Pop goes the weasel!

We have an adorable, friendly, pettable young ferret who has just come in to the store. This is a sable ferret, the dark-coated, dark-eyed variety rather than the albino or any of the more obscure colours. He’s obviously been gently handled because he’s very sweet and tame.

Almost all ferrets in the pet trade are neutered within a few weeks of birth. A ferret can live as long as 12-13 years with good care. They’re a hardy, friendly pet, sleeping about 19 hours a day and fitting an entire twenty-four hours’ worth of energy into the remaining five. A ferret should have a secure sleeping place, such as a cage, so that he doesn’t take off and find his own corner in which to hide and drive you crazy trying to find him. An adult ferret can fit through a 1″ x 2″ hole, so that corner could be just about anywhere!

There are specially formulated ferret foods for these critters, and a high-quality kitten food is also an option.

Ferrets and lizards and snakes, oh, my!

Yesterday we drove down to Sudbury to pick up an order of reptiles and four baby ferrets. The ferrets are all neutered and come with a certificate of health.

David and I used to breed ferrets, although we haven’t had any of our own now for close to fifteen years. Sky had never been as close to one as she was to the four in the cat carrier on the way home. Perhaps that’s one reason why she was so eager to be in the lap of the person in the passenger seat!

Spook, my orange cat, was also not impressed. “There are weasels in my house!” he said. He wasn’t really happy until they left with David this morning. Even now he’s still being a clingy cat.

The reptiles are gorgeous – a sunbeam snake, a red-tailed green rat snake,  a pipe snake, a Fischer’s chameleon, a sailfin dragon and a water monitor. We also got a few more whiptail scorpions, which are not scorpions, but get the name because of the way they look. These are really cool, interesting non-venomous arthropods.

This is the pipe snake. It’s about 12-14″ long right now. Our supplier had some together in one container and said one of them tried to eat another. We’re offering earthworms, as long, thin things seem to trigger the impulse to eat. There’s an orange spot on the nose, and another on the tail, which is blunt and rounded, rather than tapering. The pipe snake doesn’t want you to know which end is which!

The red-tailed green rat snake is about three feet long. We always figured this animal was named by someone who’d been in the rainforest so long that anything that wasn’t actually green looked like red to them. The tail-tip is really a warm grey colour, and the forked tongue is blue. These snakes put out their tongues and do a slow flicker, rather than a fast one, which is quite unusual.

The Fischer’s chameleon is in very good shape, plump and active.

The sailfin dragon is rather like a Chinese water dragon in terms of care and feeding – this one is skittish and will nerd gentling.

The water monitor is quite calm. He’s fairly small right now, perhaps 12″ nose-to-vent, but he’s going to be seven to nine feet long when full-grown and he’ll need a lot of heat. 

And here’s a picture of the whiptail scorpion.

The ones we now have are rather small, but they’ll grow.

The reptile section is looking a lot better than it has at any time since we moved. Things are coming along. And, oh, yes, we do have crickets again. Right now we’re limiting the numbers people can buy just so we can make them last. With any luck at all, the cricket situation will be back to normal in a few months.

And, just because I now have it, here’s a picture of the pygmy chameleon!

Welcome to the Hotel Animalia

One of the things we started early on in the life of the store was a boarding service. Several customers complained that if they went away, there was nobody reliable to take care of their bird, ferret, or – surprise – snake.
We said, “We can do that!”
We don’t board cats or dogs, but we’ve had snakes, lizards, birds, rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs and fish. Yes, fish!

A gentleman came into the store a few years ago and announced that he had three discus which he’d owned for five years. He had to go to Europe on business, and he didn’t trust any of his family to be able to care for the fish. Would we do it?

We cleared a tank for his fish. Discus are a South American cichlid, and as adults they can be six, sometimes even eight, inches across. These three were almost five inches across, and beautifully marked. For two months we kept them, checking their pH daily.
Daily, and several times daily, we also had to tell people that they weren’t for sale. It’s the “instant gratification” gene – instead of buying a toonie-sized discus and raising it to adult size, people like to have the adult ones now.

We could have sold those fish ten times over in the time we had them. But we resisted, oh, yes. Their owner was delighted to find them alive and happy when he returned, and they’re still occasionally guests at the “Hotel Animalia”.

Other regulars are Kivi, a Senegal parrot, April, a sweet and gentle rabbit, and Eragon, a bearded dragon. Once or twice we also kept Cato, a Congo African Grey, whose vocabulary and obvious intelligence were impressive.

Oh, and you can check out any time you like.
But you’ll be back.