Incredibly there are over 5,500 species of small mammal, over 9,000 species of reptile and over 10,000 species of bird in the world. Mercifully in small animal practice at Lanes Vets we are presented with only roughly 10% of these!
Exotic pet ownership has dramatically increased in recent years and, as a practice, we aim to keep pace with this, ensuring that we have vets and nurses with a keen interest in exotics in place to care for them.
In fact the top 8 out of 10 most commonly kept pets in the UK are classed as exotic:
Top Ten Pets (2013)
1. Fish kept in tanks: 20 – 25 million (9% of households)
2. Fish kept in ponds: 20 – 25 million (6% of households)
3. Dogs: 8.5 million (25% of households)
4. Cats: 8.5 million (19% of households)
5. Rabbits: 1 million (3% of households)
6. Caged birds: 1 million (1.9% of households)
7. Domestic fowl: 1 million (0.9% of households)
8. Guinea Pigs: Half a million (0.6% of households)
9. Hamsters: Half a million (1.5% of households)
10. Horses and ponies: 400,000 (1.1% of households)
Reptile keeping has certainly increased in popularity and for the enthusiast this may encompass several commonly kept species, varying greatly in their specific needs. Snakes, Lizards and Tortoises are widely cared for but by not providing the correct diet and environment may lead to many serious health complications.
Correct temperature, UV exposure and humidity are vital aspects in ensuring the well being of cold blooded reptiles. These environmental requirements have a direct impact on their metabolism, growth and over all state of health.
Hibernation is a common feature in most tortoise’s calenders! This has to be carefully planned and worked towards throughout the year to safeguard the tortoise’s health both during and after hibernation.
Did You Know?
More people in America die every year from bee stings than from snake bites.
Bird keeping varies enormously throughout the UK, from small finches to large Macaws. Parrots, poultry, aviary birds, cage birds and birds of prey are commonly kept in approximately 3% of all households in Britain.
Their needs vary greatly and again diet is predominantly the most common factor predisposing these birds to disease and ill health. Most small species of bird are relatively low maintenance and provide excellent companionship.
Parrots are certainly more intensive due to their level of intelligence and their need for consistent stimulation. All birds should be provided adequate space to allow flight, should be offered a balanced diet appropriate to their feeding requirements, given purpose manufactured bird toys and provided with adequate environmental stimulation.
As with any exotic species, they should be properly researched before considering offering a home.
Poultry keeping has also seen a massive increase in recent years, the previous marked boom in popularity was last seen during World War I and World War II!
Did You Know?
The Hummingbird is the only species of bird in the world that can fly backwards!