, hawthorn, serviceberry, winterberry, Virginia creeper, and sumac.
· Mealworms can be fed year-round, especially if the bluebirds are habituated to them during the nesting season. They’re available in bulk from sources such as Exotic Nutrition Company. Freeze-dried worms also can be used. Suet with peanut butter and berries can be offered as well as pre-soaked raisins or berries.
· Install a wooden nest box on a metal pole prior to the nesting season, but only if you’re prepared to check on it regularly. Suggestions for sitting the box in your yard and design specs/safety information and available at the Virginia Bluebird Society’s website ( ). If Carolina chickadees, tufted titmouse, Carolina wrens, or tree swallows nest in your box, enjoy them as well. They are native and protected species and their nests must not be removed.
· Consider retaining dead trees with woodpecker holes in wooded areas. Bluebirds will nest in unused cavities.
· Protect the nest box with a snake guard baffle on the mounting pole. The bluebird society also recommends attaching Noel guards around the entrance hole to protect against animal predators such as raccoons, squirrels, and cats.
· Provide winter roosts for the bluebirds by cleaning and leaving the nest boxes up after nesting. Bluebirds will roost together in numbers to conserve body warmth on cold nights.
· Bluebirds are generally tolerant of human activity and are not disturbed for long by cars, lawn mowers, and weekly checking of the nest box, etc. However, do try to dissuade curious people from opening the box or children from constantly playing beside the box. Researchers at the College of William and Mary determined that unpredictable noise and movement might stress nesting birds.

July 16, 2013 on 5:24 pm

Skunks make affectionate, intelligent pets, but they are not for everyone. Welcoming a pet skunk into a family means accepting responsibility for its lifelong care. That may be more challenging than you think!
When given excellent care and proper nutrition, skunks are generally hardy pets that can live six to eight years, sometimes longer. However, just like more common pet species, skunks can suffer from health problems. Knowing how to recognize signs of health problems and what to do about them can make all the difference in whether the skunk recovers, suffers a prolonged illness, or dies.
Looking after a skunk’s health and care requires diligence. Although a pet skunk is domestically raised and tamed, it still retains characteristics of a wild animal. One of those traits is to hide signs of illness as much as possible, so as not to appear vulnerable to predators. This means that by the time a skunk begins to show signs of being sick, the illness may already be in an advanced stage and difficult to treat.
Medications and vaccine in veterinary medicine are developed for common pet species. They have not been developed for common pet species. They have not been tested for safety or efficacy in skunks. Every time a skunk receives a pharmaceutical product, it is “off label” use. A veterinarian who has extensive experience diagnosing and treating skunks is the best person qualified to determine which medications and dosages are safest for your pet.
Find and select a veterinarian before your skunk needs one, so you do not lose valuable time looking for a veterinarian during an emergency. The Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians ( lists veterinarians with expertise in exotic animal medicine. Many of them have experience treating skunks.
A skunk’s health is determined by many factors, including age, gender, genetics, environment, activity level, and diet. Some things that influence a pet’s health, such as genetic predisposition for certain problems, cannot be controlled. Fortunately, you can control the most important things that help ensure that your skunk lives a long and happy life: diet, housing, environment, exercise, social enrichment, and health care.
Many skunk illnesses are the direct or indirect result of improper diet. Body condition, skin and coat, organ function, musculoskeletal system, nervous system, endocrine system – virtually everything is affected by diet, unfortunately, no scientific studies have been done to determine the precise nutritional needs of pet skunks throughout their life stages. Just like people, every skunk is different and varies in nutritional needs based on health, age, and activity level. Weigh your pet at least once a month and consult with your veterinarian throughout your skunk’s life so you can adjust its menu as its dietary requirements change over time. A product called Premium Skunk Diet is a pre-made food specifically for pet Skunks. This food has been fed successfully for many years and can be relied upon as a staple diet when fed along with fresh fruits and veggies.

July 12, 2013 on 4:11 pm

Nesting Boxes
Sugar gliders are nocturnal and need a place to curl up and go to sleep during the day. A nesting box will provide your pet with a hiding place where it can feel safe and protected while it slumbers. Nesting boxes can be made out of wood, wicker, or plastic. Alternatively, a cloth pouch with a slit in the front can be tied to the side of the cage as a sleeping bag. Gliders like to “move house” occasionally and so it is a good idea to provide several types of nesting boxes in the same cage.
A wooden birdhouse makes an ideal bedroom, as does a plastic hamster house or a rubber storage container that has an entrance hole and ventilation holes cut in it. The entrance hole should be no smaller than 1 ½ inches (3.75 cm) in diameter. Female gliders that have large babies in their pouch, or youngsters clinging to their back or underside, will find it difficult to get in and out if the hole is any smaller. If the nesting box is for a breeding pair, it is advantageous if the entrance hole is high up on one of the sides or in the lid so that the babies cannot inadvertently fall out. Nesting boxes that have removable or hinged lids are best because they provide better access to sleeping pets and are easier to clean. The nesting box should be placed as high up in the cage as possible because sugar gliders do not feel secure sleeping near the floor.

Sugar gliders will quite often happily sleep in nesting boxes or sleeping bags that contain no bedding. However, you can add plain shredded paper or pine, pre-packaged nesting material or aspen wood shavings. Pre-packaged is preferable to pine because it does not contain volatile resins or other terpenoids. Alternatively, a piece of cloth or a sock can be provided for the glider to curl up in. Wood shavings, Carefresh Betting or plain paper can also be used in the bottom of the cage to catch or absorb moisture from the urine, droppings, and fruit that has fallen from the dishes. Don’t use newspaper or magazine paper because it may contain harmful dyes and chemicals. Do not use cedar shavings or make nesting boxes out of cedar. Cedar contains volatile compounds that are harmful and can cause respiratory problems to some animals.
In rare instances, a sugar glider may try to consume inedible bedding. This behavior is most often seen ion young gliders that are given bedding materials that they are not familiar with. They attempt to eat the substance out of inexperience. However, consumption of inedible material can also be a sign of nutritional deficiency.
If your sugar glider appears to be eating its bedding or shavings from the bottom of the cage, remove the substance immediately because the glider’s digestive system may become impacted by these materials. It will be necessary to find alternative bedding and cage floor material. For example, paper towels can be used instead of wood shavings.

Litter Box
Sugar gliders will not use a litter box. They can not be house trained. However, they are quite clean animals that usually avoid soiling their nesting box. They do not produce copious amounts of stools and urine. Stools are like those of a mouse and quickly dry to a hard pellet. They usually urinate while on the wire or on the branches in their cage.
To avoid having your glider urinate or defecate on you when you take it out, gently brush the area at the base of the tail with a piece of toilet tissue. This will stimulate the glider to soil the toilet tissue rather than you or your furnishings.

July 3, 2013 on 2:36 pm

Pet Hedgehog Health
African hedgehogs must be kept in a warm environment continuously, because living so close to the equator for more than 20 million years they lost their ability to generate the brown fat needed for hibernation. Accordingly, they must be kept at temperatures above 72 degrees Fahrenheit, preferably between 74 and 78 degrees. A healthy hedgehog’s life span is between 4 and 6 years of age. A 5-year-old hedgehog is roughly the equivalent of a 78-year-old human. The oldest hedgehog of record was Packie of Florida, who made it to 10 years, 11 months and 11 days. Cage heaters are an easy way to keep your Hedgies warm and cozy.
Weight is a very important factor to consider when dealing with pet hedgehogs. Because their lives are sped up about 12 times faster than human lives, one month in the life of a hedgehog equates to a year for a human. So, when a health issue presents itself, fast action is required. Keep your Hedgehogs feed well with a balanced diet.
At the hedgehog rescue I founded, each hedgehog is weighed daily and the weight (in grams) is entered on a ledger sheet in the hedgehog’s health records, which are kept on a clipboard nearby. Grams are a far more accurate measurement, because there are 28 grams to the ounce and the average hedgehog weighs just under one pound (454 grams).
Like humans, hedgehogs are widely variable in their “body habitus.” Some are long and big-boned, and others are petite and delicate. AN average weight range for an African hedgehog is 350 to 450 grams, although perfectly healthy hedgehogs have lived at our rescue long-term with average weights from 200 to 900 grams. When a hedgehog cannot completely roll up into a protective ball where you see nothing but quills, then it’s time for a diet.
But weight change is usually most important for health concerns. A 25-gram drop or increase overnight is not necessarily a cause for concern, as hedgehogs can take on nourishment and eliminate waste ion comparatively enormous quantities. But it is the trend over days that is important, and that is why daily weighing and recording is crucial. A steady increase or decrease over days may necessitate a visit to the veterinarian. Of course, common-sense exceptions exist, such as rescuing a starving hedgehog, which would be expected to have a steady weight gain. Visit the Exotic Nutrition Hedgehog department for more information.

July 2, 2013 on 5:59 pm

Obesity is caused by eating a diet too high in fat or by overeating. Obese skunks have excessive amounts of fat throughout their bodies, under their skin and inside their abdomen. They may form fatty tumors (usually in the skin) called lipomas.
Obese skunks are lethargic, have difficulty walking and are unable to curl into a ball to sleep. Obesity can lead to many other illnesses, including fatty liver disease, heart disease, diabetes, joint problems, gastrointestinal disease and cataracts.
Prevent obesity by not overfeeding; by providing a high protein, low-fat diet; such as Exotic Nutrition Premium Skunk Diet by encouraging activity; and by weighing the animal weekly to ensure it maintains a healthy weight.
An obese skunk’s prognosis for health improvement is good if it is put on a diet for slow, gradual weight loss. Crash diets are dangerous and must be avoided.

Cardiomyopathy (heart disease) is not uncommon in pet skunks and is often seen in obese skunks. With this condition, the heart no longer functions properly and cannot pump blood well throughout the body. Signs of cardiomyopathy include shortness of breath, coughing, weakness, lethargy, lack of appetite and eventually weight loss.
Cardiomyopathy is diagnosed by auscultation (listening with a stethoscope) combined with radiographs, ultrasound imaging and electrocardiograms. Treatment depends on the type and severity of the heart condition and includes prescription heart medications, diuretics and special diets.
Cardiomyopathy is a serious, life-threatening disease. No cure exists for cardiomyopathy, but treatment can help improve the quality of life and prolong life. Adding Taurine to the diet helps prevent heart related issues, Vita-Skunk is a Taurine rich supplement that should be added to the diet.

Fatty Liver Disease
Fatty liver disease (hepatic lipidosis) is commonly seen in skunks. Obesity and dietary imbalances (high-fat diets, diets deficient in protein and specific amino acids, an abrupt change in diet), illness and stress all play a role in triggering the development of fatty liver disease. Signs of hepatic lipidosis include anorexia, rapid weight loss, lethargy, vomiting, weakness, depression, jaundice (yellowing of the skin, mucous membranes and sclera) and liver enlargement.
Diagnosis is based on symptoms and a combination of laboratory blood work, radiography, ultrasound imaging and cytology (study of cell types). Liver cells may be obtained by percutaneous, fine-needle aspiration. Treatment options include supportive diet and may also include fluids and supplements, as well as treating any other medical conditions that may also be present.
Fatty liver disease is life threatening. Chances of recovery depend upon how quickly the problem is noticed and treated. A high-protein, low-fat diet, and weight management help prevent fatty liver disease.

Viral Diseases
Skunks are susceptible to many of the same diseases as other pets, including viral diseases like canine distemper, canine hepatitis and rabies. Skuinks do not contract canine parvovirus or feline leukemia, however, pet skunks may develop encephalitis caused by human strains of herpesvirus.
Canine distemper is the most common fatal viral disease seen in pet skunks. Vaccination against canine distemper is recommended, especially for skunks that travel with their owners, are exposed to other animals or participate in shows. Canine distemper can be prevented by vaccination, avoiding exposure to infected and wild animals, keeping the family dog current of vaccinations, and by washing other animals (and changing clothes, if necessary) after handling other animals and before handling the skunk. Signs of canine distemper include weight loss, vomiting, seizures, hardening of the footpads, pus discharge for the eyes and nose, secondary bacterial pneumonia, skin pustules, fever, seizures and other nervous system problems.
Vaccination against canine distemper with Purevax is preferred by many veterinarians for its safety; this vaccine does not contain the distemper virus but can produce immunity. NO rabies vaccine is approved for use in skunks, however, Imrab killed-virus vaccine is used by many veterinarians who treat skunks. Vaccination against canine hepatitis should be considered on an individual case basis according to the potential for risk of exposure.
Always remember that the very best health care you can give your skunk is preventative health care. Preventing health problems is much easier, less expensive and more successful than treating health problems!

June 24, 2013 on 3:15 pm

Exotic Nutrition Company sponsors Australian Sugar Glider research project

The Sugar Glider Genetics research project headed up by Dr. Clare Holleley of the University of South Wales has received a major contribution from the Exotic Nutrition Pet company to help fund their project research. See Below:

The Sugar Glider Genetics Project answers questions about the population of domestic Sugar Gliders (Petaurus breviceps) in the USA, using modern genetic techniques.

Why should breeders be interested in the Sugar Glider Genetics Project?
1. Making sure you have diversity in your breeding lines.
2. Identifying animals that carry recessive genes for unique coat colors and patterns.
3. Being able to accurately plan your breeding program.

We address these goals in a three phase research program:

PHASE ONE (in progress): Genetic Diversity and Origins of Domestic Sugar Gliders in the USA.
There are an estimated 1.1 million Sugar Gliders kept domestically as pets in the USA. However this large population was almost certainly founded by a very small number of individuals. In phase one will:
Estimate the genetic diversity of US populations.
Detect possible population bottlenecks and/or founder effects.
Determine which subspecies of Sugar Glider founded the US population.

See this link for more information click here.

Researcher Dr Clare Holleley says:

“We want to look into the genetic health of the US (United States) sugar glider population and its origins, but gene sequencing costs money and grants can be hard to come by so we thought that we could probably help finance our project if we shared it with the community,” she said.

“There are various different funding models. Some of them you have to reach your target to actually get the funding. But we’re actually working on a different model, it’s the ‘everything and more model’, so everything that everyone contributes will actually go towards the science and the research project.”

Sugar gliders are small possum-type marsupials that are native to Australia, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.

But Dr Holleley says they have become a very popular exotic pet in the United States.

“There are about 1.1 million sugar gliders kept domestically as pets in the US,” she said.

“We want to know the genetic diversity of the population, see if there are any population bottlenecks (coming from only one subspecies) and determine which subspecies of sugar glider founded this US population.

“It is almost certain that this population was founded by a very small number of individuals so we need to know whether there is any potential inbreeding or if there would be problems with the population down the track for a lack of diversity.”

Dr Holleley hopes to raise $8,200 for the project.

She says a $10 donation could fund the sequencing of one targeted gene in one animal, while a $100 donation would allow researchers to purchase chemicals that will extract and purify DNA for 50 animals.

To help with this project – CLICK HERE

May 31, 2013 on 3:25 pm

Sugar Gliders & Age
As sugar gliders age their activity decreases. While they still have periods of activity and play, there are long periods of rest in between. Aging sugar gliders may eat smaller portions of food at a time, but may return to their food several times a night. Some sugar gliders will be frail, while others may gain weight and become obese. Their coat may be sparse and become a light gray. Their nails thicken and require more care. They are prone to illness and injury. Sugar gliders remain sweet and gentle as they age and do not generally develop personality issue related to age.

Sugar gliders have large eyes and ears. Their eyes are adept at night vision, but they can see in daylight. They avoid bright lights and will be more active in din settings. Their ears are sensitive to sounds and are a good indicator of health. When awake, a sugar glider’s ears will usually be upright and responsive. A droopy ear, or one that lays flat against the head, is usually and indicator of illness or depression. Because sugar gliders are social animals they can become depressed if alone.
Sugar gliders have large very small, sharp teeth and nails. Unlike rodents, sugar glider teeth do not continue to grow and do not need to be filed or cut. Damage to teeth can be painful and will make eating difficult. Their sharp nails are useful for climbing and landing in trees and, due to daily contact with bark, their nails remain trimmed. Pet sugar glider nails are not constantly exposed to rough surfaces and require trimming. Nails left too long may get caught in fabric or grow painfully into fingers. The only nails that should not be trimmed are those on a set of fused fingers on each backhand. These nails are commonly called grooming nails. Automatic nail trimming wheels are now available, Sandy Trimmer Wheels have made it so simple to keep your Gliders nails trimmed that other methods have become obsolete.
Sugar gliders are very clean animals and will often sneeze or spit on their hands and then groom themselves. Sugar gliders are able to handle and grasp objects due to their opposable thumbs. The thumbs of their backhands do not have nails.
One of the most distinguishing attributes of a sugar glider is its ability to glide long distances. If it begins high enough it has been reports that a sugar glider can glide up to 150 feet. They are able to go this because of their patagium, commonly called gliding membrane. This is a section of fur-covered skin that stretches from the front wrist to the rear wrist on each side. When the arms are extended, the pataguims, stretch out to provide a large surface area for gliding. Leashes and harnesses can damage the thin skin of the patagium.
Beside the patagium, a sugar glider uses its tail for steering during gliding. Their long tail can also curl around and carry objects, but it is not strong enough to support their own weight so they are unable to hang their tail. Serious injury may occur is a sugar glider is caught or pulled by its tail.
Sugar gliders. Have a beautiful coat of short, soft fur. When healthy, it is smooth and shiny and does not require brushing. Coat color is typically shades of gray with light underbelly and dark stripe from the head to the base of the tail. Uncommon color variations and stripe patterns are increasing with selective breeding. Sugar gilders can now be found in shades of black, cream and white with alterations in stripes or no stripe at all. You can view much more information about Sugar glider care from the Free Glider Guides listed at Exotic Nutrition.