Meet lots of interesting Small Animals

Cavies

Guinea PigCome and talk to me and I'll talk to you! I am very vocal and squeak a lot - but very chatty and I have lots to say. I am cute and cuddly and with my little waddly way of walking - simply adorable! Oh and by the way guinea pig is the more common term for Cavy! Either way I am gorgeous!

History of the Cavy:

Cavies originate from South America where the Incas used to breed them for food. People in Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia still keep Cavies.

The Spanish introduced Cavies to Europe in the 16th Century after they conquered the Incas.

Wild populations of Cavies still exist in South America in a range of habitats including grassland, swamps, forest and rocky areas.

Cavies have the Latin name "Cavia porcellus" which means "Pig-like Cavy"

Cavy Facts:

Latin Name:
Cavia porcellus
Male:
Boar
Female:
Sow
Young:
Pups
Life Span:
Up to 8 years
Litter Size:
Up to 6 pups
Birth Weight:
70-100gms
Eyes Open:
at birth
Gestation Period:
9-10 weeks
Average Weight:
Male 750-1500gms
Female 750–1500gms
Sexual Maturity:
5-10 weeks
Weaning Age:
4-5 weeks
Diet:
Herbivorous

Gerbils

GerbilI am incredibly sociable! I love being with my friends more than anything in the world and I love my humans too. I have powerful back legs and can run very fast - so am very entertaining! We gerbils communicate by kissing each other - so if you are looking for some love - we gerbils are for you.

History of the Gerbil:

In the wild, Mongolian Gerbils live in semi desert where there is sparse vegetation, low rainfall and temperatures that fluctuate enormously between summer and winter, and day and night.

The survival of Gerbils is down to their burrowing instincts. Burrowing allows them to protect themselves from the extremes in temperature as well as predators. Under the soil, the temperature in the burrow remains constant at about 18C.

Gerbil burrows in the wild are a complex array of tunnels, with nests and food storage chambers which allow the gerbil to stay underground for long periods of time.

The Gerbil species has evolved to need only limited food and water. Their long hind legs allow them to cover large distances in a harsh habitat in order to collect food. In addition, their bodies require little water as they do not sweat and they re-absorb their liquid intake producing highly concentrated urine and dry faeces.

Their highly inquisitive nature means that they can take advantage of any available food source and also enjoy a varied diet.

The Latin name for Gerbils is "meriones unguiculatus" which means "clawed warrior".

Gerbil Facts:

Latin Name:
Meriones unguliculatus
Male:
No actual recognised term
Female:
No actual recognised term
Young:
Pups
Life Span:
Up to 5 years
Litter Size:
Up to 8 pups
Birth Weight:
1-3gms
Eyes Open:
17 days
Gestation Period:
24-26 days, however Gerbils can delay implantation so that Gestation is 42 days
Average Weight:
Male 100-140gms; Female 80-100gms
Sexual Maturity:
10-12 weeks, exceptionally they can be fertile at 8 weeks, but this is very rare
Weaning Age:
21-24 days
Diet:
Omnivorous

Hamsters

HamsterDid you know there are lots of different types of me? Syrians and Dwarfs are the most well known but there are lots of others too and we'll all be here - sweet little bundles of feisty fun in every colour you can imagine!

History of the Hamster:

Hamsters belong to the rodent family. The name "Hamster" is derived from the German word "hamstern" which means "to hoard". Wild Hamsters live in hot areas of Central Asia. To avoid the heat of the day Hamsters live in burrows and are nocturnal.

In the cool of the evening and during the night Hamsters will search for food - and can travel up to 8 miles in one night. They collect food in their cheek pouches and return to their burrows and empty the cheek pouches into their food store. They are able to carry up to half their body weight in their pouches.

Hamster Facts:

Latin Name:
Mesocricetus auratus (Syrian Hamster)
Male:
Buck
Female:
Doe
Young:
Pups
Life Span:
Up to 3 years
Litter Size:
Up to 20 pups
Birth Weight:
2-5gms
Eyes Open:
14 days
Gestation Period:
16 days
Average Weight:
Male 85-250gms*
Female 95-280gms*
(*variable on breed of hamster)
Sexual Maturity:
Male 4 weeks
Female 4-6 weeks, but should not bred before 16 weeks
Weaning Age:
4 weeks
Diet:
Omnivorous

Mice

MouseI am not just a mini rat thank you very much (although we are similar in some ways)! I might be small but I have big opinions and am very smart with bags of personality. Don't be fooled by the cute twitchy nose and big black eyes - I can also be quite cheeky - but my antics provide lots of entertainment!

History of the Mouse:

Mice originated in Asia and spread through Europe many centuries ago. In the 1500s, mice arrived on the ships of the explorers in what is now Florida and Latin America. They quickly spread to the northern shores of North America along with the English and French explorers, traders and colonists.

Fancy mice are descended from the common House Mouse.

The word Mouse comes from an ancient Sanskrit word meaning "thief".

Mouse Facts:

Latin Name:
Mus musculus (House Mouse)
Male:
Buck
Female:
Doe
Young:
Pups
Life Span:
Up to 2 years
Litter Size:
Up to 12 pups
Birth Weight:
1-2gms
Eyes Open:
10 days
Gestation Period:
18-21 days
Average Weight:
40-60gms
Sexual Maturity:
Male/Female 4-5 weeks
Weaning Age:
4 weeks
Diet:
Omnivorous

Rabbits

RabbitYou simply can't miss me! there are 60 different varieties, shapes, sizes and colours of me - everything from British Giants, tiny Dwarfs, lop ears, pointy ears, long haired, short haired and everything in between! the one thing we all have in common, however, is that we are unbelievably soft and furry, with long whiskers, big ears, bob tails and cheeky personalities!

History of the Rabbit:

Originally the European Rabbit was found in the regions of Spain, Portugal and North West Africa. They were wild animals. Rabbits were introduced to England in the 11th Century and used for sport, meat and, in some cases, fur (such as the Angora Rabbits whose fur was spun for wool). Along the way, the process of domestication began by keeping Rabbits in hutches for breeding and meat production.

Rabbits were then bred for colour and also to partake in friendly competitions. By the 19th century Rabbits had become pets. The first true "Fancy" breed was the English Lop; this was followed by the English and the Angora.

Specialist Breed Clubs began to spring up with Rabbit Fanciers "showing" their new breeds. This is now a very popular pastime world wide.

The Latin name for Rabbits is "Oryctolagus cuniculus". Oryct is Greek for digger, lag is Greek for Hare and cunniculus is Latin for burrowing.

Rabbit Facts:

Latin Name:
Oryctolagus cuniculus
Male:
Buck
Female:
Doe
Young:
Kittens
Life Span:
up to 8 years
Litter Size:
up to 12 kittens
Birth Weight:
30-80gms
Eyes Open:
10 days
Gestation Period:
30-33 days
Average Weight:
Male 1-5 kg; Female 1-8 kg
Sexual Maturity:
16-24 weeks
Weaning Age:
4-7 weeks
Diet:
Herbivorous

Rats

RatI believe I am the most intelligent creature of all the small furries. I answer to my name and can even do tricks if I feel like it. Us rats have had some bad press in the past - but if you come and meet me you'll see that I'm completely different. I am a fancy rat and come in lots of pretty colours, and you will find I am surprisingly soft! Come on I challenge you! I promise you'll fall in love with me!

History of the Rat:

Rats belong to the rodent family. There are over 80 different species of Rat throughout the world. The most common, Black and Brown Rats (Rattus rattus and Rattus norvegicus respectively), are thought to have originated from Asia and managed to stow away in merchant ships and other means of transport, which carried them across the world.

It is thought that the Black Rat (Rattus rattus) reached Europe in the 4th Century and caused outbreaks of the Plague in the 6th and 7th Centuries. The famous spread of the Black Death (or Bubonic Plague) in the 1300s earned the Rat its undeserved unsavoury reputation - the Rats were merely the hosts of the fleas that actually spread the disease.

However, it is the domesticated Brown Rat (Rattus norvegicus) that has escalated via colour mutations in the 1800s to find a place as an attractive, intelligent companion and fancy animal.

Pet Rats are the most intelligent, affectionate and responsive of the small rodents and make good pets for children, under close supervision by responsible adults. Rats are social animals and are much happier when kept in single sex pairs, rather than on their own. Both sexes make equally good pets.

Rats should be kept in as large a cage as possible, and be allowed out to explore, and enjoy human company, every day. Cages should be kept out of direct sunlight and draughts, and should be cleaned out at least once a week. They should be fed a staple diet of Rat or Rabbit mix, with the addition of dog biscuits, pasta, table scraps, cereals, fresh fruit and vegetables in moderation. Fresh water should be available at all times.

The Latin name Rattus Norvegicus means Norwegian Rat (now known as the Brown Rat)

Rat Facts:

Latin Name:
Rattus norvegicus (Brown or Norwegian Rat)
Male:
Buck
Female:
Doe
Young:
Kittens
Life Span:
Approximately 2 years
Litter Size:
Up to 22 kittens
Birth Weight:
5-7gms
Eyes Open:
14 days
Gestation Period:
23 days
Average Weight:
Male 500-800gms; Female 300-500gms
Sexual Maturity:
7-8 weeks
Weaning Age:
4-5 weeks
Diet:
Omnivorous