The rescue of a wild baby chipmunk is not a task that should be undertaken lightly. Like any wild animal, even if the baby chipmunk will eventually take food, that does not mean that it is fully tame. Because they are unpredictable, and for the welfare of the animal, the ASPCA does not support the keeping of wild animals as pets. Getting the chipmunk to feed prior to its being delivered to a wildlife rehabilitation specialist requires special care.
Mix the puppy formula with water according to the package directions. The baby chipmunk will not take more than a few drops, if any at all, so don’t mix too much at once. Baby chipmunks that have already developed hair and opened their eyes have already been weaned. In this case, the first two steps can be skipped.
Draw a small amount of the formula into the medicine dropper and gently nuzzle the baby’s snout with the end. This must be done every two to three hours throughout the day for the first week to two weeks of the baby chipmunk’s life.
Place a bowl of fresh water and a bowl of bird seed in the cage containing the baby chipmunk, but do not try to force it to eat. This could cause stress to the animal. Instead, nurture the wild side of the chipmunk by leaving it alone when it eats.
Transport the chipmunk to a wild animal rescue or your local veterinarian as soon as possible. While puppy formula is a safe bandage to get the chipmunk by, it is not composed of the proper nutrients necessary for a chipmunk’s survival.
Tips & Warnings
Avoid handling or removing baby chipmunks when it is clear that the mother chipmunk is nearby. This significantly reduces the chance of the baby chipmunk surviving. Additionally, handled animals can pick up your scent on their skin. This will cause the mother chipmunk, in almost all cases, to abandon her young because instead of detecting her own scent on them, she smells your scent.
Chipmunks have been known to carry rabies. Use care to avoid infection when around wild animals and transport the chipmunk to a wild animal rescue center as soon as possible.
Chipmunks are lively creatures that many find make good pets. Whether you are mating your chipmunks or simply purchasing one, it is important to know the gender of your chipmunk. Knowing the sex of your pet is also important when determining how you will house him, as you shouldn’t place a male and female together, unless you are prepared for baby chipmunks. With a little practice and a deciphering eye, it’s easy to tell whether your chipmunk is male or female.
Pick your chipmunk up with your hands and place him on his back, with his rear closest to you. Your chipmunk will probably wiggle and protest, therefore, it may take a few times to successfully keep the rodent on its back.
Locate the genitals and anus. These features can be found towards the end of the chipmunk and will appear as two distinct bumps.
Look at the genital area, which is located above the anus. In the genital area, males will have two bumps that are about one centimeter apart from each other. In females, the bumps are touching each other.
Tips & Warnings
If you are attempting to breed your chipmunks, it many take a few tries before you find two mates that are compatible. Introduce them both to their crate and closely monitor them to see if they get along. It is normal for chipmunks to play fight, but if you feel that they are actually fighting and are in danger of hurting each other, remove them and think about finding new mates.
If you are keeping your chipmunk as a pet, be sure to keep him safe from any other pets you may have. You many want to consider attaching bells to the collars of your dogs or cats, so that you can keep track of their locations. They may only want to play with the chipmunk, but they can accidentally cause serious harm.
|Gizmo the fox, getting a treat for shaking my hand.|
People are under the mistaken impression that most animals can’t be trained. The claim is often that they’re not smart enough (or are too smart) or that they’re too wild.
Well, I’ve worked with everything from dogs to foxes to cats to chinchillas to rats, and the more animals I deal with, the more I get the impression that you can train anything with a brain stem. Even my cornsnakes have shown that they’re capable of learning and adapting (though not to the same impressive degree that mammals and birds can).
Although the individual techniques vary from species to species, there are a few rules of thumb that apply across the board.
#1. Keep It Fun!
I cannot stress enough the importance of keeping a fun, upbeat attitude while training. This is important for any animal, but more so for a pet fox or other exotic pet. Almost all dogs have an innate desire to please their humans, and will tolerate unpleasantness to make them happy. Cats, pet foxes, and other animals, however, have no inborn desire to please you; they live to please themselves. While this “selfish” attitude is important for survival in the wild, it can be a real challenge to training.
An unhappy or bored fox is unlikely to learn anything, so it’s up to you to keep every training session fun and upbeat, with lots of treats and praise to hold your pet’s interest.
#2. Correct, Don’t Scold!
Avoid scolding your pet during training sessions, and never hit or otherwise cause pain. Doing so will only teach them to dread and fear training sessions, or worse, to dread and fear you.
I even recommend you don’t use your typical “scolding” word during training. If your pet gets a harsh “BAD!” or “NO!” when he’s being naughty, use a different tone and phrase to correct an error during training. When Gizmo goes to get in the trash, I growl “No!” in a harsh, angry tone. When I tell him to lay down and he tries to shake, I say “Try again” in a low, calm voice. The goal is to convey “That’s not what I’m looking for,” not “You’re in trouble!”
#3. Always End on a High Note
How the training session ends has the biggest impact on an animal’s memory, so be sure to finish on a high note to keep him eager for the next time.
The easiest way to do this is to always end with a success. If your cat or pet fox just isn’t getting the new concept you’re trying to teach, and you want to stop, have him do a simple trick he already knows and reward him before ending the training session.
#4. Don’t Train in a Bad Mood
This goes both for you and your pet. If you’re in a rotten mood, your voice will be harsher, your frustration threshold lower, and your patience limited. Your pet will pick up on these signals, and may read them as a correction even if he’s displaying the behavior you want. If you’re giving him a treat but you smell mad, these mixed messages will confuse him and can even set his training back. It’s better to skip a day of training than to try and hide a bad mood.
On the other hand, trying to teach an agitated animal is often an exercise in futility. Right after a bath or a trip to the vet is a bad time for a training session. A cat or pet fox that is all wound up, even if it’s happy, can also be difficult to teach–if he’s squirrely and hyper, it’s a better idea to use up some of that energy by playing with him and save the training for later.
#5. Keep Sessions Short
As I’ve said before, bored animals don’t make good learners (the same applies to people!). Unfortunately, your typical cat, fox, dog, chinchilla, etc., has an attention span comparable to that of most toddlers. To hold their interest, keep training sessions short and fun.
Five three-minute-long sessions are better than one fifteen-minute-long one, and it’s always best to call it quits while your pet is still eager for more–Don’t wait for them to get bored!
#6. Be Consistent
Consistency has a huge impact on how quickly your pet will learn; the fewer mixed messages you send, the better. If you’re teaching your pet fox to sit up on her hind legs, don’t say “sit pretty” one day and “beg” the next. If the sofa is off-limits, don’t let your dog sleep there one day, then scold him the next. If you use hand signals along with verbal commands (which I highly recommend), keep the hand signals the same from one day to the next.
Even being consistent in your choice of training area can be helpful. If you train in one particular place all the time, when your pet sees that he’s being taken there, he’ll often go right into a learning frame of mind.
#7. Don’t Push Too Hard
Especially after being met with a little bit of success, novice trainers often fall into the trap of rushing ahead and trying to teach too much too quickly. Resist the urge to rush, and you’ll save both yourself and your animal a lot of frustration.
If you’ve moved ahead, and your pet just isn’t having any success, there is no shame in going back to a previous step.
#8. Keep Rewards Small
When using food rewards, use small tidbits that your pet can crunch down quickly. If you use large or chewy treats, your pet will fill up quickly and lose interest in training faster. Also, a treat that takes too long to eat will interrupt the flow of the training session.
#9 Keep Rewards Good (But not too good)
You want the rewards to be good–good enough to motivate your pet, but not sogood that it’ll chew through your hand to get to them. This can be a surprisingly difficult balance to strike. Most dogs have a natural inhibition towards biting, but foxes and other exotic pets generally lack this. If the treat is good enough, they’ll often have no problem biting to see if they can make you drop it.
Two brands I’ve found work well for this are Pounce and Temptation brand cat treats. They’re small, tasty, and they come in such a wide variety of flavors that it’s easy to keep the treats novel and interesting for your pet.
Bringing a pet into your home – and your heart – offers so many benefits. Laughter, love and joy are three wonderful things I have an abundance of, thanks in large part to my three cats. Pets provide companionship to the lonely, and they can be great teachers for children too. Encouraging children to take an active role in caring for a pet helps them learn important life skills and lessons, while also learning about responsible pet ownership. Here are eight essential skills the family pet can teach your children.
Giving children age-appropriate chores related to feeding, grooming, and cleaning up after the family pet helps them understand what it means to be responsible, dependable and conscientious. Taking care of a pet teaches children the importance of being reliable, since the pet is counting on them to provide what they need. At the same time, tasks like bathing, brushing and grooming can deepen the bond between pet and child.
Patience and Consistency
House-breaking a puppy or a kitten can teach children to be patient, because young animals do not learn everything they need to know overnight. Some pets are slower to learn than others and thus require more time and effort, but consistent methods are a vital element of training success. Having your child help with the pet’s house-breaking and other training helps them learn that patience and consistency will pay off in the end.
Goal Setting and Perseverance
Children can learn about the process of goal setting and achievements by being involved in training a pet, be it for house-breaking, performing tricks or obedience training. When they put in the persistent effort these things require, they’re not only rewarded with a well trained pet, but an increased sense of pride and self worth at what they have accomplished.
As pack animals, dogs do best in a household where there is a pack hierarchy and an established leader. Although that person should ideally be an adult, you andyour dog can teach your child what it means to be a good leader, one who your dog willingly and happily follows.
Having a pet in the family opens the door to a wide variety of emotions that are very important for children to discover and articulate. Pets can help children learn to express feelings of love, compassion, caring and concern. And experiencing the sadness involved in saying goodbye when a pet passes away, helps children learn to deal with loss.
Although kindness is not exactly what I would call a “life skill,” I’m including it because, of all the things pets can teach children, I think it might be the most important. Children who are taught to be kind to animals grow up to become compassionate adults who treat both humans and animals with kindness and respect throughout their lifetime. That, in my opinion, is a priceless lesson to learn.
So you see, pets can teach children a great many skills that will help them grow up to become well-adjusted members of our society. When you add in the pure delight pets can bring to a child, it seems unthinkable to let them grow up in a house without one.
I’m a dog lover. We call our Italian greyhounds, Marty and Cooper, our little angels! If I ever found myself sick enough to be in the hospital, I would hope my little pups would be allowed to visit me during my stressful times. That begs the question to be asked? What does your hospital pet policy say? Can patients bring service dogs or other family pets to the bedside for some comforting animal assisted therapy?
That was a question I found myself asking the other day. I know I’d seen pets in the hospital during the course of my normal work, but I’d never taken the time to understand what my hospital policy was. What if a patient asked me about our policy for allowing pets in the hospital? I found myself searching for answers.
Some facilities may balk at the thought of allowing entry of pets into the hospital. These folks don’t understand the comforting power of pet therapy. In fact, many hospitals offer animal therapy with designated dogs and their trained volunteers. Should all pets be allowed into a patient’s room? Should only pets with proven immunization records by allowed entry? Should size be a factor? How about potty training status. These are all reasonable questions to ask when introducing a family pet into a patient’s period of recovery.
I took this time to review the pet policy at my own institution. The first introductory paragraph detailed all the added benefits of allowing animals into the patient’s healing process, noting that studies have shown improvement in patient cardiovascular parameters, muscle rigidity, social interaction and psychological well being. My hospital went on to define three specific scenarios of having animals in the hospital. These were:
- Animal Assisted Therapy (ATT), defined as a goal directed intervention involving a skilled handler and a trained animal to provide a therapy used to help the patient heal.
- Personal pet visitation, which I think is self explanatory.
- Service dogs, which are animals trained to provide assistance to disabled patients.
I presume animal assisted therapy involves organized pet therapy interventions. These are the animals I have seen over the years. As for the service dogs, some students have sued their University, and won, when their school refused to allow them to have their family pet in their dorm room. These students filed a lawsuit under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by claiming their dog was necessary for their emotional well being. The court agreed and provided students an opportunity to bring their family pet with them if they had physician documentation supporting this mental health need.
What about pets? Should hospitals allow visitation rights to any family pet? What are the restrictions or requirements? It’s an important topic to review. Many patients may find allowing their pets at the bedside to be a great patient satisfaction issue. With Medicare reducing payments to hospitals that fail to keep their patients happy, I suspect most hospitals will allow families to bring pets to the bedside.
Unfortunately, many doctors may not be happy having pets around their post operative site. The way I see it, many patients go home and physicians have no control over what their pets do. Many patients have been around their pets for years and are not at risk of contracting a communicable disease. In fact, I suspect, patients are more likely to get a surgical site infection from doctors and nurses who don’t wash their hands than they are from a family pet. Many nurses may not want a pet in the room disrupting their work flow.
As a pet lover and believer in the value of pet therapy, I was happy to see my hospital allows pets at the bedside, with some reasonable restrictions, including:
- The pet must be accompanied an adult who will take responsibility for the pet. I said responsible adult. Remember that.
- Pets will be limited to dogs, cats and rabbits, to the exclusion of amphibians, birds and non-human primates due to the increased risk of disease transmission. That means you have to leave your pet monkey at home.
- Pets should not be near the beside of neutropenic patients, undergoing solid organ transplant or bone marrow transplant, burn patients or critically ill patients. In my opinion, I think some family should not be allowed near them either.
- Pet’s must be housebroken. This rule does not apply to family, only the pets.
- Vaccination records should be current. If you are an antivaxxer, please keep fido away from our hospital.
- Animals must be well groomed and free of skin leasons, ticks and fleas. Again, I don’t believe this rule applies to family members, but I might be wrong.
- Disruptive and aggressive pets will be asked to leave. Disruptive patients and their families, on the other hand will be offered free meal tickets and a carton of cigarettes as arbitration. You know, to keep them happy.
In addition, I learned no physician order is required by me for my patients to be allowed visitation by their pet dogs, cats or rabbits. I think that’s appropriate. I don’t need to give the OK when less than sanitary family visits grandma in the hospital after her cholecystectomy.
I don’t think my patients’ dogs or cats are any more likely to make my patients sick in the hospital than they are at home. I have no control over their actions once they leave the hospital. Perhaps ObamaCare has given us a right to remove pets from the homes of our patients as a readmission prevention measure. I’ll have to look into that. I think our failures in hand washing as doctors and nurses are more dangerous than any cute little puppy or kitty Mrs Smith can bring to the bedside. In fact, the next phase of ObamaCare mandates that all visiting pets achieve greater than 90% on their satisfaction scores as well. Welcome to the hospital Fido, can I get you a warm towel and some biscuits?