A Day in the Life of a Zookeeper

A Day in the Life of a Zookeeper
Ever wonder what its like to share your world with a bunch of crazy critters? Tune in to find out!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Month in Review - June

Can you believe another month has passed us by?  Where does the time go?

June was a pretty uneventful critter month - we like that!

Nigel - he continues to do well - his skin issues appear to have gone away and we have started back on a bath routine - once every 3 weeks or so.  We continue to make progress on tameness and we are spending lots of time each day outside of the cage.

Clooney - the little ferret continues to entertain.  He becomes more and more affectionate each day spending time curled up with his humans getting pets.  He is such a sweet boy.  Nothing exciting (which with a ferret would equate to an emergency) to report for him this month.

Phoebe - she continues to be in her naughty phase - pushing the limits to see how far she can go.  I have noticed that she is becoming more of a lap cat - spending time laying on me each day.  She continues to try to be the boss of the house, playing lots with Oliver and Clooney and tattling on her other siblings.  Still no love for the Aggie cat - sigh - maybe someday.

Oliver - Mr Ornery did not disappoint this month - geez.  He does keep us on our toes.  He is affectionate in addition to ornery and he is so darn cute that you can't stay mad at him.  He has had a pretty good month.  No major time outs required.

Zoey - she seems to have gotten past her extreme clingy phase from last month - thank goodness.  She is spending lots of time with us but not requiring being on us - its all good.

Aggie - continues to engage more and more with us and the other critters.  She is doing very well - no complaints here.

And last but certainly not least - the Divine Miss Em - she has had a busy month.  She sadly said goodbye to Quincy my parents dog as they hit the road in their RV.  She has spent a good bit of time outside this month - playing on the porch with her siblings, playing in the yard with a toy, etc.  She is still doing well with not running off - we will keep working on it.

Healthy and happy - that's the way we like it around here.  I can't believe we are heading into July - CRAZY!!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Splish Splash I Was Taking a Bath

Last night Nigel was too funny.  It was bath time so I put a couple of inches of water in the tub with the colloidal oatmeal.  I put him in to play and then decided that I would clean off his big blue wheel as well.  Nigel is usually very shy about running on his wheel when anyone is around - but last night he cracked me up.  I held the wheel but the base and dipped the top in the water.  When the little guy saw this he immediately ran over and got in his wheel and started running, splashing water everywhere.  He thought this was much fun!

I got the rag out and started scrubbing, all the while he was grabbing the rag in his mouth and playing tug of war.  Once I was done scrubbing I dipped the top of the wheel in the water and back into the wheel he went to help me rinse.  He had a blast!  He's almost as funny as Clooney when he makes the bed!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Monday, June 27, 2011

Happy As Clams

It seems that for the last few days my little ones are happier than normal - not sure why but this makes me happy! 

Seems as though the naughtiness factor has abated a bit - boy kitty has been on good behavior, Phoebe has moved out of her naughty phase and other than a box of elbow pasta spread ALL OVER the kitchen floor by Mr Ferret - Clooney has been on good behavior as well.

Aggie and Zoey seem to be content and doing well.  Emma has been great - doing well with going outside with no leash and scratching less at the carpet - which is good for her health and mine!  Nigel the hedgehog seems to be in a fantastic mood these days as well.  No huffing when we get him out of the cage, content to hang out with you and get pets.  Not sure what changed but the last few days have been super critter days.....

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Easy like Sunday Morning....

So here we are, Sunday morning....cuddled in the bed with the hubs, 3 cats, 1 dog and 1 ferret.  Nigel is snoozing in his cage after running on his wheel all night.  Aggie is downstairs sleeping on the red fuzzy - she is the loner of the group for sure.

I love waking up with critters in the bed, trying to figure out how to extricate myself without waking the household.  I also love that Clooney has been going through such a lovey phase for the past few months.  He crawls up on the bed and lays with you for a long time and gets pets and gives kisses.

Emma comes up to get loves from her dad - they really do have a special thing going.  Phoebe lays on my legs, Ollie flops down between us - its a love fest.  I love easy, slow mornings where we all take a minute before we get our day going....

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Clooney the beggar

Clooney gets 2 "treats" every day.  One of these is truly a treat - a rawhide stick.  They come in a hot pink bag with a zip top.  He knows what they look like and where they are kept.  If you venture to that area of the kitchen for anything he is convinced that you are going to get him his treats.  When you hand him the stick he takes it in his mouth and then goes to one of two places to eat it.  Most often he goes into the laundry room on the rug and lays in there to munch his stick.  There are times when all the critter siblings are around when he feels like someone might take his stick so he uses his head to open the lazy susan cabinet door and climbs in there to eat it where its safe.  Not sure why he thinks he has to protect his treat - its not like anyone has ever stolen his stick.

Ferretone is the other "treat" - its actually something he needs daily.  I guess in the wild ferrets live in burrows.  The act of going in and out of the burrow stimulates the glands in his skin to produce oil which keep his skin moist and I would imagine, makes him somewhat waterproof.  Since he lives inside this doesn't happen so we give him the Ferretone as a supplement.  Its a liquid and Clooney loves it.  Unfortunately - Oliver loves it too so you have to monitor so the boy kitty doesn't steal it.

There are lots of things in the cabinet where his treats are kept and when you open - little ferret is right there - looking up at you with giant brown ferret eyes - begging for his treats.....

Friday, June 24, 2011

Playing in the Big Bed

The little hedgie LOVES playing in our bed.  If you catch him late evening - say around 10 pm - when he is most active he will provide an hour or so of entertainment for you and the other critters.  Last night I let him play and he explored the following:

1.  He checked out all the different levels of covers - his blankets, the comforter, blanket 1, blanket 2 and under the sheet
2.  He tortured the cats by running into them while checking out the different levels of covers
3.  He explored the pillows - over them, under them and into each of the cases
4.  Last night a new hedgehog trick - entering my t-shirt at the waist (I was laying on the bed watching TV) and going straight through to exit at the neck - quite amusing but a bit pokey - he found this quite fun - I bet he did this 10 times

The trick is turning off the lights - TV is fine but too much light makes him think its sleepy time.  Have I mentioned how cute he is?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Hit By A Bus Series - Post 2

Clooney is the focus for this Hit By A Bus post.  He doesn't require too much care.  The big thing is keeping him out of things he should not be into.

Food - Clooney eats the cat food mostly and occasionally snacks on dog food.  Both are approved diets by the vet.  He requires a supplement that helps with dry skin - its called Ferretone and he loves it.  He thinks its a treat. I give him a puddle squirted on the kitchen floor every day - probably about a tablespoon.  As far as treats go - he also gets 1 stick each day.  These are small rawhide ferret chews and he loves them.  They can be purchased online or at pet smart.

Its really important to make sure he has access to water at all times - his metabolism is fast!

Clooney will sleep about 18 hours a day.  He gets picked up and loved on multiple times a day and he needs the interaction with his humans to be happy.  He is a poopy little creature and clean up is required at times for accidents that happen.

He has a toy - it is a stuffed cow and he loves it.  He has had it since his first day with me and if something happened to me - he needs his cow.  I wish whomever has to look for it - lots of luck - start in the office room, then the master closet, if still no - then under the bonus room couch - then after that - all bets are off.

Sometimes he is hard to find - using a paper or plastic bag and making lots of noise with it will usually get him to come out.  He is pretty good about coming when he is called.

He loves Oliver and the two of them should not be separated.  They play often and rough - Oliver does get irritated and will pick Clooney up by the scruff.  I don't let him do this because I am worried he will hurt the ferret so prepare to holler at the boy kitty.

Clooney loves granola bars, cereal bars and fig newtons - non of which he should be allowed to have.  He will steal candy - not great for him.  He is a hoarder and will steal small items.

Sometimes Clooney gets a hair ball and hacks - I give him a small 1 inch ribbon on honey on my finger for this - he loves it.  Honey has a natural antihistamine and fixes him right up.  This should be used very sparingly as ferrets  can develop diabetes - known as insulinoma.

Vet visits - 1 - 2 times a year.  Emergency visits sometimes necessary  based on dietary indiscretion like red licorice.

He does need toenail trims every 3 - 4 weeks.  Nigel needs his toes cut as well - I don't think I put that in his post.  Clooney has not been bathed in forever - he doesn't really need it unless he gets into something and it dries his skin so I try to only do this on an as needed basis.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Nigel the hunky hedgehog

Well what can I say - handsome was already taken so hunky it is.  He is just the cutest - I took these shots right after he had his bath:

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Hit By A Bus Series - Post 1

The thought has occurred to me - what if I was hit by a bus?  Abducted by aliens?  Or somehow unable to care for the critters - who would know what to do?  The hubs would have a pretty good idea but he probably doesn't know everything as I am the primary care giver for the zoo.  So - I thought I would document this in a series of posts over the next couple of weeks - 4 of them to be exact - one for Emma, one for the kitties, one for Clooney and this one for Nigel:

Food - Nigel eats high quality ferret food.  He will eat cat food as well.  He also has hedgehog food that he hates but I keep it in his bowl anyway.  He also gets worms daily - either flash frozen or live meal worms.  Worms have to be bought from a pet store because those not bred for pet consumption can have pesticides that can make him sick.

Cage - he loves his cage.  I clean his blankets weekly, wipe down his wheel daily, change his water every couple of days.  He likes it set up the same way every time.  I change his box every week. Only use the Yesterday's News litter - cat litter he will eat and it will make him sick. He is quite content to be in his cage all the time - I try to get him out for several hours each day.  Heater is important - 75 degrees or higher in the room where he sleeps.  He needs natural or artificial light during the day and dark at night or his sleep schedule gets outta whack.

Play time - he likes to be covered up most of the time.  He plays in the bonus room where he can't get out due to the step up. He likes to sleep under the small cheetah print rug in the bonus room as well as under the tv cabinet. His spongebob blankets are his favorite.

Temperature is important - he has to be warm or he can go into hibernation - he has 3 space heaters....they should be in his play room as well as in his sleeping room.

Vet visits - every six months is important given that his life expectancy isn't all that long - you have to catch things early.

He can be huffy and roll up in a ball - but you can't let him dictate when he gets handled.  He needs interaction every day.

He has no concept of heights so you have to be careful when you have him on the couch or other high places.

His skin can give him troubles - you must keep an eye on it.  If you flip him on his back he will roll up - but once he starts to wiggle and unroll you can see his belly - look for red spots.  Vet visit should happen if you see any.

Baths - he will get poopy feet running on his wheel - a foot bath in the sink can happen if necessary.  Just a quick wade through the water - he is pretty good about you washing his feet.  These are as needed.  Full blown baths - he likes the big tub.  Warm water with colloidal oatmeal (1/2 pkg).  Water in a cup poured over his back - not ears or face.  When he is ready to get out - rinse him with warm tap water to prevent any skin reactions.  Dry him in a towel and make sure he is not anywhere that he can get a draft and catch a chill.

Diseases - hedgies can be obese - if he can't roll into a ball he is too fat.  They also can get wobbly hedgehog syndrome (WHS) which is like MS in humans.  If he is staggering when he runs around - immediate trip to the vet.

He does have pet insurance through VPI (petinsurance.com)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Phoebe the Beautiful

Trying to get a photo layout of each baby on the blog this month - so far I have featured Clooney and Oliver.  Now it's Phoebe's turn - my beautiful girl:

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Day in the Life of Miss Aggie

My sweet shy Agatha - she likes to hang back and not be in the thick of the action that happens in the household.  Aggie gets along best with Zoey - the two of them spend a good amount of time together snoozing and bathing.  She gets along fine with Oliver but he insists on chasing her and generally aggravating her so they don't have much together time - they are true siblings who quibble.  She and Phoebe - well - hmmm - lets just say they are not at the top of each others lists of favorites.  They fight - lots.  Emma loves the Aggs but Aggie is intimidated by the exuberance of the dog.  Clooney wants to be friends - some days are better than others.  Nigel is pretty much indifferent.

A day for Aggie looks something like this -

Wait for the family to wake up and come downstairs.  She prefers to sleep where its quiet and she can be alone so she almost always sleeps on the loveseat in the living room curled up on her red fuzzy.
Once everyone is up she usually finds a place to observe from - she is the watcher of the family - rarely taking part in the chaos that is created with the other six critters.
Pets and treats for her along with the rest of the gang.
She does venture upstairs for visits during the day while I am working.  Some days she will even lay in my lap.
She is shy about playing with toys in front of anyone - but I know she does play because stuff is in a different spot and everyone else is upstairs with me.
She comes upstairs to hang out with us in the evenings and visits us before bed coming up for some pets.
Then back downstairs to her fuzzy.

She is a very low maintenance cat - independent and at times a bit aloof.  We love you Aggie.....

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Playtime, No Bathtime, No Playtime

Phoebe and Oliver spend lots of time each day playing - they have a special bond.  They wrestle, bite on each other, smack each other, chase each other and take bath time intermissions in between.  They truly do love each other.  (see hubby - when I said we got Phoebe for Ollie I wasn't fibbing)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Our Sensitive Babies

My little one's are so in tune with the humans in their lives.  They really pick up on any sort of stress in the household.  They are also very intuitive when their humans are not feeling well.

Phoebe is very sensitive to loud, animated conversations.  She assumes she is in trouble and runs and hides.  Clooney flops down on the floor in pout mode when he thinks he is in trouble.  All of them kind of keep their distance if they sense that one of us is angry.

If we are sick - that's a different story.  They are all right there - glued to you.  This is actually quite comforting - except in the case of Clooney - whom we have to be very careful with as he can actually catch flu and cold from us so there is no ferret loves when one of us is under the weather.  Thankfully - neither of us get sick very often so its not a major issue.

Its interesting to watch them respond to the tone in the household.....

Thursday, June 16, 2011

My Handsome Boy Kitty

Oliver the handsome boy - I usually post about his ornery-ness - thought I would focus on his handsome-ness today....