Prairie Dogs!

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Drache, Jan 25, 2014.

  1. Drache

    Drache Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just thought I'd share the awesomeness that is my prairie dog, Tex. She is about 3 years old now. I bottle-raised her myself and she is one of the most wonderful pets I have ever owned.

    Does anyone else have prairie dogs? Feel free to ask questions!

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  2. goats rule 101

    goats rule 101 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    :welcome
    She is so cute! I don't own one but they are adorable. I do own a hedgehog though. Her name is peaches.
     
  3. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

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    Very cool! I've heard prairie dogs and ground hogs make awesome pets. I think in a lot of states they outlawed ground hogs as pets after outbreaks of monkey pox. That was sad as pretty much everyone I've heard of that had one said they were amazing!

    Do prairie dogs smell at all? What kind of cage do you keep her in?
     
  4. punk-a-doodle

    punk-a-doodle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Been wanting one for years and was so happy they lifted the federal ban. What a cutie!
     
  5. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    Omg, that last picture, with her chubby wubby cheeks [​IMG]
     
  6. Drache

    Drache Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Prairie Dogs were outlawed by the CDC in 2003 when a large number of them picked up monkeypox from shipments of african rodents that had been brought in as pets. Other animals outlawed at the same time were gambian pouched rats, zebra mice, and african dormice, among others. But in 2008 the CDC lifted the federal ban, making prairie dogs legal again. There are still some states where prairie dogs are native that still ban prarie dogs the way they ban any other wildlife, but I live in Texas where prairie dogs are legal (even though they are native). It's also important to know that there are several species of prairie dogs and in certain places, only some are legal.

    Prairie dogs don't smell much at all. Most of the odour from Tex's cage actually comes from her bedding (hay and pine pellets). Right before cleaning day it can smell very similar to rabbits. She has pellet-like poop, which is easy to clean (and makes great fertilizer!)

    I love prairie dogs because they have many of the great traits of other pets combined into one animal. To me, prairie dogs are a large rodent (better than hamster or gerbil) and sturdy (unlike fragile chinchilla). They are outgoing and curious (like rats) but without the super agility or smell (like rats). They also have a long lifespan (I have had two that lived to be 12). Many people are able to keep multiple prairie dogs together do that they have a buddy, but Tex seems to like things better by herself.

    One thing to keep in mind about prairie dogs is that they rarely breed in captivity, so there really isn't a "legit" source for them. Most are captured from the wild during the moving (or elimination) of whole colonies. This also means that a lot of prairie dogs have to either be bottle fed, or are old enough when they reach the pet shop that they are very wild-like and take work to make tame. I have learned that if you want more than one prairie dog, you should introduce them when they are all babies.

    As for Tex's cage, she lives in a Midwest Ferret Nation cage. It's a multi-story metal cage, and I have replaced the plastic pans with metal ones so she can't eat her way out. Prairie dogs are diggers so I don't even take her outside unless it's in a pen with a concrete bottom.
     
  7. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

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    Thanks for the information! She does sound like an awesome pet!

    Quite a few of my friends have different types of rodents and I love visiting and playing with them. I always wanted rats, but didn't think I could deal with the strong odor. Right now I just have a gecko, but it is nice to live vicariously through others!
     
  8. Drache

    Drache Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I do love pet rats. For a long time I was involved with exotic pet rescue in Texas and surrounding states and my main focus was pet rats. They are just so personable and intelligent. But it does take work to keep their habitat clean. Here's a pic of one of my former rat cages:

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    I've also had mice, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, rabbits, degus, spiny mice, pygmy mice, hedgehogs, ferrets, sugar gliders, short-tailed opossums, ground squirrels, ferrets, and a wallaby. (and also various herps, birds, fish, and inverts).

    And when I was doing wildlife rehab I cared for: wild rats and mice, squirrels, raccoons, possums, armadillos, and a fox.

    Now that I am working at an animal hospital and going for my RVT, I don't have time for rescue anymore, so I just have a few personal pets. But I am getting my first chickens in March and next year I'm going to start bee-keeping as well. I am planning to move out of the suburbs sometime in the next couple years and I really want to get into some waterfowl (ornamental, I have a thing for black swans and mandarins).

    But until then my fatty prairie dog keeps me happy!
     
  9. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

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    What an awesome rat cage! I love it!

    I had a ferret as a kid and he was an awesome pet. I would consider getting another one at some point. My favorite rodent is a duprasi I had before the ferret. That was an amazing pet. He was super gentle, didn't smell at all, and was diurnal so he was always up when I wanted to play with him. I think they've since stopped exporting them and they are super difficult (and expensive) to find. Otherwise, I would have more of those in a heart beat!

    I just started some rehab stuff here at my school (Good to meet another person involved in veterinary medicine! I'm currently in my first year of vet school) I pretty much fail at raising baby mammals, but I seem to have a knack for baby birds. I may take on a few this summer if I have the time for it. I know the wildlife center gets TONS of call for baby birds, but they are so time consuming, they only take them if a student is willing to raise them. We mostly get adult raptors and songbirds, and I am REALLY looking forward to working with the owls. I'm studying bird medicine, so all of this is right up my alley! What kind of animal hospital do you work at?

    Bee keeping is another thing I would like to try at some point. I would absolutely love to have my own pollinators, and be able to make my own honey! I know the start up can be expensive, but it seems worth it after a few years. Someday I'll hopefully live somewhere that I can do all these things!
     
  10. Drache

    Drache Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aw, duprasi are so cute! I never owned any myself but I had a friend who owned some fat-tails. They were banned at the same time as the whole monkeypox scare and I haven't met any who owned them since then. I bet they are super hard to find now, just like gambian pouched rats and zebra mice. I also really like jirds. I know someone who has a pair but they seem to be infertile.
    I forgot about the kangaroo rats I used to have. They are hard to find too, but they are one of the Texas white list animals so I may go out west at some point and collect some for pets.

    Right now I am trying to start up a colony of pygmy mice but those seem to be getting rarer too! :(

    Raptors are awesome, aren't they!? I used to work at a bird sanctuary and the owner had a license for raptors. No owls, but she had lots of hawks and falcons. And also pied crows, which is another species I'd love to breed someday.

    I work at a corporately owned animal hospital. Most of their locations are preventive care for small animals only but the particular location I am at does a lot more emergency/special/exotic stuff than most other locations. We have an ortho specialist and two exotics specialist DVMs on staff. Which is good because I've done so much work with exotics I'd be bored if all I got to see was dogs and cats. ;P

    Is that your macaw in your siggy? Here are my eclectus (and amazon RIP)
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