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!

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)

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