Newsletter May 2017
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 May 2017

Metrodogs: City Lickers

Most dogs want big backyards so they can run around and play, especially as a puppy. But what if you live in a busy city apartment? Many city dogs can still lead happy lives, though you may have to get a little creative with how to get them proper exercise. In fact, surrounded by people, other dogs, and interesting smells, city dogs can lead some of the most fulfilling dog lives of all.

You might think that small dogs are the way to go in a big city. However, large dogs can easily live in cities as well. Consider your lifestyle when deciding what size dog to bring to the city. If you’re not particularly active and don’t live near any parks, a small dog might be the best choice. If you’re a jogger who has easy access to a park, and an hour or more to spend there each day, then a larger, more active dog might be perfect for you!

Leaving your dog in a small apartment all day might prove difficult for the animal. However, there are many options including dog walkers to take your dog out during the day, or even doggie day care. If none of these work, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, or small birds can be loving stay-at-home animals who do not mind being left alone all day.

Do you have a rural dog who is making a move to the city? Expect difficulty with this change that can be helped with the right training and preparation. Many rural dogs find it difficult to urinate and defecate close to their owners at first. It can be helpful to walk your dog on lead while still in the country to get them used to this. In addition, while doing this, try to get your dog to go on pavement. Some dogs that are used to going on grass can have a hard time transitioning. Rewarding your dog for going on pavement can help them break the habit.

You should also discourage your dog from barking before heading to the city, as barking can be a major annoyance to neighbors. No need to get off on the wrong foot. It will be easier to start eliminating this behavior before traveling. Finally, a training class can also be helpful for many dogs who aren’t used to seeing other dogs on a daily basis. This can get them used to interacting with others without becoming overexcited or aggressive.

Keep in mind that owning a dog in a city can be more time consuming than in the country. Dogs need you to take the time to walk them, play with them, and bring them to the park even more when they don’t have a backyard to play in. It is also helpful to have a special space in your apartment for your dog to call their own. This can be a place where your dog can go to relax, which creates structure in their day. The spot should have a bed, toys, and water.

This video shows dogs playing in a city dog park.

Finally, as a dog owner in the city, never forget to show your dog love and attention. This can make a big difference in any dog’s life and allow them to feel fulfilled and happy. Pay attention to your dog when you are home, and scope out spots to take your pup in the city – there are a lot! Finding other dog walkers can help you keep up with social life and take care of your pet. Overall, city dogs can be just as happy as country dogs with the right attention and time.

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Lizard Love: Caring for Your Reptile

Thinking of getting a pet lizard? Lizards are fascinating reptiles with immense diversity in ability, personality, and daily needs. While they can make incredible pets, it is important to understand what is required to take care of your lizard before adopting. Many lizards have unique challenges and need you to understand how to keep them happy. From geckos to iguanas, this guide will help you find which lizard species is right for you!

Geckos

Geckos are tiny lizards that will brighten your day with their lovely patterns and kind temperaments. Leopard Geckos in particular are very popular as pets. They are relatively easy to keep and generally live between six to ten years. However, they can live for up to twenty years, so be prepared. One or two geckos can live in a 10 to 20 gallon aquarium, which should be at least one foot tall with a screen on top that will support a light fixture. They will also need a box with moist moss or vermiculite so that they can shed properly. Geckos should have a heating pad under part of their tank to provide temperature variation. The temperature of their enclosure should be about 88-90 degrees at all times. Geckos can be handled, but only once they have settled in and are comfortable with you. More information can be found here.

Bearded Dragons

Bearded Dragons are another extremely popular lizard known for their unique appearance and kind personalities. Adults can grow to about two feet in length, and generally live between six and ten years, though they have been known to live much longer. Two adults will need a 75-gallon aquarium with screening. They can be kept in outdoor cages during warm weather, but need both sunny and shady areas. They like to climb, so sturdy branches are great for their enclosures. Bearded dragons like it hot, so their basking area should be about 100 degrees with the cooler area being about 80. They also require a UV light in their cage in order to get proper nutrients. Bearded dragons are much more friendly and happy to be handled than most other lizard species.

Chameleons

Chameleons can make great pets, but require much more care than geckos and bearded dragons. For one thing, they need much more upkeep and cage space. They also need specific humidity levels in their enclosures. Veiled or panther chameleons are best as first chameleons because they require only moderate humidity. However, you should also factor in where you live when considering what type to get. If you live in a hot, dry climate, it will take more work to maintain a habitat for a chameleon that requires high humidity.

Chameleons need a large and tall screened cage or terrarium with a screened top. For chameleons one foot or less, the cage should be at least 2’ x 3’ x 3’, but you should always go with the biggest cage possible. Chameleons need horizontal branches for climbing and leaves for hiding. They also require UVB fluorescent bulbs that extend the length of the cage, and a basking bulb or heat emitter. You will also need a dripper, mister or fogger to supply water and create humidity, and a thermometer and humidity gauge to monitor the habitat.

Iguanas 

Iguanas are beautiful lizards that make intelligent, friendly pets. Unlike many other reptiles, they are capable of identifying their caretakers and may become quite affectionate. However, it is extremely difficult to take proper care of them in captivity. Sadly, many pass away after being adopted because they do not receive proper care. If you are considering getting an Iguana, please take the time to research their needs and be prepared to meet them. Green iguanas grow to about six to seven feet and 20 pounds. They live about 15-20 years.

As babies up to 18 inches long, Iguanas require a 20-gallon aquarium. Anything bigger will make it difficult for them to find their food and water. However, adult green iguanas require much more space. Their enclosure must be at least 12 feet long by 6 feet wide by 6 feet high. The height is important because iguanas are primarily arboreal in nature. Multiple males cannot be housed in the same cage. Iguanas will need incandescent heat bulbs and a double row of fluorescent UV bulbs providing both UVA and UVB. They will need a hotspot of at least 120 degrees Farenheit. The heat should come from above, not below. Part of the cage should also be cooler, about in the mid 80s. Do not use hot rocks, heat pads, or any other heat source coming from the floor. Iguanas often burn themselves on these materials, sometimes to the point of death. It is also important to mist iguanas daily and let them soak at least twice a week. If possible, provide a water container large enough for the lizard to be completely submerged; in the wild, they are excellent swimmers. It is possible to provide a happy, healthy home for many types of lizards. In return, you will have a beautiful, rewarding pet for many years. 

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Bengal Tiger: The King of India

The Bengal Tiger is only about five to six feet long, but it can weigh anywhere between 240-500 pounds. Combined with its incredible power and strength, this makes it one of the most formidable predators in the animal kingdom; its roar can be heard as far as two miles away. Tigers are the largest members of the cat family and can live between 8 to 10 years in the wild. The Bengal Tiger, also known as the Indian Tiger, is India’s national animal. It is an important part of Indian tradition and lore, and continues to draw attention today.

Bengal Tigers are the most common type of tiger; they make up about half of all wild tigers. At one time, there were eight subspecies of tiger, but three became extinct, and all five remaining subspecies are at risk. This is largely due to hunting and forest destruction. As a result, it is estimated that there are fewer than 2,500 tigers left. Tigers give birth to only two to six cubs, which cannot hunt until they are 18 months old. After that, they remain with their mothers for about two to three years until they find their own territory. 


This video depicts newborn Bengal Tigers. 

From there, most Bengal Tigers live alone. They each have their own territory, which they mark using their scent in order to keep others away. However, they do venture out and travel many miles away in order to hunt. They prowl at night, and prey on large mammals such as buffalo, deer and wild pigs. When hunting, they use their coats as camouflage, wait for their prey to get close, and then spring on their victims. Most tigers generally avoid humans, though some have been known to eat them. These tigers are likely sick and unable to hunt normally. Alternatively, they may live in an area where regular prey is gone, and so they must resort to eating other food.

While Bengal Tigers are found primarily in India, there are smaller populations of them in other countries including Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, China and Myanmar. Because of poaching, tiger reserves were created in India in the 1970s. However, they are still at risk. The mangroves of the Sundarbans are the only mangrove forests where tigers are found, and they are increasingly threatened by sea level rise. Protecting these tigers is not only important for the sake of the species, but also for the surrounding ecosystem. By saving just one tiger, about 25,000 acres of land are also protected. These ecosystems provide both nature and people with fresh water and food.

Many programs such as the World Wildlife Fund are organizing more efforts to support the Bengal Tiger. The WWF is working to secure large areas of habitat for tigers. They also work against illegal poaching and trafficking of tigers. One threat to Bengal Tigers is the development of linear infrastructure in Asia, which frequently infringes upon wildlife habitats. This causes difficulty for tigers in breeding, hunting, finding cover, and establishing territories. As areas become smaller, they eventually become too small to sustain even minimum tiger populations. Smaller areas also increase negative interaction between tigers and humans, and limit the genetic diversity of tiger populations. The WWF aims to counteract this by fostering collaboration between infrastructure planning and wildlife activists.

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Horses and Humans: A History

 

Today, horses are used for riding, Animal Assisted Therapy, and many other forms of companionship with people. However, they have a long history of serving various purposes for humans from racing to working on farms to pulling buggies. In fact, the first record of horses working with humans was in 2400 BCE, when they were used for war chariots in Mesopotamia. Why have horses and humans worked so well together over the years in what seems like a relationship from the beginning of time? It appears that the two breeds were destined for friendship.

Horses have been used in almost all aspects of life including the arts, building cities and infrastructure, trade, nature, religion, politics, and warfare. Starting in 680 BCE, chariot racing was part of the Olympic games. Before that, though, horses were used extensively in wars. Originally, they were either ridden, or used to drive chariots. During the Iron Age in Mesopotamia, people began to use mounted archers. From there, horses continued to be used in wars until World War I, when they were phased out in favor of tanks.

 

An extremely thorough history of horses throughout time can be found here.

Later, people began to use horses to help build infrastructure and work on farms. In the building of roads and other structures, horses often transported materials and people, speeding up the building process. On farms, horses worked as tractors, pulling plows over the fields. They only began to lose their jobs to tractors in the 1940s, when tractor sales began to increase exponentially. These jobs required horses to work hard all day and always obey what their owners asked them to do.

Horse racing began in ancient times despite the fact that it often caused serious injury or death to both the horse and the rider. It was later named the “Sport of Kings” because of its popularity in royal British society. Horse racing allowed equestrians to hone the skills that they would need in battle while also providing entertainment for a crowd. It also led to the development of specialized breeds and equipment. Today, horse races vary widely, with many countries having their own horse racing traditions. However, it is still a valuable part of our culture and relationship with horses.

Today, horseback riding is a popular sport and pastime that allows humans to develop close bonds with horses. English riding features a flat English saddle and a style of riding in contrast to Western riding, which has a deeper seat and only one hand on the reins. Western riding evolved from cattle working and warfare traditions, and meets the needs of cowboys in the American West. Dressage is a more highly skilled form of competition that is often considered an art and is performed in exhibition and competition.

Throughout time, horses have worked with humans, forming close relationships and always listening and responding to their owners. Scientists theorize that this is because of a phenomenon called co-being. This is the process by which the human and the horse both become attuned to each other’s physical and mental ways. This is how owners get to know their horses’ personalities and tendencies, and the horses get to know their owners. By developing this bond throughout time, both humans and horses have benefitted tremendously. 

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