World's Most Bizarre House Pets

This Gigantic Dog Deserves His Own TV Show

Guinness World Records has just announced a new record holder for the Tallest Living Dog and the Tallest Dog Ever.

Meet Giant George, a Great Dane from Tucson, Ariz.:

Giant George wouldn't be able to fit in my living room. Jacob Chinn, Guinness World Records

George stands at 42.25 inches (more than seven feet from head to tail) and weighs almost 250 pounds. He's owned by David Nasser, seen in the pic.

Guinness says it's currently searching for pet owners who think they might have record-breaking animals in the following categories: Dog with Longest Ears, Smallest Dog (Length), Oldest Dog, Smallest Cat and Oldest Cat. You can submit a proposal via

Dog Hailed As Hero For Saving Cat's Life

Schnauzer Leads Owner To Maggot-Infested Cat

JUPITER, Fla. -- A Jupiter dog is being hailed as a hero after leading his owner to a severely injured cat.

Authorities said the small Schnauzer named Toby had been trying to pull its owners to a spot in the woods near the family home for several days.

When the owners finally followed Toby, they discovered a cat completely infested with maggots. The infestation was so bad that the cat's face was nearly eaten off, but the feline was still alive.

The cat was brought to Safe Harbor Animal Sanctuary and Hospital for treatment.

Toby will be honored at an upcoming celebrity dog wash by Safe Harbor in Jupiter.

The 10 Most Bizarre Pet Insurance Claims

Like us humans, pets get sick and have accidents and mishaps. And (again, as with humans) some of the latter are downright weird. Take the lurcher who needed treatment after wolfing down nine mince pies or the Cocker Spaniel who came off worst in his ruck with a squirrel. See below for our list of the ten most bizarre pet insurance claims

1. Alfie, a greedy chocolate Labrador, ate a wooden spoon while his owner was baking cakes. Having mixed the batter, the owner noticed that the mixing spoon was missing and saw that Alfie was showing signs of discomfort (and apparent guilt). He took the distressed mutt to the vet, who located the spoon in pieces in an x-ray and later operated to remove it.

2. A cat required an operation after swallowing a set of five rubber witch's fingers. The costume fingers, which were part of a little girl's Halloween get-up, had to be surgically removed.

3. A claim was received for medical treatment for a staffie called Busta who ate a rubber duck. The dog had been playing with its owners' children when he swallowed the squeaky bath toy, which showed up clearly on the x-ray (pictured above).

4. In another case of a dog's eyes being bigger than its stomach, a bulldog ate most of a wooden chair. When his owners came home, they found what was left of the chair in splinters, and the dog pining for a trip to the vet.

5. A Jack Russell terrier was playing with children in the garden and bit off more than he could chew when he swallowed a rubber chew toy. It was removed – and he bounced back.

6. An English springer spaniel got very unlucky when he impaled himself on the stick he was carrying. The dog was playing fetch in a local park, stumbled and dropped the stick, which caught his neck and punctured his throat. He was rushed into emergency surgery and made a complete recovery.

7. A hungry Labrador retriever was out with its owner on a fishing trip when he took the bait – and swallowed a fish hook.

8. A curious mongrel ate a whole pack of ibuprofen, causing a headache for his owner, who rushed him to the vet for treatment. The dog was put on a drip and kept under observation (reducing a potentially inflammatory situation).

9. A female Schnauzer was operated on after eating several sanitary pads.

10. A male Vallhund – a breed favoured by the Vikings – received treatment after being bitten on the lip by a rat.

With thanks to Direct Line and M&S Pet Insurance

Dog in Storm Drain Gets a Lift from Prince George's Rescuers
By Matt Zapotosky - Washington Post Staff Writer

Usually, as the story goes, it's a cat up a tree that firefighters rescue. But on Tuesday, it was a dog down a storm drain.

Prince George's County firefighters retrieved the chow-black Labrador retriever mix so residents wouldn't try to climb down 25 feet into the hole to save the animal, officials said.

Firefighters and medics were dispatched about 1:45 p.m. to Clark Avenue and Holly Street in Laurel after a resident reported hearing a dog crying at the bottom of a storm drain after he himself had nearly fallen in. The drain's cover, authorities said, had been displaced, apparently by a snowplow.

The rescuers had to decide whether to put themselves at risk trying to save the dog. If they didn't make the attempt, someone else would try to, said Mark Brady, a spokesman for the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department.

"Compassionately, we always want to make the rescue, but we also have to bear in mind risks versus benefits," Brady said. "The way we look at it, if we leave, invariably there's going to be a citizen that goes down into that deep drain and attempts a rescue."

Pumping fresh air into the drain and constantly monitoring the air quality, firefighters lowered a rescuer down the drain using a rope-and-pulley system, Brady said. Fortunately, he said, the dog was friendly, and a rescuer was able to put a rescue harness and blanket on it and hoist it out. The operation took the rescuer about 10 minutes, Brady said.

The 40-pound, long-hair black dog was wet and cold but had no obvious injuries, Brady said. He said the dog had a collar but no tags. Anyone with information about its owner is asked to call the animal control facility at 301-780-7200.

Dog Trivia and Other Tips for Taking Care of Canines

Dogs are cute. They give unconditional, drool-filled devotion. They make you feel like you’re the king or queen of the world. It’s nice to see their furry bodies wiggling and their tails wagging with happiness each time they see you.

However, taking care of dogs requires commitment. So, if you want to own one, better do your research first. Professional dog trainer Jojo Isorena of Better Dog Canine Behavior Center shares these useful facts — and other interesting trivia — about man’s best friend.

1. They’ve been around for a long time. Recent studies reveal that dogs and wolves split into their own species approximately 100,000 years ago. And while the oldest dog skull to date was discovered in Goyet Cave, Belgium, these animals are generally believed to have come from Southeast Asia.

2. Puppies are a handful. From the time of mating, it takes around 63 days for a puppy to be born. Newborn pups only gain their sense of sight after 10 to 14 days. Their sense of hearing follows suit. After three weeks, they start growing teeth. Then, after four to seven months, their adult teeth start forming. So start watching over your couches and books, as they are likely to chew on things then. It would be a good idea to buy them some chew toys.

3. Don’t mess with their ears. A dog’s ears are very sensitive. In fact, even gently blowing into them is a painful experience for a canine. It’s not really the wind itself that hurts its ears, but the frequency at which you blow. The feeling is likened to the running of fingers through a blackboard — only a hundred times amplified.

4. They’re smarter than we think. Dogs are generally believed to have the intelligence of a two- or three-year-old kid. They are able to learn and understand around 150 words.

5. They rely on their noses. Did you know that dogs have fewer taste buds than humans? While we are armed with about 9,000 of these, they only have around 1,700. Because of this, dogs are more reliant on the smell of food rather than the taste. This is why they will happily play with garbage and scarf down leftovers — to them, the scent is so interesting and peculiar no matter what they taste like.

6. They have many expressions. Dogs have about 100 facial expressions. Most of these depend on ear movement. Dog owners can learn how to read these expressions over time, but they need to get to know their dogs’ breed and physical features very well. Interestingly, recent studies also show that dogs can also read human facial expressions and sense emotions.

7. They’re territorial. Males are particular about protecting their turf. They are often seen urinating with one leg up, a sign that they are marking their territory — even when they actually don’t need to do so.

8. They’re not colorblind. It’s a myth that dogs are colorblind. They can, in fact, see colors—but not as vividly as humans do. Canines are able to distinguish the difference between blue, gray and yellow. However, if they are able to see red and green, it might not look the same way it does to humans.

9. They have hair issues. Most dogs are born with a double coat of hair—the undercoat is there to keep it warm during colder days, and the outer coat serves as a form of protection against the elements. And contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as a 100 percent hypoallergenic dog, as some of its hair is still prone to dander and other allergens.

10. They’ll do real well with training. Dog training is a good way to strengthen the bond between the dog and its owner, as well as improve communication channels. Contrary to popular belief, responsible dog care isn’t just about feeding your pet on time; it’s also about training oneself to become a better owner.

In line with its mission to promote canine awareness, Better Dog Canine Behavior Center, which is the first of its kind in the country to offer discipline lessons as well as agility and personality classes, is offering a 30 percent discount on services for dogs adopted from the Philippine Animal Welfare Society.

It’s one way for us to show these furry creatures with big hearts how much we care about them. - FVI, GMANews.TV

Green Pet Care Tips –
Top 8 Reasons To Keep Your Cat Indoors

Caring for your cat in an eco-friendly, sustainable way means keeping your cat indoors. This ensures you protect your cat’s health and welfare and reduce his/her environmental impact. As guardian of a green pet, you will be glad to know the top eight reasons to keep your cat indoors.

Reasons to keep your cat indoors:

1. Disease
You increase your cat’s risk of incidence to life-threatening diseases such as Feline Distemper, Feline AIDS, Feline Leukemia, Rabies, Cat-scratch Fever (Bobcat Fever) and Toxoplasmosis.

2. Poison
There are all sorts of products your cat could get into when not under your watchful eye. Cats are curious by nature and they could very easily get into rat poison, antifreeze, oil, gas, etc. What about those other hidden poisons? Chemical-laden lawn/plant treatments are used frequently and though you may not notice symptoms instantly, there could be health concerns in the future due to these toxic substances. Keeping your cats inside keeps them green and keeps them away from poison!

3. Birds/Critters
Scientists estimate that “Free-Roaming” cats kill hundreds of millions of animals each year ranging from birds, rodents and other small mammals as well as reptiles and amphibians. You may be thinking…”Well, that’s the nature of cats.” Many of these species are already struggling due to pollution, pesticide and herbicide use, loss of habitat, etc. Not to mention, some of these critters or birds could have diseases that would affect your cat’s health.

4. Homelessness
It is possible that your cat may wander off and not come home. Not only would it break your heart, but what happens to your cat? If your cat is micro-chipped, you may be able to bring him/her home again, but there are not so happy consequences, too. Millions of domestic cats are euthanized each year because there are not enough homes for them and although we don’t want to think about it, there are research companies that will pick up unattended cats/dogs and perform experiments on them. The horror!

5. Vehicles
Your cat may get hit by a car or other vehicle. The road is populated with vehicles and inattentive drivers. If you cat manages to survive, it will be costly for your pocketbook as well as their long-term health. Often times rehabilitation, etc. will require many surgeries and many vet visits.

6. Fights
Another source of injury or death could simply be an attack by another animal or predator.

7. Parasites
Think fleas and ticks. Bobcat Fever comes from ticks. Even if you think you have taken precautions to protect your cat from fleas and ticks, if they eat an infected animal, it could still have drastic consequences to your kitty’s health.

8. Population Control
If your cat has not been spayed or neutered there is great chance you will be contributing for to the population of feral cats. Think again, about the hundreds of millions of cats that are euthanized each year. Make a promise to you and your pet that you won’t be a contributing factor to these deaths.

If you love your cat and you care about his/her health, safety and well-being above many things, ensure you keep your cat indoors. You’ll be doing Mother Earth a favour too since you’ll be helping improve her sustainability by protecting birds and other critters from your cat’s inherit predatory traits. Don’t forget to keep your cat happy and entertained while indoors!

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‘How to Cook a Cat Casserole’
TV Chef Beppe Bigazzi is Banned

A TV chef has outraged pet lovers by giving tips on the best way to cook a 'cat casserole'.

Beppe Bigazzi, who stars on Italy’s answer to Ready, Steady, Cook, said cat meat was a delicacy and was ‘tastier than other animals’ he had eaten.

He told viewers to prepare cat meat by soaking it in a stream for three days to tenderise it and then cook it in a stew.

‘I can assure you, it’s a delicacy – now I am going to get lots of letters,’ he said.

True enough, animal rights campaigners and outraged viewers of La Prova Del Cuoco (The Cooks’ Challenge) bombarded the TV station’s switchboard and the 76-year-old star has been suspended.

Activist Francesca Martini said it was ‘shameful’ for Mr Bigazzi to recommend a notion as ‘despicable’ as eating cats on national TV.

Mr Bigazzi added: ‘I was just trying to explain a saying from where I come from about the eating of cats. In the 1930s and 1940s, they were very popular.’

Treating Skin Allergies in Dogs
Stephanie Haddad -

How to Soothe Itchy Skin Irritations and Reactions

An itchy pet can be miserable and might even drive his owner crazy with the constant scratching and irritibility. Identify the cause and find a treatment that works.

It has become more and more common for pet owners to identify allergic reactions in their dogs. An estimated one in seven dogs currently suffer from allergic symptoms, according to the article "Skin Allergies and Reactions in Dogs" at WebMD. These symptoms usually target the skin, resulting in an itchy, irritable, and unpleasant pet. Identifying and eliminating the trigger are the best option for treatment.

Types of Canine Allergies
WebMD breaks common canine allergies into four basic categories, any of which may be to blame for a dog's skin irritation:

•Flea Allergy Dermatitis, caused by flea or insect bites and saliva.

•Canine Atopy, a result of inhaled allergens including dust, grass, mold, or pollen.

•Food Allergies, from the pet's diet.

•Contact Allergies, caused by irritants in cleaning products or other household items that contact the skin directly.

As a result, hives may appear on the dog's skin as raised, circular bumps that cause intense itchiness. Sometimes, skin lesions or sores can appear from repeated scratching or biting and an infection may result. Acting quickly to relief a dog's itchiness is the best course of action.

Other Signs & Symptoms
For some dogs, the irritation doesn't stop at the skin. Chronic ear infections may also be a sign of a dog allergy that affects the sensitive skin and warm environment of the inner ear, resulting in yeast infections. Treating the infection won't solve the problem, so finding the cause of the allergy is important.

Other signs may include chewing or licking the paws constantly, biting the legs, red marks appearing on the belly, and greasy or flaking skin. Some dogs also develop a strong odor during a particularly intense allergic reaction, according to Cheryl Minnier's article "Skin and Allergy Problems in Dogs."

Identify the Cause

Always seek veterinary advice when a pet is experiencing such tremendous discomfort, but also start to pay attention to the dog's behavior at home. Notice when the dog begins to react, whether it is directly after a meal or a house-cleaning, after a walk or during the night. Learning the patterns of the pet's discomfort and itchiest moments can help to eliminate some options of the cause.

Hives are a common symptom of insect bites or contact allergens, such as shampoos or floor cleaners. Using a hypo-allergenic shampoo can help eliminate this response and lead to an answer. If bug bites are suspected, however, try brushing the dog on a white sheet. If black or sand-colored bits appear on the sheet, these are flea eggs and droppings. Consult a vet to kill the flea infestation and treat the skin irritation.

For food allergies, a reaction may occur right away and last for hours or even days. Changing the pet's diet is the best way to solve this allergy problem, but can take weeks or months of trial and error before finding the cause.

Treatment Options

There are many short- and long-term treatment options available to make the dog's life easier, according to Minnier.

•A cool bath containing colloidal oatmeal, Epsom salt, or hypo-allergenic shampoo.

•Allergy shots administered by a veterinarian, usually after conducting tests to identify the dog's allergic triggers.

•Corticosteroids to reduce inflammation.

•Antihistamines, similar to human treatments, which control the symptoms.

•Omega-3 fatty acids added to the pet's diet may boost immunities to lessen symptoms.
If a pet is suspected of having an allergy, consult a veterinarian as soon as possible. A miserable pet is not something any owner wants to experience and, untreated, may lead to more medical problems and complications in the future.


•"Healthy Dogs: Skin Allergies and Reactions in Dogs" Web MD.

•Minnier, Cheryl. "Skin and Allergy Problems in Dogs." K9 Web.

Cat Lovers:
Can Your Feline Be More Loyal Than This One?

Hopper lives with a Golden Retriever and was a big fan of the Westminster Dog Show, his owner says.

Today's Paw Print Pick is Hopper, who was very put out when the Golden Retriever Treasure Island was overlooked by the judge in the sporting group competition at Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. To Hopper, Goldens are the greatest of all dogs. His owner, Julie, tells us why.

Owner's Job: Advertising producer

Pet's name: Hopper

Why I chose this name: He's named after the artist, Edward Hopper. Our Golden is Sargent, after John Singer Sargent. :) Can you tell my husband is an artist?

Pet's breed: Domestic shorthair cat

Pet's age: 4 months

Why and where I got him/her: Adopted from a pet store promotion. I fell in love at first sight!

Where we live: Oak Lawn, Illinois

Favorite activity with my pet(s): Apparently, it's now watching Westminster with Hopper. He was rather bummed that Treasure Island, the Golden Retriever, didn't win her group.

One trait I share with my pet: We're both zany and keep watching dog shows even if the Sporting Dog doesn't win!

Hopper sat and watched the entire Working Group. We moved his "kitty cube" from another part of the room so he'd be more comfortable! We couldn't believe our eyes.

READERS: Does your cat ever watch shows with you? What are they? Or is your cat more amused by other activities?

View Photos of Singles -
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Cathy M. Rosenthal:
5 Ways We Pick Names for Our Pets
Cathy Rosenthal -

A few weeks ago, I asked readers to share their pets' names. After reviewing your e-mails, I realized that a pet's name can provide as much insight into a pet owner's personality as it can about the pet himself. Here's my take on the five ways we name our pets.

First, there are "human names," like Maggie and Max, that pet owners may choose to make pets feel like family. "They are my babies," says Liz M.

Second are "personality/appearance names" that reflect something unique about the pet's personality, behavior or appearance. Judith Gunn Bronson of Bandera says she rescued a tiny cat who "chewed on everything." Her husband said, "You are just a little termite, nothing but teeth and mouth." So, she was named "Termite." Erin Harrison's blue heeler was the runt of the litter who made all sorts of unusual sounds as if he was trying to talk, so she named him "Verbal."

Third are "discovery names." These names tell us where the pet was found, rescued or adopted from, like a dog named Freeway. Angela Hoeffler named her Maine coon cat Baby Jessica after the famous Texas rescue. "When we found her, she crawled into a hole in the wall under the bathroom vanity and did not come out for two days," says Hoeffler. "It was like the rescue of the other Baby Jessica, except our Jessie was in a 'wall,' not a 'well.' "

Fourth are "revealer names," which give insight into pet owners' favorite things. Who loves Star Trek? Helen Harrison of Cibolo has a terrier mix named "Tiberius" after Captain James T. Kirk and a dachshund mix named Tribble. Her daughter Heather loves poker, so she has a cat named Aces. Joe and Susan Mustacchio appear to love Italian history and literature. They have cats named Nero, Mercuria and Bucharacio.

Finally, the last category I call "Other." It's the category where you sort of give up on finding a name and start calling the cat "Kitty." Lex Caswell explains this category best. As a kid in upstate New York, "my dad came home one day with six cats from the local shelter," says Caswell. "My four siblings and I were given the job of naming them. We ran out of names so we called the sixth cat the 'Other' cat. The name stuck. 'Other' was with us for 15 love-filled years."

What happens when you combine names? Mark Crider of Corpus Christi has a toy rat terrier who is "Blenheim with pink skin where the hair is white and dark where it is Blenheim, which gives her spots all over her tummy," says Crider. "When she rolled over and showed her speckled tummy, my wife said "Dotty" (personality/appearance). I looked at my reddish latte and said, 'Latte' " (revealer). Since then, we've called her "Latte Dotte." ("Blenheim" is a color description for a reddish brown and white pattern on a dog.)

How do you name your pets?

My most recent pets have been Brinkley (revealer: The movie, "You've Got Mail"), Smokey (personality/appearance: Named by our son when he was 5), Maggie (human), and Miss Kitty (other: She came with the name).

Send your pet stories and questions to Cathy M. Rosenthal, c/o Features Department, San Antonio Express-News, P.O. Box 2171, San Antonio, TX 78297-2171, or Cathy's advice column runs every Sunday. You can read her blog, Animals Matter, at

Georgia Town: Leash Those Cats!

One Georgia town has had enough free-range kitties. A new ordinance requires that people leash their cats before allowing them outside.

According to this report, the move was something of a goof made while attempting to crack down on feral cats.

In any case, it's probably making for some amusing outings to the park. Sadly, the report didn't get into how many cat-owners are actually following this new law -- and if anyone has been cited for disobeying....

The World's Most Bizarre House Pets

In 2009's smash comedy The Hangover, the drug-addled protagonists make off with boxer Mike Tyson's pet tiger. It's a hilarious vignette -- and funnier still when you consider how many people in the real world in fact keep tigers, and all sorts of other unlikely beasts, as pets.

While only 3,500 tigers still roam the wild, Americans now own a staggering 10,000 of them. The heart of captive tiger country is Texas, where some 5,000 big cats live in backyards, cages and, gulp!, open ranches -- no permits required. For all their majesty, tigers sell for a song: A young cub in good health can be had for the cost of a purebred dog, about $1,000, though "the meat bill is big," says Christopher Cutter, spokesman for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). That's why tiger owners often cut deals on road kill with highway patrol. Then there's tiger insurance, for which Tyson has been known to pay $1,100 a month.

It's downright shocking the lengths to which some humans will go for companionship. "People own pretty much anything you can imagine," says Cutter, who stresses that the IFAW does not condone domesticating large carnivores. "I'm not sure what makes them do it, but you can get a hold of just about any animal these days and people do."

More inconceivably, they let the animals breed. Last year New Jersey authorities called in the IFAW to help confiscate 24 tigers from a woman raising them in a suburban home. The great cats lived in a mishmash of shipping containers, industrial fencing and plywood behind the house. A year before that, the IFAW found a Nevada man keeping six tigers and a cheetah.

Tigers not weird enough for you? Here are some of the most bizarre yet very real house pets.


Hippos don't make ideal pets -- mainly because they will kill you. (Hippos kill more people than any other animal in Africa.) But one, known as Jessica, is the darling of Tonie Joubert, a retired game warden in South Africa, and his wife. Jessica weighs nearly 1,000 pounds and regularly saunters into Joubert's house for a two-liter of sweetened coffee. She sleeps on the patio in a blanket with the couple's dogs. While Jessica can open doorknobs with her mouth, she's hard on the furniture: Casualties include a couch and three beds -- another reason only a few dozen hippos are now pets.

Sugar Gliders

These little Australian critters--a cross between a squirrel and a chipmunk, with a badger face -- glide from tree to tree using flaps of skin between their body and arms. Cute, yes; easy to care for, no. They require at least one hour of socialization a day lest they get depressed, says Blake. They also prefer live grubs, crickets and other insects. Then, of course, they'll want to do that gliding thing -- and most people don't have the room at home for that. If they make it to your yard's maple or oak tree, you'll likely never see them again.


America is home to thousands of pet alligators. President John Quincy Adams kept one at the White House for a time, and Miami Vice fans may recall Don Johnson's toothy pal, Elvis. While gators, which can grow to 12 feet, have made a comeback in the U.S. (after being hunted to near oblivion in the 20th century), they are illegal in many states as pets. That's probably wise given their appetite for just about everything: mammals, fowl, fish -- and the occasional foot.


Yes, there are people who really do keep pet bears (black ones, not ferocious grizzlies), according to the folks at the IFAW. This, even though black bears can grow to 600 pounds and dispatch a human very quickly. One Massachusetts man, Kenneth Billiel, found a black bear cub in his yard and raised it past 100 pounds, at which point it was putting holes in walls. Authorities later confiscated the bear, but there are hundreds, if not thousands, of other pet bears in the U.S., confirms IFAW's Cutter.


Roaches, pet lovers say, are great starter pets for children. The Madagascar hissing cockroach can grow to four inches long and one-inch wide. (Fly swatters? Think again.) As their name suggests, these ghastly critters let loose a tingling hiss when they're agitated. Now imagine a whole colony hissing and living in a big tank in your house. Like they say, greater starter pets.


It takes a lot of water -- at least 500 gallons -- and plenty of attention to keep a shark at home. But then there's the cool factor! Celebrities including Nicolas Cage and Ice-T have kept sharks. So has Britney Spears' ex-husband, Kevin Federline (which may be an indication that sharks have, er, "jumped the shark"). Two years ago in Manhattan's West Village neighborhood, pedestrians were awed by a giant, illuminated shark tank in a second-floor apartment window. Resident Larry Saul was no celeb -- just a child psychiatrist, family man and black-tip-reef-shark enthusiast.

For people searching for everything from hippos to falcons (and who are no fans of human houseguests), one source stands out: the Animal Finder's Guide, a veritable Craigslist of exotic pets and animals. An annual subscription of 18 issues costs $30. Articles range from "Capturing Exotic Animals" to "In Business With Alternative Livestock." Just mind your extremities.

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What's Up, Doc?
Rabbits Can Be Great,
Eco-Friendly Pets
By Lindsay Reynolds - Daily News Columnist

Rabbits have been praised for being ideal eco-pets. They will gladly eat green kitchen trimmings, and their waste can be used to create rich compost for the garden. Their specialized diets even have a positive effect on some owners. "My life style has gotten much healthier since I started living with rabbits," reports Jennifer Lee, volunteer for Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA. "Since I spend more time in the vegetable section of the supermarket, I buy more vegetables and fruits for myself. Sometimes, when the rabbits are eating their salad, I sit down on the floor and eat my own salad with them."

Besides being "green," rabbits make wonderful house pets for several reasons. They can adjust to apartment living. They can be trained to use a litterbox. Most importantly, they can provide several years of companionship.

"I love having house rabbits in my home," Lee exclaims. "They keep me company as well, and crack me up when I need a good laugh. I love watching them kick up their heels and zoom around my place, chase each other and then end up under the bed snuggling up with each other."

These sensitive creatures aren't for everyone, though. Contrary to popular belief, rabbits are not low-maintenance. They require exercise, mental stimulation, socialization and veterinary care just like a dog or cat. Rabbits kept in hutches outdoors become depressed from isolation and have an average lifespan of about one year. Indoor rabbits that live as members of the family can live 8 to 10 years. Also, most rabbits are not a good match for small children, and should be given as Easter presents only with much forethought. Rabbits are extremely delicate and feel insecure when they are held and restrained, which most children do not understand. Rabbits get easily stressed by the natural exuberance and noise of a child. Families who want to adopt a rabbit should be ready for several years of commitment, with the parents acting as the primary caregiver.

The Top 5 Fish For Your FOWLR Aquarium

Starting a salt water aquarium is an exciting endeavor. You have the opportunity to create your own marine environment that you can enjoy in your own home. However, choosing to start an aquarium will require you to make quite a few important decisions. Questions like will you include “live rocks” into your ecosystem, what kind of filtration will you use, and how big will your saltwater aquarium be, must all be considered.

However, one of the most exciting questions you must ask yourself is what kind of fish will I include in my tank? Fish are the obvious highlight of the saltwater aquarium and are quite an investment so this is a list of the 5 best fish to purchase when starting an aquarium.

Surgeonfish – A surgeonfish is certainly one of the first fish that you want to purchase when you start a saltwater aquarium. These fish are very active and add a great deal of life to your saltwater habitat. They are easy to feed and maintain, which makes them a clear choice for a fairly new saltwater aquarium. Another wonderful characteristic about these fish is that they do not bother coral so there is no need to worry about putting them into a FOWLR (fish only with live rocks) saltwater aquarium. Surgeonfish are also beautifully colored so you are not trading the ascetics of the fish for its resilience.

Basslet – These beautifully colored fish are a perfect choice for the beginning saltwater aquarist. Not only are they brilliant in color, but they are very active and easy to maintain. These fish can reach about 6 inches in length so their size must be considered when thinking about how many fish you wish to incorporate into your aquarium.

Triggerfish – Curious, brave, and lively are good ways to describe the triggerfish. These saltwater fish are a fixture in many saltwater aquariums. Their lively and curious nature provides the saltwater habitat with a lot of action. The triggerfish gets it’s name from a spine on its dorsal fish that it raises as a form of protection.

Dragonet – The dragonet is one of the sea’s shy creatures. Usually they a bottom dwellers where they easily retreat to burying itself in the sand when nervous or aggravated. These beautifully colored fish are not difficult to maintain, however they do not get along well with one another. So be sure that if you wish to purchase a dragonet, it will most likely be a solitary species in your saltwater aquarium.

Clownfish – The clownfish is a brightly colored orange fish with white stripes on its side. It is well known for its ability to live among the tentacles of the anemone without being harmed. These fish are hardy, easy to maintain, and have a long life expectancy. However, if you wish to include them in a saltwater aquarium with an anemone, you will not want to include a triggerfish. In a natural environment the triggerfish feeds on the anemone so be mindful of the environment you wish to design when choosing fish.

Is a saltwater aquarium for you? That is a good question. Do you remember when you were a kid and you asked your parents for a pet? Do you remember their response? How about a fish instead? Well, that answer isn’t as lame as it used to be. Saltwater aquariums have become a whole new hobby going way beyond the goldfish bowl. As you can see there are a number of things to keep in mind when choosing the fish for your aquarium.

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