Chinchillas are SO interesting!  

So you have a Chin or you’ve thought about getting one?  There are some fun things that you might not know about them, here’s a few!

Chinchillas can JUMP!  As high as SIX feet, maybe more!  So if you get one, you have to have really tall panels to “fence” them into their exercise area! They also need a tall cage with lots of shelves and perches so they can climb and hop while you’re not there.

Photo by Benjamin Gros via Pixabay

Chinchillas like company, and two females are probably your best bet.  Two males usually don’t get along after they’re adults, and one will get picked on.  Or you can get your boys neutered by a veterinarian that does exotic animals!

Their teeth grow continuously, and if they don’t chew a LOT, the teeth can overgrow.  This becomes a health issue that you can’t fix yourself, so it’s much more practical to just keep lots of good chew blocks around.I

A Chin that’s been ‘caught’ can actually “blow” its fur.  They’ll loose a lot of hairs and have a bald spot, but it can happen.  They only do this is they feel really threatened, though.

Photo by ElisKostkova via Pixabay

A happy Chinchilla will stand up on its hind feet and dance!  Some Chins have been caught on video dancing to their favorite tunes, it’s just adorable.  They are very sensitive to sound, and some owners leave the radio on for company.

Chinchillas like to have a bath EVERY day, but they don’t care for water at all. They take dust baths to clean their fur…

Chinchilla ready to hop into his bath!
Photo by AmberRVT via Pixabay

Chinchillas have the most plush fur – it’s so dense that they’re never bothered by fleas or ticks like most furry critters.

Chinchillas have very fragile bones ( a lot like bird’s) so they aren’t thought of a s a good pet for smaller or more active kids. It’s too easy to get excited and start dancing with a happy Chin and stumble or trip…

Your kids really want to get a Chin of their very own? Get this Journal and learn lots more useful information before you take that big step!

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And Bluebirds, too!

Yesterday we saw our first Bluebirds of the year! I’m always thrilled to see these gorgeous birds, and my husband and son have been building and posting Bluebirds boxes for years. Back home in Arizona, Jim had around twenty boxes posted all along our fenceline. Of course, there we watched Mountain Bluebirds like this one…

Photo by Andrea Reiman via Unsplash

There isn’t anything I’ve seen yet like a flock of 50 or 60 of these incredible birds flying in waves over our stockpond, landing, taking off, all in unison like one giant bird-thing – all looking like bits of sky themselves!

Here in Kentucky, we’re watching Eastern Bluebirds, though, and I’ve not seen them flock the way Westerns do. They’re still incredible beautiful, and in reading up on them, I found that there’s a Kentucky Bluebird Society whose aim is to foster awareness and encourage people to hang boxes for these gorgeous cavity-nesting birds.

Eastern Bluebird
Photo by theSOARnet via Pixabay


Bluebird populations had dropped dramatically over the last hundred years here in the US, but are making a comeback partially due to the building and hanging of bluebird boxes in many parts of the country. Bluebirds like to stake out their nesting cavity very early in the year, and now is a great time to hang one in your yard.
Bluebirds will raise two or three clutches each year, and it’s advisable to clean out the nest box every winter at the least, so you want a box that has a hinged lid.
If you have a flat bottomed bird feeder that’s squirrel-proofed, you can add some dried or live mealworms to it as soon as you spot a Bluebird in your area to draw them in.

Bluebirds don’t start actually nesting until around March, but they’ll defend their chosen territory as soon as they’ve picked their spot. When she does start to lay eggs, the hen will stay really close to the box even when she comes out to feed and go potty.

Eastern Bluebird pair – photo by Benoit Gauzere via Unsplash

Some interesting facts about Bluebirds:

*Pairs are usually monogamous through the breeding season, and may stay together for longer.

*Both birds will defend their territory, with the male bird taking on the edges and the female the nest site.

*Adult Bluebirds return to the same area every year, but very few juveniles return the same place where they were raised.

*Bluebirds have great vision – they can spot an insect or caterpillar in tall grass over 50 yards away!

*Family groups will flock together until Fall, when they’ll form larger groups by joining other families.

Photo by the nature lady via Pixabay


Another interesting thing I learned is that some Bluebird young will hang out with their parents and help feed the next bunch of baby birds. I’ve not seen this behavior, but I do know this is fairly uncommon!

And, here in Kentucky, we’re considered part of the South, and Bluebirds don’t necessarily migrate every year, so it very well could be that our birds here are year-round residents.

Here are a few more fun facts:

*Bluebirds can fly up to 17 miles per hour.

*Bluebirds are native to North America, and aren’t found anywhere else in the world

*Bluebirds have to contend with competition from Starlings, especially for good nesting spots!


© Publicdomainphotos | Stock Free Images

So, enjoy watching out for Bluebirds this Spring, and hang a couple of boxes in your yard to make them feel welcome!

Sugar glider, Honey bear….

Cute sugar glider at home

You know that incredibly cute animal at the flea markets that they call a sugar glider or honey bear?  Well, they’ll sell you that adorable thing without telling you some REALLY important information!!

Before you spend your hard-earned money on a TINY creature that “isn’t any trouble at all”, make sure you read this!! 

One:  Sugar gliders are NOCTURNAL.  This means that they come out at night, and that’s when they want attention, food and water.  If you aren’t a night person, think about how that will affect your home life!  They WILL run around in their cage, run on their wheel, and they do BARK when they want something!! 

Two:  Sugar gliders REQUIRE a special diet to stay healthy, and they can easily live 15 years!  This means you will have to make batches of food ahead and freeze it in ice cube trays, in order to feed them properly.  The ingredients aren’t hard to find, and it’s not difficult to make, but you can’t just feed them dry food like you can a dog or cat.

Three:  Sugar gliders are NOT a child’s pet!  They will nip or bite if they get scared, and they have very sharp teeth!  They can also nip you accidentally when you are giving them treats, and they CAN draw blood easily!

Comet and friends

Four:  Sugar gliders require DAILY handling.  If you are a person who gets tired easily or has to travel a lot, this is NOT the pet for you!! You MUST get them out of their cage EVERY DAY to play, jump and climb on you.

Five:  Gliders do NOT potty train (as a general rule)!  They will mark you as their territory and this means you get pooped and peed on every day!  If you are very picky about this sort of thing, this is NOT the pet for you!

SIX:  Male gliders CAN and SHOULD be neutered! They will continue to breed the females as long as they are alive!  Neutering decreases their odor, and ensures that you don’t end up with a colony of 30 from the original 3 you brought home (True Story)!

Ivory

And besides all that, they need some other things!  A REALLY BIG special cage, designed for gliders or small birds, in order to have lots of toys and branches to play on while you are sleeping is an absolute necessity.  A veterinarian who has training in exotic animal care to get your male gliders neutered when they are old enough (this will help limit the strength of that smell as well as prevent you ending up with the colony of 37 instead of 2).  Oh, did I not mention that they can be SMELLY? Yes, sugar gliders DO have a “musky” odor.  If you don’t get your males fixed, they can be pretty strong. Most of us glider people don’t mind the little bit that remains.

There is a lot of information on the Internet, but honestly, you really have to dig to find ACCURATE stuff.  There are multiple glider rescues out there who are in the business of helping people who get overwhelmed with life,for instance they end up having to move, only to find out that the state they’re moving to has a law against owning gliders. It’s very easy to work with these people and they will educate you on all the things you need to know!

There are plenty of reputable breeders out there who are doing a great job of tracking where their babies go and who’s breeding with who.  If you decide that you want a baby, PLEASE find a GOOD responsible breeder!  This means that you won’t end up with a glider whose parents were siblings, has multiple health problems or who will die just as you really get attached.  A GOOD breeder will always want to keep in contact and help you out.  They can help you find a local veterinarian who does annual checkups, neuters and answers questions!!!

There are several reputable Glider owner and rescue groups on FaceBook.  If you’re not sure where to look, drop me an email at FlamingPurpleJellyfish@gmail.com and I will be happy to get you hooked in! 

Also, I recommend “My Sugar Glider Journal”, (available on Amazon at  https://amzn.to/2xlars6 ) as a way to get some more information, and to give yourself time to really decide if gliders are right for you!

In conclusion, Sugar gliders are NOT for everyone, but if you decide you want to be one of those special people, PLEASE be responsible and do it right.  There are too many gliders out there who suffer in terrible conditions, and you don’t want to make it worse, do you?

Copyright 2018 LeslieAnne Hasty All Rights Reserved

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The Robins are here!

Every year our American Robins migrate south for the winter, and the next year I’m always pleased to see the first one of the year!

My hubby says that I’m easily surprised, and , really, they do re-appear every year, so why does it make me happy to see them?

kyle-johnston-749890-unsplash

Photo by Kyle Johnston on Unsplash

I guess most of it is the knowledge that Spring is surely close behind, and Winter has gotten to be pretty miserable by this time of year.  It’s also a reminder of the mysterious ways that the creatures we share the planet with continue to do what they do, ignoring people and getting ready for the renewal of Spring.

Robins are such a familiar sight here in the Appalachian mountains that most people don’t pay much attention to them.  I’ve been fascinated with birds for many years, and love to watch them hop around in the grass searching for insects.

In looking for more information about our native Robins, I found some interesting facts.  You may have noticed that if you’re our mowing your lawn, the local Robins will be darned close behind, looking for easy pickings in the bug population.  They actually much prefer your lawn to be short and regularly mown, as it’s easier for them to capture their prey!

Another interesting study I read about showed a clear correlation between the Robins migrating out in the Fall and the rise in West Nile Virus in humans just after.  Apparently the mosquitoes that carry the virus can’t feed on the birds and so switch to humans, speeding up the rate of infection in humans!

Here’s a funny Robin fact for you; a group of Robins is called a “worm”!

That warm reddish orange breast, cheerful song and their appearance when winter’s  starting to lose ground to warmer weather makes them my early spring favorite.  They’re a member of the thrush family, all of which seem to have pretty songs, and apparently only live for a couple of years in the wild.  They have the prettiest sky-blue eggs, too…

ian-baldwin-25547-unsplash

Photo by Ian Baldwin on Unsplash

And in case you didn’t realize it, the European settlers named our American Robin after the English Robin, who’s actually in the flycatcher family and acts nothing like ours!

English Robin

allan-cox-522847-unsplashPhoto by Allan Cox on Unsplash

Robins like to live in open woodlands and urban areas.  In the Deep South, they’ll be found near big shade trees surrounded by lawns.

If you want Robins in your yard, make sure not to treat your lawn with insecticides – when you do that, you create a virtual ‘food desert’, and they’ll not bother to stay once they realize there’s nothing to eat there!

Sci-fi idea?

What If you could have your genes custom modified?  What would you change about yourself and why?  

I’d seriously consider getting spliced with a leopard or jaguar!

Think of how your senses would change – how much more intense the scents around you would become,  how different lighting would be and how much more information your brain would suddenly have to process!😘

If I were part jaguar, I’d be a lot more muscular, and probably grow a fur coat.  I wouldn’t care much to be out in the bright daylight, and would much prefer fresh meat to cooked anything!  I wonder how regular humans would react to someone so different, and I think most would be uncomfortable with the whole idea.  But really – Why?  Are humans still that insecure that they can’t share the planet?  If you look around you, you know it’s at least partially true.

In the future, will we be able to change the color of our skin, our eyes and hair?  Will we be able to grow our own replacement organs, so donation would disappear?  Why not?  What if it was commonplace to change your entire outward appearance, your internal biology, and how would it change society?

We humans are so visually oriented, and so judgmental, that it would be impossible for most people to come to grips with such a thing.  

What kind of person would choose this course (besides me)?  What would the motivation be, to make such a radical change in your physical self?  How would your family react, and your neighbors?  Your co-workers?  

My birds wouldn’t be at all comfy around me, my sugar gliders would completely freak out, and imagine the dogs and the horses!

What if….

Everyone has a cold except for me!

So my husband came down with a really bad head cold last week and has given it to our son.  Eek!  I’ve been avoiding them as much as I can in this big house!

On the positive side, the last three days I’ve been able to watch a pair of Downy Woodpeckers at the feeders, and I always seen to forget just how gorgeous that black and white plumage is!  They’re not very big, so the Titmice keep trying to chase them off, and the hen is a lot more shy than her mate.  She seems to fly for cover at the least little disturbance , while he busies himself at the suet block with a  real nonchalance!

The sunrise this morning was gorgeous, smears of rosy pink against a lavender grey background, hopefully that means we’ll see the sun today.

I moved my daddy budgie in with the young ones yesterday, he seemed pretty lonesome now that mommy bird passed away.  They are so funny when they  scold each other!   He tried really hard to pretend he didn’t want to be held, but honestly I’ve been bitten by ants that hurt a lot worse.  He wasn’t making much effort, not even closing his beak!

Here’s a look at three of the babies:

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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