Small Mammals

Husbandry, Feeding, Behavior and Physiologic Data - Small Mammals


Small mammals: Ferret Mustela putorius furo, Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus, Guineapig Cavia porcellus, Chinchilla Chinchilla lanigera, Rat Rattus norvegicus, Syrian hamster Mesocricetus auratus.



  • Know how to keep the main species at home
    • Housing: litter, substrate, shelter, out/indoor
    • Feeding: do we have to feed in a bowl?
    • Which are the most common mistakes?
  • Know the range of normal and abnormal
  • Know the main physiologic data
    • Lifespan, rectal temperature, respiratory and heart rate… , reproductive data…


One thing gathers all these mammals: All these animals are devoid of sweat glands. The maintenance of their body temperature is therefore difficult given the impossibility of sweating. Rodents, Lagomorphs and Mustelids are particularly sensitive to the heat stroke which occurs from 28 to 35 ° C depending on the species.  





  • Mustelidae, Mustela putorius furo
  • Domestication from 1800BC
  • Long thin strict carnivores with short legs

--> Students can look for information on specific website about husbandry and different types of ferrets housing (indoor/outdoor). So we can discuss the risks (run away, predation, poisoning, foreign bodies, bites, photoperiod) and the advantages.


  • Husbandry
    • Indoor or outdoor
    • Cage or ferrets room or total freedom
  • Outdoor housing
    • Traditional way for hunting ferrets
    • Becoming increasingly popular because of adrenocortical disease
    • Keep a cool (15 to 18°C) and dark sleeping area
    • Advantages: natural photoperiod and temperature variation, no problem with the musky odor. Access to natural soil is appreciated.
    • Disadvantages: weather too hot or too cold, predation, run away, less human interactions
  • Indoor housing
    • Usual husbandry of pet ferrets
    • Keep a dark sleeping area
    • Advantages: improved control on predation and run away risks, better socialization
    • Disadvantages: artificial photoperiod and temperature (suggested as contributory factors to adrenocortical disease), household risks (poisoning, foreign bodies…)
  • Husbandry – material
    • Wire cages (space between bars!), wooden housing (odor and hygiene), plastic cages (ventilation) or special ferrets’ room (ideal)
    • Litter: mineral or plant litter (dirt and dust), newspaper
    • Hay or straw bedding, or tissue (chewing! Hammocks, tents or tubes are greatly appreciated)
    • Ferret-proofing the environment!
  • Husbandry – companionship
    • Social and playful animals
    • Age groups
    • Never put 2 entire males together



  • Feeding: strict carnivore species
    • Short digestive tract and transit time (3 to 4h)
    • Industrial or BARF
      • BARF: Bones and Raw Food / Biologically Appropriate Raw Food
    • Dry or wet food
    • How to chose?
      • Explain the main advantages and disadvantages of each diet
      • Adapt it to the way of life the ferret (so, way of life of the owner)
    • In the wild (feral ferrets in NZ)
      • Hunting rabbits, chicks, eggs and rodents
      • Would never eat veggies (nor spontaneously or in digestive tract of the prey)
    • Numerous small meals
    • Store food: remove decomposing food item!
    • Food preferences set before 4 to 6 months old
    • Neophobic
    • With domestication, attraction to greasy, sweety and liquid meals, as well as plastic, silicons, rubber
    • Heavy bowls for food and water
    • Sipper bottel possible
    • Remove daily soiled food and water
    • Clean daily bowls and dishes
    • Remove food items that has been hidden

How to chose dry industrial diet?

  • List of ingredients
  • Nutritional analysis
    • Fiber content
    • Protein and fat contents
    • Calcium and phosphocalcic ratio
    • Avoid dyes, additives…

Homemade food

It can be specifically adapted to a ferret. But once the recipe is written by the neutritionist vet, it should not be modified.

All the ingredients have to be weighed and distributed altogether during the day.



  • Behavior
    • Extremely curious and explorer pet, very active and alert

Lethargy, reluctance to move, less curious, shorter duration of active phase

  • Inclination to juvenile behavior with domestication
  • Easy to train, but never 100%
  • Adapt easily to owner’s habits
  • More active et dawn and dusk usually
  • Lot of vocalisations
  • Normal agressive behavior: biting is communication!
  • Grooming habits: very consciencious!
  • Sleep a lot: until 20h a day!
  • Interaction with dogs and cats
    • Only under supervision (predation!)
  • Gentle handling from the youngest age permits a good human socialization
  • Excitemnt, fear: anal glands emptying!
  • Training uses only positive reinforcement
    • Treat and strokes
    • Easy to gain attention of the ferret with some special sounds (« couic » )
  • Litter training
    • Put the ferret in the litter after wake up, after meal, after a long play
    • Litter in a corner of their space
  • Biter ferret
    • Be patient
    • Be quiet and confident
    • Play with the ferret
    • Stop the game when there is too much excitation
  • Senses
    • Vision
      • Poor visual acuity and color vision
      • Blind spot in front of the nose
    • Audition
      • Similar to cat. 4 to 15kHz
      • Pinna not mobile but they localize sounds accurately
    • Olfactory
      • The most important sense: social interaction, hunting & feeding
      • Sebaceous glands of the skin, anal and perineal area



  • Physiologic data
    • Extensive fat deposits in the skin
    • Natural musky odor of entire ferrets, more particularly during breeding season (sebaceous glands, prepucial and anal glands)
    • Vertebral column very flexible
    • 14 to 15 ribs (10 attached to column)
    • Five digits on feet, plantigrad
    • Black cerumen
    • Heart very caudal in the thorax (6th to 9/10st ribs)
      • Sinusal respiratory arrythmia
    • Thymus in young, fat in older ferrets
    • No evidence for blood groups in ferrets
    • Seasonal variation of weight (30-40%)
    • Marked moulting (« Peeling the ferret »)
    • J-shaped os penis
    • Sexual dimorphism M: 1200g & F: 600g


Ferrets’ physiologic data


6 to 8 years (until 11yo)

Body temperature


Dental Fomula

2 (I 3/3 ; C 1/1 ; P 4/3 ; M 1/2)

Adult bodyweight

F: 700-1200g ; M: 1000-2000g

Water intake


Urine volume


Heart rate


Respiration rate


Blood volume


Gastrointestinal transit time


Ferrets’ physiologic data

Age of sexual maturity

4 to 12 months (depending on date of birth)

Age of neutering

(chemical or surgical)

Wait before the first estrus (depending on date of birth)

Sexual cycle

Seasonal polyoestrous

As day lenght increases

M : dec to july

F : feb to august


Induced ovulator (30 to 40h after mating)

Minimum age at mating

Around 9mo (M: 8-12mo ; F: 4-5mo)


42 days

Average litter size



Born hairless, blind and weigh 8-10g



6-8 weeks

No mating: female hyperoestrogenism =>anemia and death


General recommendations for ferrets

  • Claw cutting, ear cleaning, brush or baths
  • Preventative medecine

Distemper vaccine

! Anaphylactic shock


Adapted to the lifestyle (other animals, meat consumption, hunting, outdoor exercise)

  • Sterilisation

Mandatory if female not intended to breed

Advised for male (entire males can be agressive and smelly)

Surgical vs chemical neutering

Surgical neutering

Chemical neutering



Suprelorin 4,7mg

Suprelorin 9,4mg (AMM male ferret)

Definitive technique

Immediate effectiveness

Temporary but long technique

Has to be considered as definitive

Effective after 4 to 6 weeks

Anesthetic and surgical risk

Anesthetic risk very loww

Rare minor local reactions (0-20%)

Rarely, ineffective implant

Ovarian remnant


No oestrous detection

Granuloma, abscess, tumor ?

Contributing factor to ACD

Control of one of the factors promoting adrenal disease









Lagomorphs*, Oryctolagus cuniculus

Associated with man since Roman times

Truly domesticated for around 200years

3rd preferred pets in Great Britain

*Second small pair of upper incisors (or peg teeth)


More than 150 breeds

Diseases linked to breed:

Dwarf rabbit and dental disease

Giand rabbit and cardiac or articular disease

Lop rabbit and ear disease




Indoor or outdoor

Cage or rabbits room or total freedom

  • Outdoor housing

Interesting and natural way for keeping rabbits

Keep a dry, quiet and secure hidden box

Advantages: natural photoperiod and temperature variation. Access to natural soil and grass is greatly appreciated (dig their own burrow). Exercise and explorative behavior. UVB.

Disadvantages: weather too hot (direct sunlight, no shade) or too cold, predation, run away, less human interactions, viral disease (VACCINES!)

  • Indoor housing

Usual husbandry of pet rabbits

Keep a quiet and secure hidden box

Advantages: improved control on predation and run away risks, better socialization and human interaction

Disadvantages: artificial photoperiod and temperature, household risks (poisoning, foreign bodies, electric shock…). No UVB!

  • Husbandry – material

Wire cages (incisors and posterior!), wooden housing (hygiene and gnawing), plastic cages (ventilation) or special rabbits’ room (ideal)

Litter: never use mineral litter. Plant litter (dirt and dust, do not use essential oils or perfumed litter), newspaper…

Hay or straw bedding. Be careful with tissue (ingestion)

Rabbit-proofing the environment!


  • Husbandry – companionship

Social and territorial species, social hierarchy

A bonded pair is unvaluable but… more difficult for the owner to socialize… Reduces boredom, mutual grooming…

A dominant & a dominated rabbit

Neutering is mandatory.

Prefer two neutered females or a pair

with neutered male and female.

Avoid 2 males.



  • Strict herbivore
    • Prey species: high feed intake
    • Slow digestion of large quantities of fibrous

food (hindgut fermenters)

  • Monogastric mammals, no vomiting!
  • Very developed caecum
  • Dry faecal pellets from indigestible fibre
  • Soft pellets called caecotrophs, from smaller particles and fluids fermented into the caecum (volatile fatty acids, proteins and vitamins from bacterial fermentation)
  • 28 teeths
    • Open-rooted and grow continuously
    • Rate of growth: 2mm/week for incisors, 2 to 4mm/months for cheek teeths
    • Thick layer of enamel on the anterior aspect, no enamel on the posterior part
    • Jaw movements up to 120/min
    • Saliva contains amylase
    • Maxilla larger than mandibula
  • Congenital dental diseases common

Dentition: Mandibular incisors between peg teeth and maxillar incisors

Cheek teeth do not touch


How to feed a rabbit at home?

Hay Or various fresh herbs that are given gradually (grasses, leguminous plants)

+ Varied greenery (not only veggies, but aromatic herbs, branches, foliages…)

2 meals – 3 varieties : 100g/kg/day

+ Extruded diet

            Not mandatory : 2 meals - 15g/kg/day

+ Fruits

            Only occasionally, use it for positive reinforcement


  • Choice of hay

Grasses Hay (dactyl, barley, timothy) are the main product

Prairie or mountain hay can be given in second position

Second-cut hay should be given only in a little proportion

Alfalfa hay and Leguminous hay are only given to young (growth) or lactating / breeding rabbits.

  • Hay nutritional values adapted to the rabbit’s needs

All parts of the plant are present

Lot of foliages

  • Vary the nature of the hay for the rabbit’s pleasure
  • A good quality hay is:

Not packed, crushed


Grass smell

Green !

No foreign bodies (no dirt, no insects)

No mold

Little dust

Store the hay in a dry, cleaned and ventilated area.

Living product: it will evolve during storage.


How to make a rabbit eating hay?

  • Chose a high quality hay
  • Remove all other food during the day
  • Hide some treats in the hay
  • Hay=dried grass à propose fresh varied greens

Give little hay

Very often

In a rack, a cardboard, the litter

Remove all other food items

Hide treats in the hay

Convert the rabbit to fresh varied greens


Giving a lot of veggies can be a constraint and seem expensive, but You can organize

Veggie garden (even on a balcony)

Market and gardener: foliages, unsold veggies

Wild harvesting: needs learning and vaccine

Access to the garden (see outdoor housing)

Conservation of the plants in the fridge with water


Be careful with, and do not give:

  • Ornemental plants
  • Exotic plants: soybean, bamboo, cassava, sweet potato
  • Hazelnut (not toxic but wrong way ingestion)
  • Onions, garlig, leak…
  • Avocado, rhubarb, sorrel
  • Potato (glucids, solanin)
  • Sage, laurel: many toxic varieties


Is industrial diet needed? For sure, seed mixture is PROHIBITED!!!

Extruded diet is needed :

  • Growth
  • Convalescence
  • Reproduction
  • If plants not enough varied

Not more than 15g/kg/d in 2 meals

Removed non consumed extruded after 30minutes


How to chose extruded diet?

  • List of ingredients
  • Fiber content
  • Calcium and phosphocalcic ratio
  • Avoid dyes, additives…


Can we give fruits?

They contain a lot of sugar so...

Not everyday

Positive reinforcement


Human & rabbit bonding

Enrichment of the environment

Hide the treat in the hay

Hazel branches

Fruit trees’ branches

Test the appetite



  • Behavior
    • Marked diurnal rythms (dawn and late afternoon)
      • These diurnal rythms are also observed for hematologic values, caecotrophy behavior and feeding patterns and breeding (female rabbits give birth in the morning and feed their young at night)
    • Quiet and curious
    • Docile but aggressive behavior can occur
      • Social hierarchy
      • Territorial
      • Hormonal agressivity
    • Behavior – Senses
      • Vision
        • Field of view: 300° (watch for predators while grazing)
        • Blind angle in front of nose (food selection & ingestion from smell and tactile choices)
      • Audition
        • Pinna mobile. Localize sounds quickly & accurately
      • Olfactory
        • The most important sense: social interaction, food preferences, predator tracking
        • Anal and perianal glands
      • Touch: important, through whiskers
      • Litter training
        • Provide several litters
        • Choice of location
        • Choice of substrate
        • Choice of litterbox
        • Add hay +++
      • Monitore every walk outside the enclosure
      • Anticipate mistakes
    • Destroying => dig their own burrow. It is normal: Encourage them!



  • Very developed musculature compared to skeleton
    • Lombar paralysis following handling or fall
  • Prey species
    • Immobility response or « hypnosis »
  • Nasal breather & small thorax
  • Fur difficult to clip
  • Auricular pinna: thermic regulation


Rabbits’ physiologic data



10-12 years (until 14yo)


Body temperature



Dental Fomula

2 (I 2/1 ; C 0/0 ; P 3/3 ; M 3/2)


Adult bodyweight

Depends on the rabbits breed


Water intake



Urine volume



Heart rate



Respiration rate



Blood volume



Gastrointestinal transit time


Hard pellets: 4-5h

Soft pellets: 8-9h


Rabbits’ physiologic data

Age of sexual maturity

Small breeds: 4-5months

Large breeds: 8-12months

Age of surgical neutering


Interval between castration and infertility: 4weeks!

Sexual cycle

Not seasonal



Induced ovulator (9-13h after mating)

Minimum age at mating

At sexual maturity


30-32 days

Average litter size



Born hairless, blind



4-6 weeks




  • Surgical neutering

Mandatory, Before 2 years in female

Advised for male

Entire female have a great risk of anevrism, uterine hyperplasia & neoplasia

Facilitates socialization and bonding

Limits sexual and territorial marking

Limits sexual and territorial agressivity

  • Preventative medecine

Myxomatosis and Viral Hemorrhagic Disease

2 vaccines, one every 6 months

Mandatory, even if confined indoor


Adapted to way of life (greens, garden, other species…)

  • Screenings

E.cuniculi: Prefer serology vs PCR

  • Nursing care and maintenance

Moults and brushing

Claw cuttings

Ear cleaning

Daily rear end inspection






  • 33 families, 2277 species
  • New species are still being discovered around the world (only absent in Antarctic & some oceanic islands like NZ)
  • Quick and active, except guineapig
    • Sometimes biter (rarely GP)
  • Prey species
  • Variable rythms and way of life
    • Diurnal, nocturnal
    • Burrowing, climber, jumper
    • Solitary (syrian hamster), social (GP, gerbil)


  • Open rooted and continously growing incisors
  • All rodents lack canine (diastema)
  • Simple digestive tract
    • Monogastric
    • Large caecum
    • Elongated colon
    • Coprophagia (except Gerbils)
  • Female have separate vaginal and urethral opening (known as UVA)



  • Hystricomorphs: Strict herbivores

All teeth (incisors and cheek teeth) are open rooted and grow continously

  • Guineapig
  • Chinchilla
  • Degu
  • Myomorphs: Varied diet

Only the incisors grow continuously

  • Rat
  • Mouse
  • Syrian hamster
  • Gerbil





Open-rooted incisor and cheek teeth

Only the incisors grow continuously


Strict herbivore

Varied diet


Usual, except in gerbil

Female urogenital tract


Urinary meatus and vulva can be distinguished

Vaginal cleft not visible except during estrus


Few babies

Long gestation

« Mini-adult »

A lot of babies

Short gestation


Post-partum estrus after parturition


Short thorax and persistent thymus. Nasal breather !


Hystricomorphs: Strict herbivores

All teeth (incisors and cheek teeth) are open rooted and grow continously

  • Guineapig
  • Chinchilla
  • Degu




  • Cavia porcellus
  • From Andes Cordillera

Bred for human consumption in Peru

Laboratory animal and pet

  • Quiet and docile
  • Lot of breeds!

Skinny, short or longhaired

Wavy, satine, Crowns hair

Many colors

  • Social rodent

Needs to be housed in couple or groups

Lot of vocalizations

Conflict with mating and territory


  • Diurnal and nocturnal species
  • Weight: 500g to 1kg

Females heavier

  • Lifespan: 6 to 8 years old
  • L-gulonolactone oxydase deficiency

Daily vitamin C requirement: 20 to 60mg/kg/day

Route of administration: orally, but not in the sipper

  • No tail, but 4 to 6 coccygeal vertebrae
  • Large tympanic bulla
  • 4 digits on the front feet, 3 on the hind feet
  • Extremely large seminiferous vesicles
  • One pair of mammary gland (M and F)
  • Scent glands along the dorsal, rump and perineal area: More prominent in older entire males
  • Strict herbivore
  • There is always food in a healthy GP’s mouth!
  • Open-rooted incisors and cheek teeth

2 x (I1/1 C0/0 P1/1 M3/3) = 20 teeth

Occlusal surfaces are inclined around 30-40°

Incisors are white!

All the other rodents have orange incisors!

Large caecum on the left side

Total gut transit time:12-15h

  • Reproduction

Non seasonal, polyoestrous

Spontaneous ovulator

Fibrocartilaginous pelvic symphysis: breed as early as 4 months and not after 8 months.

Sexual maturity: M 5-10wk ; F 4-6wk.

Gestation: 59 – 72 days

Litter size: 2 to 4 babies born as « mini-adult »

Weaning around three weeks

  • Artificial rearing and orphan adoption are possible


Guineapig’s physiologic data


6 to 8 years

Body temperature


Dental Fomula

2 (I 1/1 ; C 0/0 ; P 1/1 ; M 3/3)

Adult bodyweight

F: 700-900g; M: 900-1200g

Water intake


Heart rate


Respiration rate


Blood volume


Gastrointestinal transit time


Guineapig’s physiologic data

Age of sexual maturity

M: 5-10wks; F: 4-6wks

Age of neutering


Sexual cycle



Spontaneous ovulator

Minimum age at mating

3-4 months old

M:550-700g; F: 500g, before 8 months old



Average litter size



Small adults


3-4 wks

Separate males from females at weaning time




  • Chinchilla laniger x C. brevicaudata
  • From Andes Cordillera

Altitude, desert area

Family group

Lively, quick and curious pet

Four digits on front and hinlimbs.

Hairless feet.

Very large tympanic bullae

  • A lot of color mutations

White, beige, Velvet, Ebony, Tan, Blue, Violet, Lowe, Angora, Curl…

Velvet gene is lethal when homozygous

Very dense fur: until 90 hairs by follicle and more than 20 000 hairs per cm2

  • Social rodent, needs couple life or group life

Urine spread, grinding of teeth, scream

Horizontal and vertical exploration: jumpeur, climber

Territorial species (esp. Females) & Fearful species

Females are bigger and dominant

  • Nocturnal
  • Dust bath
  • Strict herbivore
  • Open-rooted incisors and cheek teeth

2 x (I1/1 C0/0 P1/1 M3/3) = 20 teeth

  • Occlusal surfaces are inclined
  • Orange incisors

Same as other rodents, except GP

  • Very large caecum
  • Sacculated colon
  • Adapted to dry greens
  • Reproduction

Seasonal, polyoestrous and spontaneous ovulator

2 cervix (same as rabbit) ; penile bone male chinchilla

Sexual maturity: Around 8 months

Gestation: 111days

Litter size: 2 babies, born as « mini-adult »

Weaning around 3 wks

  • Artificial rearing difficult
  • Adoption by another female


Chinchilla’s physiologic data



Body temperature


Dental Fomula

2 (I 1/1 ; C 0/0 ; P 1/1 ; M 3/3)

Adult bodyweight


Water intake


Heart rate


Respiration rate


Blood volume


Gastrointestinal transit time


Chinchillas’s physiologic data

Age of sexual maturity

M: 9months; F: 4-5months

Age of neutering


Sexual cycle

Polyoestrous, seasonal


Spontaneous ovulator

Minimum age at mating

F: 450g, at least 7 to 9 months old



Average litter size

2 (4 max)


Small adults


6-8 wks

Separate males from females at weaning time




  • Lifespan: 2 to 5 years.
  • Lively, friendly and easy to tame!
  • Very prolific= a lot of babies!
  • Nocturnal: syrian hamster
  • Diurnal to nocturnal: rat, gerbil, mouse
  • What to give? Extruded diet + veggies and meat
  • Gerbil: dust bath needed
  • Housing
    • Wire cages (space btw bars)
    • Plastic cages: ventilation, NH3
    • Litter: prefer plant litter or paper à hemp, corn cob, … Be careful with dust and essential oils
    • Separate areas for sleeping, burrowing (gerbils, hamsters) or jumping, climbing (rats and mice), eating and toileting. Provide a shleter or nest-box, even when hospitalized!


Syrian hamster




Variable and seasonal diet in the wild

Leaves, seeds, insects


Grains, plant seed, leaves, stem, roots, erthworm, snails and insects

Opportunistic omnivores

4-10g a day

Extruded diet supplemented with veggies daily and twice a wk, some animal protein

5-7g a day

Extruded diet supplemented with veggies daily and twice a wk, some animal protein

Extruded diet supplemented with veggies daily and twice a wk, some animal protein

Timothy hay can be provided (enrichment) and wood (gnawing)

Timothy hay can be provided (enrichment) and wood (gnawing)

Timothy hay if no respiratory disease

Timothy hay if no skin disease



Check the stored food

Protein 13 to 16%




Fresh water daily (sdrinking bottle) 4ml/100g/d

Fresh water daily (sdrinking bottle) 10ml/100g/d

Fresh water daily (sdrinking bottle) 10ml/100g/d

Fresh water daily (sdrinking bottle) 15ml/100g/d



Syrian hamster






Obesity very common



1,5-3 years old

1,5-2years old

3 years old

1-2 years old



Can hibernate



Respiratoy rate





Heart rate







Syrian hamster



8 mammary glands

Penile bone

12 to 14 mammary glands

Penile bone

12 mammry glands (diffuse)

Penile bone

12 mammry glands (diffuse)

Penile bone

Sexual maturity

M: 10-12 wk

F: 10-18 wk

Weight: 70-100g

Sexual maturity


Sexual maturity

M: 40d

F: 72d

Menopause btw 15 & 32months

Sexual maturity

M: 45d

F: 40-45d

Polyoestrous, spontaneous ovulator, non seasonal

Very agressive mating

1st mating: 8-12wk

1st mating:

F: > 250g & <8months

M: 8-10 months

Gestation: 24-26d

Litter size: 7-14 babies

Gestation: 15-16d

Litter size: 5-9babies

Gestation: 21-23d

Litter size: 6 – 13 babies

Gestation: 19-21d

Litter size: 5 – 12babies

Hairless babies

Weaning: 21d

Hairless babies

Weaning: 20-25d

Hairless babies

Weaning: 14-21d

Hairless babies

Weaning: 21d

Delayed embryonic implantation

Postpartum oestrus

No Postpartum oestrus

Delayed embryonic implantation

Postpartum oestrus

Delayed embryonic implantation

Postpartum oestrus



  • Originated from Asia and expanded to America in the 18th century
  • Very good pets, smart and funny, easy to tame
  • Many different colors variety
  • Come from research: lot of diseases
    • Respiratory disease (Mycoplasma)
    • Tumor (Mammary, pituitary)
  • Anatomy
    • Do not have gall bladder
    • Albino: poor vision
    • Yellowing of the fur common in older male



  • All hamsters have cheek pouches
    • Large paired cheek pouches
      • From mandibula to scapula!
      • Food storage and material transport
      • The hamster can hoard in its cheek pouches up to half its body weight in food !
    • Nocturnal & solitary
    • Many different color and varieties
    • Hibernation if environmental temperature <5°C
    • Anatomy
      • Bilateral pigmented sebaceous glands: scent glands
        • More proeminent in entire and older males





  • Husbandry and feeding account for around 80% of the problems encountered in exotic species.
  • Nurses have an advisory role. They can correct some mistakes or alert the owner.
  • Enrichment and well-being have to be kept in mind for every choice made for the individuals.