Exotic Pets

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LOCAL VETERINARIAN DR. TRACY DUFFNER SPECIALIZES IN TREATING EXOTIC ANIMALS. HERE, SHE SHARES SOME FUN FACTS ABOUT THEM

Advice from Dr. Tracy Duffner

“Husbandry is the most important part of owning an exotic pet — 90% of what I have to do with exotic pets has to do with improper environment or care conditions.”

“If you are thinking about getting an exotic pet, make sure to reach out to an exotic pet vet first to learn about the care needs and commitment the animal will require.”

DUFFNER OWNS ISLAND HOLISTIC PET SERVICES, SERVING HILTON HEAD ISLAND AND BLUFFTON. SHE IS CERTIFIED IN VETERINARY ACUPUNCTURE, FOOD THERAPY AND NUTRITION AND IS PURSUING CERTIFICATION IN CHINESE HERBAL MEDICINE FOR ANIMALS.

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FERRETS

  • Most live to the age of 6 to 10.
  • They need a large cage with a dedicated sleeping space.
  • They’re extremely social and need a friend.
  • Dinner is served: They like raw chicken or beef and small mice.

HEDGEHOGS

  • Check the law books: It’s illegal to keep them as pets in some parts of the U.S.
  • One hedgehog has between 5,000-7,000 quills.
  • They live for 2-5 years.
  • They eat insects and weigh 1-2 pounds.

CHINESE WATER DRAGONS

  • They can live for up to 20 years.
  • They thrive in a large, warm and humid environment.
  • These dragons can sleep comfortably in water.

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AFRICAN CLAWED FROGS

  • They can live for up to 15 years.
  • Females often are double the size of males.
  • They spend most of their time in water.

AFRICAN MUD TURTLES

  • They can live for 50 years.
  • They like chicken, shrimp, ground turkey and strawberries.
  • These turtles are most comfortable in an aquatic and warm environment.

CHINCHILLAS

  • They can live for 20 years.
  • They thrive in cold weather; temperatures of 80 degrees or higher can be fatal for them.
  • They are very social animals and do not do well alone.
  • They are hypoallergenic.
  • Their tails are usually about 5-6 inches long.

BEARDED DRAGONS

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  • They wave their arms at other bearded dragons as a greeting.
  • They’re very easy-going and can be leash-trained or dressed up.
  • They need UV light, heat and moisture to thrive.
  • They eat insects and vegetables