Exotic Animal Husbandry
Introduction: Different exotic animals in different taxonomic groups may require different accommodation and requirements from that accommodation. These will be met by obeying to animal welfare laws and conventions. Housing objectives: The housing objectives for a sugar glider would be - to replicate their natural habitat as much as possible. They would need safe places to sleep but at the same time large amounts of room to be active in. They would also need places where they can jump and climb due to the fact that they are tree dwelling animals’ and can climb almost anything. Other housing objectives would be to stop escapes, place to feed them, easy transport and easy access to the animal. The housing objectives for a corn snake would be - to replicate their natural habitat as much as possible. They would need appropriate heating as reptiles do not make their own body heat (ectothermic). They will also need a hide of some sort as this will give the snake a feeling of security. Other housing objectives would be to stop escapes, place to feed them, easy transport and easy access to the animal. Housing/accommodation set up: Sugar glider - the sugar gliders cage must be placed in a shadowed corner of a room which is reasonably quiet during the day. The temperature must be kept between 65°F and 85°F at all times otherwise the sugar gliders may go into an osmotic state (hibernation) and may die as a consequence. A suitable cage must be as tall as possible (at least 4ft high) and should be made from plastic coated wire with bars no more than 1/4" apart. This is due to the fact they can squeeze through very small cage bars. If you cannot get a cage which is specifically designed for sugar gliders then bird aviaries are an ideal alternative as long as they are tall. For example, a cage which measures 3ft x 3ft x 5ft is suitable for housing up to four adults. Cages must always be made of coated wire, as uncoated and galvanised wire can be toxic and cause injury to the sugar gliders feet. Aquariums should never be used as they are generally too small and make it impossible for sugar gliders to climb up the sides of the cage. The base of the cage should be lined with either dried corn-cob or non-cedar bark chips (cedar wood is poisonous to gliders). Sand should never be used as it irritates their ears and eyes. You will need to provide the sugar gliders with somewhere to sleep which is warm and out of direct light. Some people use fabric pouches which can be purchased from some exotic pet suppliers. Although gliders keep their nest areas very clean, if you choose to use a pouch, it will need to be washed at regular intervals. Hang the pouch as high up as possible in the cage to ensure that the sugar gliders feel safe while they are asleep. If preferable, a wooden nest box can be used in place of a pouch. It needs to be placed as high up in the cage as possible and have a small access hole in the side around 45cm in diameter. Nesting materials will also need to be provided - paper bedding works quite well as long as it is not printed or bleached. Natural fibre bedding can also be used but not when there are young sugar gliders in the nest as they can easily become tangled in it and damage their limbs. For environmental enrichment, things can be placed in the cage to keep the sugar gliders mentally stimulated. This can include - boxes, tubes, hanging items, hammocks, toys and supervised exploration outside of their accommodation. Corn snake - For a hatchling, a 24L X 24H X 18D inch vivarium is fine but a 36L X 24H X 18D would carry it through to adulthood, but these sizes are the minimum so the bigger the better. Make sure you have a secure cage, as they are extremely good escape artists. As with most snakes, have an under tank-heating pad on one end of the tank to provide the snake with a warm and cool selection as they do not make their own body heat. For the substrate, birch wood chips are...
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