Adventist Youth Honors Answer Book/Nature/Small Mammal Pets

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Small Mammal Pets
General Conference
Skill Level 2
Year of Introduction: 1997

1. Have the Mammal Honor.[edit | edit source]

Instructions and tips for earning the Mammals honor can be found in the Nature chapter.

2. Keep a small mammal pet for at least six months. (Dogs and cats are not included as small mammal pets.) For a suggested list of pets to choose from, see #5 below.[edit | edit source]

Keeping a pet represents a tremendous commitment on the part of the owner. Pets rely on their owners for their most basic needs, and if the owner is neglectful, or "just doesn't feel like" taking care of the animal, it will suffer. Some small mammal pets have a lifespan of only a couple of years, which is fairly short as compared to other pets. Because of the limited lifespan, a small mammal as a first pet would be a good choice for a parent to test a child's commitment. However, that should not relieve a child (or any pet owner) of responsibly caring for the animal.

If you realistically believe you can make a multi-year commitment to a small mammal pet, then you should go for it. Having a pet is not only an enjoyable experience, it may help you grow as a person.

3. Complete one of the following: a. If you currently have a small mammal pet, keep a record of the care for your small mammal for one month. Include in your record when it is watered, fed, and when its cage is cleaned. b. If you do not currently have a small mammal pet, but you have kept one for at least six months, “babysit” someone else’s small mammal pet for at least one week. Record the care that was required.[edit | edit source]

There are a variety of ways to keep such records, from using a simple spiral notebook and a pen, to using a spreadsheet on a computer, or even a blog. Choose the method that is easiest for you, and set a time that you will be able to devote attention to it every day.

4. Give an oral report (at least 3 minutes) on what you have observed about your small mammal pet. Include favorite foods, some of its habits, when it is most active, and favorite story about pet, etc.[edit | edit source]

This report could be given during Sabbath School, during club worship, or told as a children's story during church. It can also be given to your unit during a club meeting. Use the records kept in the previous requirement to help you prepare. Three minutes is not a very long report, so do not let that make you nervous. Once you start talking about your pet, the three minutes will pass before yo uknow it.

5. a. Be able to distinguish between the following groups of small mammal pets[edit | edit source]

(1) Hamster[edit | edit source]


Hamsters are stout-bodied, with tails much shorter than body length and have small furry ears, short stocky legs, and wide feet. Their thick, silky fur, which can be long or short, can be black, grey, white, brown, buff, yellow, "sapphire" or red depending on the species, or a mix of any of those colors. Dwarf desert hamsters (genus Phodopus) are the smallest, with bodies 5 to 10 cm (about 2 to 4 inches) long; the largest is the common hamster (Cricetus cricetus), measuring up to 34 cm long, not including a short tail of up to 4 cm. The tail is often difficult to see; usually it is not very long, and on a long haired hamster it is barely visible.

(2) Gerbils[edit | edit source]

Gerbils are typically between six and twelve inches (150 to 300 mm) long, including the tail which makes up approximately one half of their total length. One species however, the Great Gerbil, or Rhombomys opimus, originally native to Turkmenistan, can grow to more than 16 inches (400 mm) in length. It is illegal to purchase, import or keep a gerbil as a pet in the U.S. State of California.

(3) Rats[edit | edit source]

A young pet rat

The length can be up to 25 cm (10 in), with the tail a further 25 cm (10 in), the same length as the body. Adult body weight averages 350 g (12 oz) in males and about 250 g (9 oz) in females, but a very large individual can reach 500 g (18 oz). A rat's tail is for the most part hairless.

(4) Mice[edit | edit source]

A tame, black fancy mouse

Fancy mice is a term to describe mice that have been selectively bred for pet or for show. They can vary greatly in size, from small pet mice that are approximately 16–18 cm (6.3–7.1 in) long from nose to the tip of the tail, to show mice that measure 30 cm (12 in) nose to tail. Pet mice weigh about 25–40 g (0.88–1.4 oz) but large show mice can weigh up to 100 g (3.5 oz).

Human-directed artificial selection in fancy mice has created a variety of colors and patterns. These include black, chocolate, blue, white, cream, lilac, red, fawn, champagne, cinnamon, golden agouti, silver agouti, silver and dove. All mouse standards fall into one of five categories: Selfs (one solid color all over), Tans (mice of one solid color on the top with a tan belly), Marked either in Even or Broken patterns (spotting of a standard color on a base of white) and a miscellaneous category.

(5) Guinea pigs[edit | edit source]

Guinea pigs

Guinea pigs are large for rodents, weighing between 700 and 1200g (1.5-2.5 pounds), and measuring between 20 and 25 cm (8–10 inches) in length. They typically live an average of four to five years, but may live as long as eight years. According to the 2006 Guinness Book of Records the longest living guinea pig survived 14 years, 10.5 months

In Western societies, the guinea pig has enjoyed widespread popularity as a household pet since its introduction by European traders in the 16th century. Their docile nature, their responsiveness to handling and feeding, and the relative ease of caring for them, continue to make the guinea pig a popular pet. Organizations devoted to competitive breeding of guinea pigs have been formed worldwide, and many specialized breeds of guinea pig, with varying coat colors and compositions, are cultivated by breeders.

(6) Chinchillas[edit | edit source]


Chinchillas are rabbit-sized rodents native to the Andes mountains in South America. They have large ears and long, bushy tails.

Domestic chinchillas can be kept as pets. Chinchillas are active at dusk and at dawn. They typically do not like to be disturbed during the day, which may make them less favorable as pets to some people. Chinchillas are naturally very skittish creatures and generally do not like to be held, although they can become very attached to their owners if they grow up without a cage mate. Because of their high-strung disposition, they are not usually considered to be good pets for small children. However, chinchillas can be very friendly animals if sufficiently acclimated to human touch as kits, making them excellent pets for patient owners.

(7) Rabbits[edit | edit source]

A pet rabbit sharing an apple with its owner

A house rabbit is a domestic rabbit kept as a pet for companionship, who lives inside the home with his owners.

(8) Ferrets[edit | edit source]


Domestic ferrets typically have brown, black, white, or mixed fur, have an average length of approximately 20 inches (51 cm) including a 5 inch (13 cm) tail, weigh about 2-4 pounds (1 kg), and have a natural lifespan of 7 to 10 years.

Being so closely related to polecats, ferrets are quite easily able to hybridize with them, and this has occasionally resulted in feral colonies of ferret polecat hybrids that have been perceived to have caused damage to native fauna, perhaps most notably in New Zealand. As a result, some parts of the world have imposed restrictions on the keeping of ferrets.

Note: If the list of domesticated small mammals above are not found in your area you may substitute local domesticated small mammals from your area.

b. Describe the basic care for one of the above list and describe one way the care of another one of the list differs from the one you selected.[edit | edit source]

Ferrets, alone of the animals on this list are carnivores. Because of this their care will differ from that of all the others here. If you selected a ferret, compare its care to any of the others. If you selected something else, compare its care to that of the ferret.

All of these pets need to have a supply of fresh water available to them at all times. Their cages should be kept clean, and they all require daily exercise.

Hamster[edit | edit source]


A hamster's cage should be at least two square feet or larger. All horizontal floor surfaces (including levels) should be solid. The walls and ceiling can be coated wire with a half-inch (or less) spacing between wires. Keep the cage clean!
Aspen wood or paper-based bedding free from scents or oils. Aspen is the only type of wood-chip bedding can be used. Softwoods (pine, cedar, etc) and cat litter should be avoided.

Gerbils[edit | edit source]


Gerbils can be kept in a glass tank such as an aquarium. It should have a wire mesh top, and should allow for five gallons of capacity per gerbil.
As with the hamster, the only safe wood-chip bedding is aspen. Pine and cedar are toxic to these animals.
Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and peanuts are favorites of most gerbils, though they have individual preferences and too many sunflower seeds may result in illness. They also enjoy fruit peels such as orange and banana. In fact, gerbils will eat almost anything; dog biscuits and chews; rat food; rabbit food; guinea pig food; oats; various "special" treats from pet shops, which in fact were not appreciated nearly as much as some parsnip cores. Most weeds dubbed as safe for grazing animals like rabbits or guinea pigs can be eaten by gerbils as well. Pet gerbils will especially enjoy live crickets, grasshoppers, and locusts as food, tearing the insect apart and eating the juicy insides. It is good for you to feed your gerbil vegetables such as celery or carrots or an apple. Take care not to feed them too much of these foods as they contain a lot of moisture and can cause an upset stomach.

Rats[edit | edit source]


Rats do best in wire cages because they enjoy climbing, and the wire offers good ventilation. A cage that is 2’ x 2’ x 2’ will generally do for a pair of rats, but a larger space would be much appreciated. If you plan to keep more than that, you’ll need a larger cage. The floor should be solid. A large, multi-level cage designed for ferrets can also make a great rat home, as can a large aquarium. If you opt for the latter, you’ll need a screen cover to provide ventilation, and will probably need to clean the cage more often to keep odor problems under control.
a bedding of aspen or pelleted recycled paper must be provided. Do not use pine or cedar shavings, which can be harmful to your pets. If you find that your rats like to make nests, provide shredded paper towels or napkins for this purpose.
High-quality rodent chow (called rat blocks) should be available to your pet at all times. You can find this at pet supply stores and feed stores— look for a brand with soymeal as the main ingredient.

Offer small, bite-sized bits of fresh fruits and veggies daily.

>> Recommended: peas, broccoli, carrots, apples, bananas

>> Avoid: chocolate, corn, candy, caffeinated beverages, cheese, sticky foods such as peanut butter

Rats LOVE people food, and you can give yours the occasional table scrap, such as cooked pasta or a bit of pizza crust. Limit treats or you’ll have a fat rat!

A bored rat is an unhappy rat! Provide PVC tubes for your pets to run through, and ladders and tree branches for climbing. Parrot toys, including swings and ropes, are great for rats.

Some rats love exercise wheels. Get one with a solid surface without wire rungs, so your pets’ tails cannot get caught while running. Also, give them appropriate chew toys to help wear down their teeth, which grow continuously.

>> Recommended: unpainted, untreated wood, dog biscuits, safe cardboard and rawhide chews

Mice[edit | edit source]


Glass aquariums or cages with wire bars and plastic flooring, are the most common types of housing. A span between cage bars of less than 9 mm (0.35 in) prevents young mice from attempting to escape by forcing themselves through the bars, where they may get stuck. This can also help prevent predatory pets such as cats from killing and eating the mice.
The best products for in cage bedding are aspen wood shavings or a commercial paper-based material. They should not be given cedar shavings, as the oils in the wood are unhealthy and cause breathing difficulties. Similarly pine shavings can cause respiratory problems. If odor is a serious concern, ask your pet retailer for essential oil-free scented bedding.
Food for fancy mice can range from specially formulated feed mix to kitchen scraps, and is usually very inexpensive, although the latter should be avoided as it may not provide a balanced diet. Laboratories keeping mice as experimental subjects almost uniformly use a product called lab block, a scientifically-formulated blend originally designed for mice in laboratories. Dry dog food is another good option when lab block is unavailable, as it offers balanced nutrition for a mouse and helps keep their teeth conditioned.

Guinea pig[edit | edit source]

Guinea pigs

Cages with solid or wire mesh floors are used, although wire mesh floors can cause injury and may be associated with an infection commonly known as bumblefoot "Cubes and Coroplast" (or C&C) style cages are now a common choice.
Cages are often lined with wood shavings or a similar material. Bedding made from red cedar and pine, both softwoods, was commonly used in past decades, but these materials are now believed to contain harmful phenols (aromatic hydrocarbons) and oils.[39] Safer beddings include those made from hardwoods (such as aspen); paper products and corn cob materials are other alternatives. The Guinea pigs cage should be large enough for him/her to run around and get exercise, if the cage is small, you may consider making a pen for him/her to run around in. (Otherwise you may end up with a plump piggy.)
Guinea pigs benefit from feeding on fresh grass hay, such as timothy hay, in addition to food pellets which are often based from timothy. Alfalfa is also a popular food choice; most guinea pigs will eat large amounts of alfalfa when offered it, though there exists some controversy over the feeding of alfalfa to adult guinea pigs. Some pet owners and veterinary organizations have advised that, as a legume rather than a grass hay, alfalfa consumed in large amounts may lead to obesity, as well as bladder stones due to excess calcium, in any but pregnant and very young guinea pigs. However, published scientific sources mention alfalfa as a source for replenishment of protein, amino acids and fiber. Guinea pigs enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables, such as, carrots, lettuce, apple slices, kale, and grapes. (Offer these in small portions.)
Chew toys are very necessary, considering they are rodents, and their teeth never stop growing. Most guinea pig chew toys are made out of wood, you can find them at multiple pet stores.

Chinchilla[edit | edit source]


Since chinchillas are very active animals, it is best to house them in a large enclosure, such as a room of their own instead of a small cage. If kept in a cage, the chinchillas need to have a large area replete with shelves or other obstacles on which to play. The cage should be taller than it is wide, as the chinchilla's natural environment is very mountainous. Plastic in the cage should be avoided at all times. Chinchillas are often voracious chewers, and any ingested plastic can cause blockage in the intestines. The cage must have good air circulation. The chinchilla lacks the ability to sweat; therefore, if temperatures get above 25°C (80°F), the chinchilla could get overheated and may suffer from heat stroke.
As with most small animals, red cedar bedding should never be used due to its toxic nature.
Chinchillas eat and digest desert grasses and cannot efficiently process fatty foods or too many green plants. A high quality, hay-based pellet and a constant supply of loose hay will sufficiently meet all of their dietary needs. Chinchillas have very sensitive GI tracts that can be easily disrupted so it is important to maintain them on a healthy diet. Some Chinchilla feed includes raisins as part of the mix. Fresh vegetables (with high moisture content) should be avoided as these can cause bloat in a chinchilla, which can be fatal. Chinchillas also eat and drink in very small amounts, therefore, overfeeding is easy. This can lead to diarrhea, or in the long term, diabetes. Nuts should be avoided due to their high fat content.
Chinchillas also need other forms of stimulation, such as hanging wooden toys, large wheels (over 16 in (410 mm) in diameter and not constructed of mesh, as chinchilla legs and toes can easily get caught), or paper towel tubes. Wooden sticks and chew toys are also good options, but conifer woods (especially cedar) should be avoided because of the high content of resins that are toxic for chinchillas. Birch, willow, apple tree or manzanita are all safe woods for chinchillas to chew.

Rabbit[edit | edit source]


A pet rabbit should have an indoor pen and a rabbit-safe place to run and exercise, such as a living or family room.
Their diets typically consist of unlimited timothy hay, a small helping of pellets, and some fresh vegetables and fruits. House rabbits are very quiet pets.
Rabbits are easily trained to use a litter box and can learn to come when called. They are not well suited for families with unsupervised small children, due to the likelihood of frightening or harming these timid creatures by loud sounds or mishandling.

Ferret[edit | edit source]


Ferret cages and condos are commercially available at pet stores. A ferret cage should have a litter tray, an eating area, and a sleeping area. The sleeping area should be a dark place where the ferret can go to get away from the busy house.
Ferrets are obligate carnivores and the natural diet of their wild ancestors consisted of whole small prey, i.e., meat, organs, bones, skin, feathers, and fur. Some ferret owners feed a meat-based diet consisting of whole prey like mice and rabbits along with raw meat like chicken, beef, veal, kangaroo and wallaby. This is preferred in Europe and Australia, and becoming increasingly popular in the United States due to concern over high carbohydrate levels in some processed ferret foods.

Alternatively, there are many commercial ferret food products. Some kitten foods can also be used, so long as they provide the high protein and fat content required by the ferret's metabolism. Most adult cat foods and kitten foods are unsuitable for ferrets however, because of their low protein content and high fiber. Ideally, a ferret food should contain a minimum of 32% meat based protein and 18% fat and a maximum 3% fiber. Low-quality pet foods often contain grain-based proteins, which ferrets cannot properly digest.

Ferrets are easily entertained and do not require pet toys; however, most kitten toys work well with ferrets. Ferrets love playing tug of war with toys and stuffed animals. Ferrets will also tear open packages and other containers to see what is inside or explore the inside of the package. Ferrets are interested in holes, pipes and other small enclosed areas, and seem compelled to explore holes. Thus a cardboard or plastic tube will be appreciated. Ferrets are especially fond of variety in their toy selection — bell-balls, crinkle tubes, and paper bags will work well. All toys should be mixed up regularly, as ferrets will often grow bored of playing the same games repeatedly.
Ferrets spend 14 to 18 hours a day sleeping and are naturally crepuscular, meaning they are most active during dusk and dawn. Though ferrets sleep more than most other domesticated animals, they are very active when awake and will seek to be released from their cage to get exercise and satisfy their abundant curiosity daily.
Ferrets are energetic, curious, interested in their surroundings, and often actively solicit play with humans, having a repertoire of behaviors both endearing and difficult for some human owners. Play for a ferret will often involve hide-and-seek games, or some form of predator/prey game in which either the human attempts to catch the ferret or the ferret to catch the human. They also have a strong nesting instinct and will repeatedly carry small objects to hidden locations. It is difficult to predict what objects ferrets will attempt to hoard, with owners reporting play toys, socks, bags of onions, pizza slices, keys, calculators, silverware, aluminum foil, shoes, sponges, toilet paper rolls, textbooks, video game controllers, footballs, brooms, pencils, erasers, bouncy balls, etc. Ferrets will seemingly form attachments to certain objects and will repeatedly 'steal' the same object and bring it to their hiding place.
When ferrets are excited, they may perform a routine commonly referred to as the weasel war dance, a frenzied series of sideways hops. This is often accompanied by a soft clucking noise, commonly referred to as dooking. It is often an invitation to play or an expression of happy excitement and is not threatening.
The ferret's posture may become rigid with wide open jaws, momentary eye contact followed by thrashing or turning of the head from side to side, arching the back, piloerection, and hopping to the side or backwards while facing the intended playmate. This is often accompanied by an excited panting sound that may sound like a hiss. Often, this behavior will break into a game of chase, pounce and wrestle. Ferrets in war dances are very accident prone, often hopping into obstacles or tripping over their own feet.
Ferrets tend to nip as kits. Nipping is the act of biting in a playful manner representative of mock fighting and sparring; young ferrets are also more prone to chewing and teething, and have a tendency to bite harder. Older ferrets tend to chew far less frequently and, when trained correctly, almost never nip a human hand or only do so very gently. However, ferrets that have been abused or are in extreme pain may bite a human, and are capable of strong bites which break through the skin.
Ferrets, like cats, can use a litter box with training, but they are not always completely litter box trainable. Their instinct is to spread their waste in order to scent mark a wider foraging territory for themselves; thus, multiple litter boxes may be necessary, and all litter areas should be changed frequently.
A common ferret problem to many pet owners is introducing new ferrets to their population. Senior ferrets may seem excessively violent to unknown ferrets in their home, but adding another ferret to ones population to decrease boredom or for breeding will greatly encourage the morale of the ferret or ferret population one owns. Males and females will exhibit much stronger territorial urges when confronted with a new ferret, and will often treat the new ferret like a toy. After a fighting period which should be monitored but only rarely results in harm to a ferret, the older ferret will show its dominance, often by dragging the junior ferret around by the scruff of the neck to its hoard and leaving it like any other object it values. Given time and careful monitoring, new ferrets will almost always be accepted by the older ferret or group. Young ferrets can actually benefit from having an older house trained ferret around when being taught to use a litter box, take baths, or have their nails clipped.

c. Which two of these pets are not rodents?[edit | edit source]

Rodent are characterized by two continuously-growing teeth in the upper and lower jaws which must be kept short by gnawing (the "dent" in rodent is the same root as in "dentist"). Rabbits were once classified as rodents, but were moved into a new order called Lagomorphs in 1923. Ferrets belong to the weasel family.

6. Write a 200 word essay on the history and value of one of the above and what characteristics they have that make them good pets.[edit | edit source]

Go to the library an check out a book on the pet you are interested. You can also read an encyclopedia article about the animal:

Once you know some interesting facts, put them in writing. Use your own words. Two-hundred words will easily fit on a half page of letter-size paper.

7. Be able to identify five varieties of hamsters and five varieties of rabbits.[edit | edit source]

Hamsters[edit | edit source]

Winter White Russian Dwarf Hamster

Description: They are very small, measuring only slightly over three inches and weighing less than an ounce.

Features include a typically thick dark grey dorsal stripe and furry feet. The tail is so short that it hardly shows when the hamster is sitting. As winter approaches and the days shorten, Winter Whites' dark fur greys until it is almost completely white (hence the name).

Winter Whites are often found on the pet market, in Europe and Asia more so than in North America and indeed are rarely found in pet stores in Canada. Winter White hamsters make good pets for teens or adults, not for younger children. They are not likely to bite but do not like to be cuddled or held. Due to a hamsters poor eyesight the risk of falling or jumping off your hand is high.

Chinese Hamster

Description: Their average size is 3-4 inches. They are unique because of their tails, which are unusually long for a hamster. They actually resemble a mouse, and have a long slender body. The wild color is greyish brown above with a black stripe down the spine and a whitish belly. This coloration, combined with their lithe build and longer tail, makes them look "mousy" to some eyes and, in fact, they are members of the group called ratlike hamsters. Besides the wild colour, a well-known variation is the white-spotted Chinese hamster, which often is greyish white all over, with only a dark stripe on its back.

Syrian Hamster

Description: Their size is approximately 6-7 inches in length with a very short tail. It has hairless feet with four toes on the front feet and five on the back feet. Like most members of the subfamily, the Syrian Hamster has expandable cheek pouches, which extend from its cheeks to its shoulders. In the wild, hamsters are larder hoarders; they use their cheek pouches to transport food to their burrows. Syrian Hamsters are wildly popular as house pets due to their docile, inquisitive nature and small size. They are popular as "first pets" for young children, as well as being classroom animals, because of their hardiness and relative ease of care. Some pet owners find them more attractive than rats and other rodents due to their lack of visible tails. However, their lack of tolerance towards each other is seen by some as a drawback.

European Hamster

Description: They are the largest of all hamster species, being similar in size to guinea pigs, measuring up to 10 inches long. The black-bellied hamster is found from Belgium (e.g. Bertem with a thriving population) and Alsace in the west, to Russia in the east, and Romania in the south.

European hamsters are much larger than the Syrian hamsters or dwarf hamsters commonly kept as pets, being around 10-15 cm longer than guinea pigs.

In captivity, the European hamster has an unusually long life span, living up to eight years. They are very rarely kept as pets and have been known to attack large dogs if they feel threatened.

Roborovski hamster

Description: Roborovski's (Phodopus roborovskii) are the smallest and fastest of all hamsters commonly kept as pets. Distinguishing characteristics of the Roborovskis are the white spots where the eyebrows would be, and the lack of the dorsal stripe seen in all other dwarf hamsters. They live, on average, to three and a half years of age. Recently, a mutation has arisen producing a "husky", also known as "white-faced", phase. Breeding these lines with agouti Roborovskis produces a diluted appearance of their natural sandy color.

Romanian hamster

Description: The average size is 7-8 inches.

Rabbits[edit | edit source]

Dutch rabbit

Description: The Dutch rabbit is a small-medium size rabbit with a stocky body and a short rounded head. The Dutch rabbit has a white inverted V shaped blaze that extends from its nose tapering up to a point between its ears. The front and back legs are white. The coat is short and dense.

French lop rabbit

Description: The French lop rabbit has a stocky body with sturdy, fairly short legs. The coat is dense and soft and slightly long.

A French Lop is a type of rabbit that was first developed in France in the 1800s out of a breeding between the English Lop and the Flemish Giant. The French Lop differs from the English in that it is characterized by a heavier stature and shorter ears. The French Lop weighs in at around ten pounds and comes in two color varieties: solid and broken. It can be found in many different rabbit colors.

The French Lop must follow a balanced feeding habit. They should have a sizeable amount of dry rabbit food, which contains all the nutrition standardized for a healthy rabbit.

A French Lop is able to live outside and inside, a water-proof hutch that shelters the rabbit from any rain, snow, or heat is acceptable. If inside, a hutch or a cage can be used. If you are not giving your Lop regular time to spend with, consider getting two rabbits, a lonely rabbit that does not get regular exercise or companionship can be anti-social and depressed.

Lionhead rabbit

Description: The lionhead rabbit is small rabbit with a stocky body. The coat is dense and of medium length with a mane of long hair circling its head.

Lionhead rabbit is one of the newest breed of domesticated rabbits. It has particularly long hair surrounding the face, reminiscent of the mane of a male lion, hence the name. Other characteristic traits of the lionhead include a rounded head and small size, usually between 2.5 and 3.5 pounds. It also tends to have slightly shorter ears than most breeds.

The Lionhead rabbit originated in Belgium. It is reported to have been produced by breeders trying to breed a long coated dwarf rabbit by crossing a miniature Swiss Fox and a Belgian dwarf. The Lionhead seemed to have been more popular than the long coated dwarf, and so breeders carried on this trend in breeding them intentionally, and so came what we know today as the Lionhead rabbit.

The Lionhead has a well-rounded body, head bold with well developed muzzle. Their legs are of medium length and not too fine in bone. Their ears do not exceed 3 inches in length. Their mane is between 2-3 inches in length to form a full circle around the head, extending to a 'V' at the back of the neck falling into a fringe between the ears. Noticeably longer hair on the cheeks and chest. The coat is dense and of medium length, roll back and even all over body in Adults.

Netherland dwarf rabbit

Description: The Netherland dwarf rabbit has a small compact body and a short neck. The ears are small, erect, rounded at the tips. The coat is short and soft.

The Netherland Dwarf is a popular breed of domestic rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) originating in the Netherlands. Smaller than most rabbit breeds, Netherland Dwarf rabbits weigh 1.6 to 2 kg and are usually kept as pets or exhibition animals.

Most rabbits sold in pet stores are Netherland Dwarfs, Netherland Dwarf-derived breeds (often referred to simply as dwarf breeds), or Netherland Dwarf crosses. Their popularity as pets stems from their babyish appearance and their smaller cage space requirement compared to larger rabbit breeds. A lot of people also use Netherland Dwarfs for showing.

Netherland Dwarfs' heads and eyes are disproportionately large with respect to their bodies, and their ears are tiny and carried high on the head. Additionally, their faces are rounded and shortened. These features, a part of the animals' dwarfism, cause them to look infantile even into adulthood.

Dwarf crosses frequently retain some of these characteristics, depending on the breed the dwarf is crossed with. However, crosses rarely look as babyish as the purebred dwarfs and are usually somewhat larger.

Netherland dwarf rabbits have the same basic behavioral traits as other domestic rabbits. They can be litter-trained but are generally not very good with cats or dogs.

They tend to have spunkier and more energetic temperaments than larger breeds of rabbit and are rarely content to sit still when outside of the cage. They are curious animals and have a tendency to nibble on nearby objects and even human beings. However, they are extremely fragile animals and easily stressed, and as such they do not make good pets for young children.

Polish rabbit

Description: The Polish rabbit is compact but elegant with slender legs. The head is small and rounded and the ears are small, and erect. The coat is short, fine and thick.

Today, the Polish rabbit is used as a fancy exhibition breed. They are small rabbits with short ears that touch each other all the way to the tips. Due to their small size, the Polish rabbit is often confused with the Netherland dwarf, although the Polish is a little larger and the head is not rounded. (There are many other differences between the two breeds, such as coat structure and colors.) The accepted weights of the polish are two to three and 1/2 pounds. The ideal weight is 2.5.

Until the 1950s, most Polish rabbits were white with either red eyes or blue eyes. The red-eyed white is a true albino. The blue-eyed white has the Vienna white gene and is not a true albino. Since the 1950s, colored Polish breeds have been recognized by rabbit clubs. In 1957, the American Rabbit Breeder’s Association approved the black and chocolate Polish. In 1982, the blue variety was approved and in 1998 the broken variety was allowed.

Because of their small size, Polish rabbits need less space in cage and barn facilities, and take up less space in apartments than some of the larger bunnies. As with other small breed rabbits, they tend to be higher strung than their larger counterparts. They are also not ideal pets for small children as they are easily dropped, injured and stepped on. Their high-strung nature makes them more suited for a mature, rabbit-loving, adult home. However, the polish rabbit is not usually mean. Bucks are little clowns and are extremely fast if you let it loose good luck catching it, but they generally calm down at about two years of age. Does tend to be reserved in personality.

8. Why is it not good to make pets out of small mammals taken from the wild?[edit | edit source]

Wild animals do not eat the same foods as humans or domestic animals. It may not be possible for you to feed them what they need. If they do not get proper nutrition, they will not remain healthy.
Legal Concerns
It is illegal to keep wild pets in many localities. If you capture a wild animal and try to keep it as a pet, you may very well be breaking the law.
Not Abandoned
When people find baby animals that are apparently abandoned and attempt a "rescue," they are usually only interfering with the animal's life. In the vast majority of cases, the mother is nearby, and will return to it. Taking the baby animal in no way rescues it at all.
Many people believe that when they get tired of their wild pet, they can merely release it back into the wild. However, if the animal was in captivity from youth, it will not have learned any survival skills, making this move a death sentence for the animal. Further, the animal's diet will necessarily have to change which will cause digestive problems. Remember, wild animals and domestic animals do not eat the same foods. This animal will hav undergone two major dietary shifts - the first when it was captured, and the second when it was released.
Proper Care is Nearly Impossible
It is nearly impossible to meet all the requirements a wild animal needs for survival. Many wild animals require specialized care in facilities staffed by highly trained professionals. A wild animal will almost never develop affection for its owner, and because it is wild, can turn on its keeper in an instant, causing serious injury, or possibly even death.
Babies Grow Up
Baby animals grow up. They are not usually as cute when they are fully grown, and most people greatly underestimate the strength of an adult wild animal. Given the change, it can easily overpower a human being. As they grow, their appetites grow too, and can often be accurately described as voracious. An adult wild animal can eat you out of house and home!
According to the Humane Society of the United States:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) discourages direct contact with wild animals for a simple reason: They can carry diseases that are dangerous to people, such as rabies, herpes B virus, and Salmonella. -

9. Rabies: What is it? How is it spread? Can you get rabies from small mammals? Is it curable? How can you avoid getting it? Which small mammal pets can carry it?[edit | edit source]

Rabies is a viral disease that causes inflammation of the brain (encephalitis). If untreated, it is always fatal.

The virus is usually present in the nerves and saliva of a symptomatic rabid animal. The route of infection is usually, but not necessarily, by a bite.

Any mammal may become infected with the rabies virus and develop symptoms, including humans. Most animals can be infected by the virus and can transmit the disease to humans. Infected bats, monkeys, raccoons, foxes, skunks, cattle, wolves, dogs or cats provide the greatest risk to humans. Rabies may also spread through exposure to infected domestic farm animals, groundhogs, weasels and other wild carnivores. Squirrels, rodents and rabbits are seldom infected.

Rabies can be prevented by vaccination, both in humans and other animals. Virtually every infection with rabies was a death sentence, until Louis Pasteur and Emile Roux developed the first rabies vaccination in 1885. This vaccine was first used on a human on July 6, 1885 – nine-year old boy Joseph Meister (1876–1940) had been mauled by a rabid dog. Treatment after exposure is highly successful in preventing the disease if administered promptly, within fourteen days after infection. The first step is immediately washing the wound with soap and water, which is very effective at reducing the number of viral particles. In the United States, patients receive one dose of immunoglobulin and five doses of rabies vaccine over a twenty-eight day period. One-half the dose of immunoglobulin is injected in the region of the bite, if possible, with the remainder injected intramuscularly away from the bite. This is much less painful compared with administering immunoglobulin through the abdominal wall with a large needle, which is how it was done in the past.

Currently pre-exposure immunization has been used on domesticated and normal non-human populations. In many jurisdictions, domestic dogs, cats, and ferrets are required to be vaccinated. A pre-exposure vaccination is also available for humans, most commonly given to veterinarians and those traveling to regions where the disease is common, such as India. Most tourists do not need such a vaccination, just those doing substantial non-urban activities. However, should a vaccinated human be bitten by a carrier, failure to receive subsequent post-exposure treatment could be fatal, although post-exposure treatment for a vaccinated human is far less extensive than that which would normally be required by one with no pre-exposure vaccination.

All mammals can carry rabies, and this includes small mammal pets.

10. Why should you not handle your small mammal pets when you have a cold?[edit | edit source]

Guinea pigs, rats, and mice are used extensively in medical research because they are susceptible to many of the same diseases and virus as humans. Having a cold means you are infected with a Rhinovirus, a virus that can make all of these animals sick. When you have a cold, you can easily spread germs to others (that's probably how you caught the cold in the first place), whether they are human, or animal. Do your family, friends, and pets a favor, and wash your hands frequently, especially if a cold is going around or if you have one yourself. And if you do have one, stay away from small mammal pets!

11. Find in the Bible three references to animals that we now consider to be small mammal pets. According to the Bible, are they considered to be clean or unclean meat?[edit | edit source]

Three references can be found in these two verses.

Leviticus 11:6

The rabbit, though it chews the cud, does not have a split hoof; it is unclean for you.

Leviticus 11:29,30

"'Of the animals that move about on the ground, these are unclean for you: the weasel, the rat, any kind of great lizard, the gecko, the monitor lizard, the wall lizard, the skink and the chameleon."

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]