Super General Advice (the thread for advice without making a thread)

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by NevermorePoe, May 8, 2017.

  1. ChelG

    ChelG Well-Known Member

    I think I'd get a no on chickens and pigeons, they tend to be assumed to be outdoor creatures and I'd get the same rigmarole as the ferret thing. A tortoise or iguana might get a yes. Fish definitely would, but I'm a little paranoid about knocking tanks over because I'm clumsy as heck, plus, as said above, you can't cuddle them. I do remember there's an exotics breeder not too far from me who has short-tailed opossums, which aren't herbivorous but, well, at least there's no specific rule against them, and they're tiny and silent. Ooh! Or maybe sugar gliders.
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2020
  2. TheOwlet

    TheOwlet A feathered pillow filled with salt and science

    iirc, quails also aren't super noisy. Like, they make some noises but nothing that I think would be super disruptive or carry through walls.
  3. TheOwlet

    TheOwlet A feathered pillow filled with salt and science

    Sugar gliders aren't properly domesticated, nocturnal, group animals and iirc they do smell. So I....really wouldn't be voting for them
    • Agree x 2
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  4. ChelG

    ChelG Well-Known Member

    Well, I'm pretty much nocturnal too, but I see your point. Will investigate other options first. Probably should, once lockdown is lifted, go check out a few of the options in person at pet stores/breeders/rescues.
  5. Verily

    Verily a very ineffective hitman

    As someone who has pet sit for people with sugar gliders for sometimes two weeks at a time, I really, really would not recommend them to anyone with spoon issues. They’re adorable, but they are super active. One major reason I was a preferred pet sitter even other than availability was that I was digitally connected to friends and entertainment that wouldn’t introduce too much light into the room, and therefore was quite happy to spend well over half an hour supervising sugar glider playtime every night. (ETA: To be clear, half an hour was the bare minimum they felt they could ask of a pet sitter, probably not what a sugar glider actually needs to thrive. The friend who owned the sugar gliders was thrilled that I was fine hanging there having a conversation over voip with internet friends for an hour and a half.)

    Because they aren’t completely domesticated, they can’t be left to run around freely. My friend converted a spare bathroom into a sugar glider playroom, which was convenient because if you needed the toilet it was right there. You couldn’t just come and go because it was risky as far as possible escape, and also it was possible that you might hit them with the door if you entered the room suddenly.

    Like rats, they can’t see as far into the red light spectrum as humans, so the lightbulbs in the room were extremely red LEDs. I could bring electronics in as long as I could reasonably protect them from being investigated and peed on in the process, but I wouldn’t have felt comfortable with anything that threw off too much light. I’d watch Netflix on my phone sometimes, but only with the screen light down super extra low using accessibility features. That was by far the brightest thing I’d bring in there.

    Sugar gliders are not potty trained. They will pee and poop on you and everything in their play area. It needs regular washing or it will smell. Their favorite thing to climb will probably be you. They will take flying leaps onto you.

    They are territorial. If they’re raised together, they’ll be okay. Otherwise they will probably hurt each other fighting.

    Their dietary needs are challenging. My friend fed them fruit, vegetables, and protein. But of course they weren’t that invested in having a balanced diet. She ended up blending each and freezing them in an ice cube tray so they wouldn’t go bad. Feeding the sugar gliders involved taking a fruit cube, a veggie cube, and a protein cube, defrosting them in the microwave on a plate, then mixing them throughly with a fork. The plate was left in the cage overnight so they’d have plenty of time to eat, and it didn’t smell remotely spoiled by the time you went to clean the dried remains off, but it wasn’t exactly roses either. (ETA 2: Oh yeah, and it attracted ants in the spring if you didn’t clean it up at the crack of dawn.)

    They have to go to the vet like any pet. One of my friend’s gliders developed a thyroid deficiency and had to be administered liquid hormone replacement twice every day using a syringe with no needle. He didn’t love that, and if would be almost impossible to catch a reluctant sugar glider with your hands, so you had to be sure to get him in the cloth pouch after he went to sleep and before he woke up.

    Even with a play room, they need a large cage to move around in. Unless you have a spot that gets excellent sunlight all year, they’ll need a lamp with a timer as well. The cage needs plenty of items for enrichment, and they need periodic changes. Anything cloth needs regular washing. There are large wheels for rats that are built to protect them against getting their tails caught, which is a great idea because sugar gliders have very long tails, and they will probably use them frequently all night and it will be a bit noisy.

    I’d highly recommend something like the tortoise or the bearded dragon instead. They still have needs, particularly with setting up their habitat, but you can let them roam free in the house if you’ve taken safety measures and don’t mind cleaning up poop from the floor sometimes. They don’t have the metabolism of a tiny marsupial that navigates with flying leaps, so it’s much more manageable.

    ETA 3: Sugar gliders bark sometimes. It’s unpredictable. I only heard it a few times, and only once for an extended period of time, but apparently they did it several nights in a row at one point, waking my friends up. It’s loud and somewhat alarming, and it usually happens in the middle of the night because they’re nocturnal. (It happened once when I was on voip from the playroom and my friend could not get over how much he had never heard that specific noise before for the entire duration, even after lengthy assurances of the apparently perfectly normal state of the sugar glider in every other respect.) Your neighbors might not like that, and you really wouldn’t be able to do anything about it besides not encourage them to use it to get your attention by rushing over and giving them a lot of attention if they’re noisy. So basically there is nothing you can do about it.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2020
    • Informative x 7
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  6. Verily

    Verily a very ineffective hitman

    The same friends had a terrarium with a bearded dragon and a... I wanna say Russian tortoise? They were perfectly happy cohabitants, though they’d compete for the favorite hiding spot. Never violently, just by occupying it while the other was distracted. They had sun lamps on timers as well as a thermostat with heating element that stuck to the side of the terrarium. As cold blooded desert animals, they needed a temperature controlled environment with a selection of places to sun themselves or rest in the shade. The top of the terrarium was wire mesh to prevent escape attempts (from the dragon; the tortoise wasn’t gonna get up there) but allow free air flow. Other than regular vet checkups, the electric bill would probably be the biggest challenge unless there is difficulty acquiring a constant supply of fresh leafy greens, in which case that’s an insurmountable problem and all other problems are moot.

    The bearded dragon was the more mobile (and gosh are they delightful when they run; their legs pinwheel like a cartoon and it’s fabulous), though both were pretty darn fast when they wanted to be. Turns out bearded dragons can leap several feet vertically. I never saw this with my own eyes. I just drove myself to distraction one day when a smooth log that had been providing a ramp up to the highest sunning ledge fell to the bottom of the cage, and I absolutely could not get it back in place in any way that felt stable enough to be safe. It just wouldn’t stay. I’d texted my friend and felt pretty silly but relieved when he eventually was able to check his phone and told me the dragon could easily jump onto the ledge from the ground if he wanted to be there. The tortoise could not leap, but when left to roam he did figure out how to wedge his shell into a corner with two door jambs so he could climb straight up the wall. So they were both pretty self sufficient and adventurous when given a chance to roam, would pretty much never chew on things that weren’t plants and not usually those either, and could safely be in the same space as the cats. (The cats were slightly curious or worried depending on individual temperament. The reptiles didn’t seem to ping their hunting instincts at all. The tortoise could hide in his shell if he wanted, but there was no real need. Neither reptile had much reaction to the cats except perhaps blinking at them inscrutably until the cat lost interest or got freaked out enough to leave, neither of which took very long. The way they moved, statue still sometimes and then suddenly not in a way warm blooded animals of that size just can’t do, seemed to startle the cats more than intrigue them.) It was still a good idea to keep an eye on them. A tortoise really shouldn’t be let to possibly fall seven feet, even if he went out of his way to climb that high his damn fool self and seems content to be there.

    They both ate leafy greens daily, which probably needed to be varied to provide good nutrition, but I didn’t have much to do with that, as leafy greens can be kept in the fridge for a fairly long time if you store them well. I think I might have gone shopping at the grocery store on one occasion, with a list of what was okay for them? It can’t have been a very big deal if I don’t remember. They both loved dandelions, and since my friends didn’t use any pesticides in their yard, I could pick some occasionally and bring them in. The terrarium had a good view of the yard, and the bearded dragon would become visibly excited when he saw me approaching with dandelions.

    Three times a week they would need their food dusted with calcium powder so they wouldn’t become deficient. Because a desert animal would not usually be able to drink enough water to survive, they had a water dish which they would use, but it wasn’t sufficient hydration because they just don’t operate that way. Apparently in the desert they would dig into the ground until they found moisture and absorb it through their skin. You obviously don’t want to try to have a moist section of a terrarium because ewwww, so to compensate for that, you stop a sink and fill it with comfortable lukewarm water, catch the animal, and put it in the water to soak for a little while. The tortoise didn’t like this. The bearded dragon was perfectly chill but would often poop in the sink. Neither could be left unsupervised for safety and/or escape reasons, but it wasn’t anything like a sugar glider length of time, was hands on and entertaining enough without being at all demanding, and also only needed to be done three times a week, so coordinated perfectly with calcium days.

    Carrying reptiles has its quirks. They are generally pretty easy to catch but less easy to hold. A bearded dragon does best if you support its tail. They get rather big, so this may take some figuring out. If you do not support the dragon sufficiently, it will probably whip its tail in frantic circles while gripping you with its scratchy, scratchy claws. A tortoise that does not want to be held, which is probably most tortoises as they leave the ground, is surprisingly good at putting up a fight and seemingly has no sense of self preservation regarding falls versus their chances against whatever grabbed them. There really is no way to do this to avoid making the tortoise uncomfortable while maintaining a safe grip that I know of. Their legs are much stronger than a human hand, and they can and will push your hands off their shell unless your hands are quite large and can stay totally out of their reach (my friend’s are; mine aren’t), so while it’s not really difficult to securely carry a tortoise, it’s a dynamic adaptive two handed process. The wriggling isn’t fast, it’s just that the initial pressure of a leg will soon build far beyond your ability to resist without shifting your hand.

    I’m not sure what the cleaning procedure would look like for a reptile terrarium because I was literally too small to attempt it. I couldn’t even reach the uneaten leafy greens on the designated raised food stone at the bottom of the cage because my arms weren’t long enough. It wasn’t something that could have been reasonably fixed with a higher place to stand, because the length of my arm from shoulder to hand was simply too short, and I can’t imagine a very safe way to physically lean my upper body into the terrarium from above. (On the plus side, it was solid and heavy enough that I was never in any danger of tipping it even with my entire body weight, and it was a glass aquarium style tank so presumably it was built to withstand the constant pressure of however many gallons of water it could have held. A lot. Tanks are way, way sturdier than you might imagine because water does not fuck around, and neither do fish enthusiasts.) Probably because of the climate control, even two weeks was not enough to make a gross mess. I didn’t want to underfeed the reptiles, so they got a bit more food than they actually ate. The uneaten greens dried up and got tracked around a bit as desiccated green scraps rather than rotting grossly. No stink, from that or anything else. The bearded dragon would shed his skin periodically and sometimes needed a little extra bath time if it gave him any trouble, but that didn’t make a gross mess either. Reptiles have slow enough metabolisms that a large enough tank for their comfort could go uncleaned for two weeks without getting at all disgusting. I don’t know if this is the best thing for the animals, but these friends, who medicated their sugar glider twice a day for years and had two handmade illustrated charts of dog commands so they would be consistent, would never have left their pets with someone who was unable to keep them safe and healthy without making further arrangements, so even if it wasn’t ideal, I can’t imagine it was dangerous. But just from my perspective, it was very not filthy, which I feel is a noteworthy quality in a pet.

    The one thing about reptiles is that they carry salmonella on their skin. As far as I’m aware there’s no reason to be concerned about them running around where they please on your floor (or walls if they are a very clever and naughty tortoise), but you must wash your hands thoroughly after touching them or cleaning up after them. You can use the kitchen sink for reptile baths, but it needs to be washed thoroughly before for their safety, then after for your safety, whether or not anyone relieves themselves in the bath. Bearded dragon droppings are wet enough to make you feel very sad about carpet, though it’s more yucky as a concept than particularly smelly, difficult to deal with, or likely to stain even off-white carpet (and yes I know this from personal experience), but they are just exceptionally easy to clean from sinks. Again, yucky as a concept but not actually a Deal. I don’t remember tortoise droppings at all. I don’t think they presented any particular difficulty. Neither one ever went to the bathroom on me. I’m not sure if they wouldn’t as a rule, but they never did.

    They are both very quiet animals on the whole. A bearded dragon will make quite a singular ruckus while moving around in a terrarium. They have clawed toes and rough skin with nifty horned pokey bits, neither of which are at all sharp, but my word does it make a commotion when moving along surfaces, especially rock or synthetic rocklike surfaces for reptiles. It sounds like really, really angry dry leaves. But it’s not loud so much as strange, it won’t be happening constantly for very long at any time unless something is really unusual, neighbors probably won’t even hear it, and it’s quite easy to get used to and tune out even if your dragon is feeling restless that day. Both these animals are diurnal and may move around at night but probably not a whole lot. The tortoise would sometimes squeeze between a log and the glass and make a squeaky window wiping noise, or dig around with his strong, strong legs and make noise by shifting a log or other item around, but that was about it.

    Environmental enrichment is still important, especially good hiding spots, but it’s nothing approaching the needs of a tiny, hyperactive warm blooded pet. While it’s good to let them explore sometimes and neither one of these animals is domesticated enough to stay contained of their own will, they’re not gonna suddenly scamper up the drapes and leap for the cabinets. Some days they won’t feel like moving around much even in their habit, and that’s fine.
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  7. ChelG

    ChelG Well-Known Member

    Does anyone know if there's a way to get a parcel forwarded from Greece? I wanna buy some limited-edition merch that's only available on a Greek website, they won't answer emails, no one on the phone speaks English, and people on r/greece were unhelpful.
  8. IndigoRiffRaff


    Weird audio issue with my laptop. It's a few years old, Windows 10, and the last couple months I've been having this issue that every time I wake it up after putting it to sleep or shutting it down it'll have messed with my audio levels. The main output level will be the same as it was, but when I look in the sound mixer most applications (including system sounds) will be turned down really low (e.g. just now I had the volume set to 15 but system sounds and the other two things I had running, Chrome and Discord, were all down to I think 5?). WTF is happening and how can I make it stop?
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