Species-Specific Needs
Bear in mind that different species may have specific needs regarding their senses. For example:

Birds need about 12 hours of good, quality sleep each night to remain in peak condition. Covering the birdcage at night might be helpful if the bird is in a room where lights are left on longer for reading. As long as a dark, quiet, and somewhat secluded area is provided for a bird to sleep in, most will thrive without being covered at night. Remember, however, that sleep is vital to a bird’s well-being. If you are in doubt about your bird’s reaction to being uncovered, play it safe and resume covering the cage at night.

Cats have a very acute sense of smell and may experience perfumes, cleaning products, or other species’ scents as stressful stimuli.

Dogs are sensitive to flooring or other standing surfaces such as examination tabletops. Slippery footing can cause them to be anxious and uncertain of their footing.

Rabbits are a prey species. Domestic rabbits can die from heart attacks at the very approach of a predator, so keeping them out of sight, scent and sound of dogs is needed.

Guinea pigs, as prey animals, are generally nervous of new sights, sounds and smells. They love to hide, so offering them hay is good for their diet and also to provide them something to hide in. Additional hiding areas are preferred.

Snakes need a temperature gradient in their enclosure so they can choose the ambient temperature best suited to their current needs. They are very light sensitive and need complete darkness at night. Their water source should be large enough for them to fit in completely as they will use this for their internal temperature control, to remain hydrated and to assist them during shedding.

light bulb iconBy being aware of individual species’ needs, you can include strategies in your individual animal plans to improve and enhance their experience while in your care.

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