Posted on 14th March 2013 by Media Relations
Carnivore Keeper Deb has come up with a list of tips and tricks to make sure the smallest member of the family is heard and understood. This month our pet enrichment focus is on birds, rats, mice and rabbits.BirdsThere are a huge variety of birds available as pets. Some of the best enrichment tools you could use with your pet bird would be fruit and veggie skewers, leaf litter or mulch pile, shellgrit or coarse sand, small boxes to hide food inside, native plant branches, dried fruit/nuts/berries, sprouted seeds. Budgies love perching on different branches as it enables them to use different leg muscles. This is a great form of enrichment for them. These are all great training incentives to teach your pet bird to speak or do tricks. Obviously the size or species of the bird you have will dictate the size and type of food given.Rats and MiceRats and mice are known for their intelligence and curiosity. It is important to stimulate these masterminds through a number of activities in their home.Tunnels made from PVC, paper towel or toilet roll inserts, a running wheel, nylabones or gumabones for chewing or gnawing, non toxic wood chews , peanut better smears, toilet paper, small cat toys to push or carry, are all great ideas to keep these busy bodies entertained. Try straw or sisal for bedding and hiding or scattering food around in their homes instead of a bowl of food to make sure your long tailed friends are feeding their inquisitive minds at the same time.RabbitsThese furry friends love adventure in their early years. This means that rabbits enjoy access to fresh grass, ability to safely roam a yard area, hiding places and platforms, straw, plastic cat toys, positive interactions with other rabbits, metal slinkies/non toxic plastic baby toys, wicker/straw balls, fresh/dried herbs, paper bags with food inside, hollow logs and cardboard boxes with holes for your rabbit to enter.How will you know whether your bunny is enjoying the treats or activities? Rabbits click their teeth when they are happy and tend to lick and nibble their owner when they are happy. Just like with our dogs and cats, any first-time enrichment items need to be monitored with your pet. We would LOVE to hear back from you to see what fantastic reactions you achieved from using any of these enrichment suggestions. Post your photo and ideas to the Taronga Zoo Facebook page. Until next time,DebCarnivore keeperAnimal Training You may have seen a seal clap, but do you know how it was trained? This training course gives you the opportunity to go behind the scenes to learn the tricks of the trade.