Frequently Asked Questions

We put together a list of frequently asked questions from avian and exotic pet owners over the years. If you have specific questions regarding your pet, don’t hesitate to call or complete the contact form.

According to the American Ferret Association, male ferrets are known as “hobs.” Female ferrets are referred to as “jills.” Baby ferrets are “kits.” A group of ferrets is known as a “business.”

A balanced diet and proper nutrition will lead your ferret to a long, active, and healthy life. Ferrets are strict carnivores; they require diets based on highly digestible animal (meat) protein with little to no carbohydrates. If you choose to feed dry food, choose high quality ferret or cat/kitten foods sold by pet stores with at least 36% protein, that is moderate in fats (approximately 20%) and low in carbohydrates. Ferrets have short digestive tracts and fast metabolisms which dictate that they must eat often. Many ferret owners give their pets full-time food access.

No, not typically. They sleep an average of 18 hours per day, but usually quickly adjust their schedule to yours.

In captivity, chinchillas need a simple, dry and bland diet. This diet consists of fresh water, quality pellets, and hay. Water or pellet consumption does not need to be limited. They can also have access to hay at all times. Chinchillas will not over eat their basic diet, but they will indulge in treats and unhealthy items, so treats should only be offered one to three times a week.

There are at least two possible answers.

  1. Your chinchilla is priming, which means they’re naturally shedding fur.
  2. Something may be scaring your chinchilla, causing “fur slip”. This is a natural defense mechanism chinchillas have. Their fur releases to confuse predators while they escape.

The ideal temperature range for a sugar glider is between 72 and 76 degrees, with about 45-50% relative humidity.

Sugar gliders in the wild have very specific dietary needs, and a glider raised in captivity is no different. There is no generic “glider food” as there is with cats and dogs. Sugar glider owners are advised to put together a diet of variety and nutrition, providing them with the food and vitamins they need to live long, healthy lives. Primarily, gliders need a diet that is high in protein, moderate fat, low phosphorus, loaded with fresh fruits and vegetables. TPG vitamins, which contain essential calcium important to their diet, are often added to their fruits, veggies and protein.

No. A sugar glider does not need vaccinations and is not a typical carrier of disease. With a healthy diet and clean environment, a glider should rarely become ill. However, they can become ill for some of the same reasons as other animals. Here are preventive recommendations:

  • Complete physical examination every 6-12 months
  • Annual dental exam to prevent overgrowth and malnutrition
  • Annual fecal exam for parasites and potential bacterial infections

Polyomavirus is one of the most feared, and often most misunderstood, viral infections of pet birds. This virus can infect many speciesof birds including pet parrots, finches, canaries, and chickens. Budgerigars (parakeets), eclectus parrots, macaws, conures, lovebirds, caiques, and ring-necked parakeets are considered particularly susceptible to infection. While polyomvirus is typically considered a disease of very young birds, adult birds can become infected and become carriers of the disease. These carrier birds, though they show no clinical signs ofillness, are thought to be responsible for transmitting the disease to other birds. Transmission occurs via contact with contaminated feces, feather dander, crop contents or other aerosolized particles.

Reactions to the vaccine are not common, but they can occur. The most commonly observed reaction is a yellowish discoloration of the skin or formation of a small lump at the site of the shot. These signs usually go away without treatment over a period of three to six weeks. Rarely, more serious reactions may occur, including the formation of a cyst or mass at the site of vaccination that requires medical or surgical treatment. Again, these types of reactions are rare. Any reaction should be reported to the vet to determine if treatment is needed.

Assoc Avian Veterinarians
Assoc Exotic Mammal Veterinarians
American Federation of Aviculture
American Veterinary Medical Association
Assoc Avian Veterinarians
Assoc Exotic Mammal Veterinarians
American Veterinary Medical Association
American Federation of Aviculture