Visit South Africa For The Best Birding Spot

South Africa is one of the prominent countries in Africa famous for birding tours. This has been as a result of its favorable climate, flourishing ecosystems as well as its stunning biological diversity. The country has approximately 860 species of birds including the migrant, resident along with endemic. Because of this big number, birdwatchers must visit South Africa and catch a glance at the gorgeous, uncommon as well as endangered species for instance the black African Oystercatcher and Blue crane.

Getting an opportunity to visit game reserves and national parks of South Africa will enable you see various bird species. Other places include cities, grassy wetlands and coastal areas have a big concentration of birds. Birdwatchers spend many hours sightseeing in all the best spots of the country. Below are some of the birding places that you must visit in South Africa.

Mpumalanga Province

For birdwatchers, Mpumalanga is one destination that you must visit. Well organized bird watching safari will enable you experience the natural beauty of the country. You will see all kinds of birds in the wilderness including the white-winged fluff tail, Southern bald ibis, Grey-crowned and wattled cranes, Stanley’s bustard, African rock pipits, Bush blackcap and many others. Lowveld is one place located in the northeastern part of South Africa, its characterized with a low-lying bush that has been a home to many bird species such as the Lesser spotted eagle, Steppe eagle, Walberg’s eagle, Africa hawk and many others.

Kwazulu-Natal South Africa

It’s one of the best birding spots in South Africa, it surrounded by grasslands, marshes, tidal estuaries along with freshwater lagoons that make it an excellent home for so many species of birds. Taking a bird watching tour to Kwazulu-Natal will be worth satisfying your soul. Tembe Elephant Reserve has over 350 bird species, its one place that will give you a chance to see some rare birds like Woodward’s barbet, Natal nightjar, Rudd’d apalis, Knysna turacos, Livingstone, Delegorgue’s pigeon, African broadbill, Palmnut vulture and many others.

Cape Town

People that have visited the Cape Town bear me witness that its one spot that offers amazing sea-birding in addition to pelagic birding tours. Must see birds in this area include albatrosses, cormorants, petrels, boobies, tropic birds, frigate birds and many others. The best time to visit is during June and July, with a prominent bird watching tour to Sardine will give you a chance to see the Cape gannets plunging into the sea to grab fish, this is quite exciting and adventurous to all birdwatchers. Depending on your time, you will still see the African penguins just in case you manage to visit the boulder beach. You will be thrilled to get a closer look at them. As you visit the Western Cape, you will come across the Fynbos and endemics like Hottentot buttonquail, Cape sugarbird, protea seedeater, Cape siskin and Orange-breasted sunbird. Cape rockjumper and Knysna are easily spotted at the rocky cliffs and Vitoria’s warblers settle around valleys.

Adopt a Cat From the Shelter

Animal shelters pick up stray or unhealthy animals and feed them. They usually pick stray animals from the road and provide them healthy and hygienic place to stay. There are separate shelters for cats and they provide all the basic facilities for cats to stay there. They pick thousands of cats every week which make it difficult for them to take care of every cat. Animal shelters need our attention and support to carry on this task. Animal lovers can help shelters by adopting cats. Shelters offer wide variety of cats which are suitable for individuals as well as for families. Animal shelters try their best to feed them but nothing can be compared with comforts of loving and caring home.

Adopting a cat from animal shelters is very easy. Shelters provide animal lovers freedom to choose their pet. But there are certain aspects that you need to look before adopting one. Cats living at shelters are usually not healthy. Make sure you consult a veterinarian regarding the health of the pet. This will help you to take a good care of their health. While picking a cat for you, observe the living area. They must live in clean, waste free and comfortable environment. Choose a healthy and active cat for yourself. You can also ask them to get it examined by a veterinarian.

Environment at animal shelters is different than home. You need to take good care of cat until she gets used to the new environment. Learn about the common diseases in cats and their treatment. Some of them are cat worms, rabies and other virus attack such as Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) etc. Out of these cat worms is very common and serious disease. These worms are parasites which suck blood and can cause serious infection. You can treat cat worms by taking your pet to regular check ups.

Dogs Are Unique Animals

Dogs are unique animals in that they can immediately become a part of your family.  If you have had your dog for any time at all, you are no doubt well aware of this fact.  It is the continuing domestication of dogs that makes them more and more adaptable to living the family lifestyle with each passing generation of dog.  This interconnecting of dog culture and human culture is very strong.  It doesn’t matter what kind of dog you have or whether it’s primarily a companion or a working dog relationship, your dog is a friend that will stick with you for life.

One of the reasons for their amazing ability to bond with humans is because wolves, ancestors to all dog breeds found today, have similar social systems to those in the human world.  Just like your family has to work together as a group, so does the wolf pack.  And, just like in your family, there may be disagreements within the group, but they are always united and come together when it matters.  They survive with the lead of an adult male who is dominant over all others in the pack.  If the leader oversteps his boundaries, or for one reason or another is no longer present, then a strong and competent female will step in.  Dogs are hard-wired to live in a social grouping.  This makes them ideal as companions.  Additionally, dogs instinctively want to please the pack leader. In a family setting, that is you.

There are a number of attributes that contribute to making dogs ideal companions and working partners for humans.  They are incredibly alert, have a strong sense of smell and many are superior hunters.  And, because of their desire to please, dogs have come to be working assistants in addition to being family companions.  Dogs need a job.  They want to please. Humans have jobs that they need help with.  It provides a perfect opportunity for a symbiotic relationship.

By capitalizing on the attributes of specific dog breeds, man has developed dogs that excel at certain tasks.  You might not use your dog as you primary means of survival as our prehistoric ancestors, but it’s likely your dog has its own role in the scheme of things.  In a family situation, your dog’s job might include getting the paper or bringing you your slippers. Often companion dogs participate in activities like hunting or dog agility with their masters. 

However, there are also dogs that genuinely have jobs that they do every day. Some of these jobs include:

  • Herding stock on farms
  • Detecting drugs for law enforcement
  • Serving as guide dogs for the blind
  • Assisting people with autism and those who are deaf
  • Guarding homes and businesses
  • Serving as rescue dogs in the event of a disaster

Whether your dog is a companion dog or a service dog, it can and will develop a special, emotional bond with you and the other members of your family.  Whether you’re ready to work, have a good time or just need some unconditional love, your dog will be there.

Best Dog Breeds – Getting The Best For Your Family

There are dozens of dog breeds to choose from when thinking of getting a family dog. But not every dog is suitable for every family and your purpose for the dog should be a leading factor for you to get the best breed. Different dog breeds behave differently too, making it even more important for you to approach the selection part of it with care to get the best for your family. Below are some considerations that will help you pick the best dog breeds.

Dog size

It is an important basic factor you should not forget when getting your dog. Size includes the weight and the height of the dog. Larger dog breeds might be very good for those with enough space whereas miniature dog breeds would be best for those in small apartments because they are smaller and require less space. Consider the age of your children when getting the dog so you don’t end up with a breed that poses danger to small babies.

Dog Coat

The dog breeds have varying coats and if you have sensitive members in the family then this s a very important factor to consider. Longhaired dogs can prompt some allergies, but you can find breeds that shed less compared to others. Shedding can also interfere with how clean the house is so if you do not have time to keep up with all the vacuuming then you might want to consider a dog breed with less shedding. Generally, longer coated dogs shed more than those with shorter coats and wire sheds less than silky hair. Also important to remember is that the coat can play a role on the appearance of the dog with some people finding long coated dogs appealing and beautiful than those with short coats; it would be a matter of preference.

Dog family oriented nature

When looking through the dog breeds for your family, it is important to remember that some breeds are great with children and some are not as friendly. Labradors for instance, are naturally very good with small children while some Alaskan Malamutes are not as friendly and are better for the outdoors than the indoors. Your dog breeder can help you evaluate the best breeds for your family setting.

Dog activity level

A very important consideration to make because some breeds are active more than others and high energy breeds will require that you have enough space for them and might need regular exercise routines which include runs and walks. When getting a high energy breed, then you must at least have an energy outlet plan for it otherwise it might turn to be destructive around the home as a result of boredom. Working dogs are generally high energy dogs so go through the list or keep off the list depending on what activity level you are comfortable with.

Trainability and intelligence are the other helpful factors to consider when looking at dog breeds because different breeds come with different levels and training demands.

A dog breeds list can be very helpful for you when looking for the best breeds for your home. An experienced breeder can also help you make the best decision depending on your needs and preferences.

The Beauty of Possessing Cats

Cats and more cats, how they can so easily become an obsession. I have become involved in the cat business as I’m supportive of a cattery, in touch with a cat rescuer and I help three outdoor cats. My friend has a cattery in the beautiful desert and when one visits, at least twenty cats show the traditional cat greeting by clamoring to the door and trying to steal a glance. At night, if I choose to stay, at least twenty cats take the places of the proverbial “cats who sleep with you”. One undersized black guy got overly familiar and licked the inside of my ear.

In the middle of the night, aside from rumpled sheets and wadded up blankets, I endured the unexpected sensation of a cat predator at the window. A huge owl spread his wings ominously behind the shade and appeared to be the vampire who might prey upon all domestic cats. After thrashing about, I was able to settle in again and the little black boy resumed his intimate touches. In the daytime, the major challenge was to orchestrate the movements of waves of felines in order to keep them outside an off-limits room. All in all, I enjoyed being a petting partner for this large group of desert cats.

As a friend of a cat rescuer, I’ve had the experience of smuggling one orange guy named Reggie out of Animal Control. My friend waited outside while I crept into the Control Center and briefly signed the necessary papers to rescue a cat who had been a member of the desert cattery. Due to circumstances beyond his control, and his name is Reggie, he was held captive and labeled undesirable by the powers to be. They had found some kind of bacterial infection and confined him with a group of cats who were deemed unable to be adopted.

I hopefully placed Reggie’s name on the “cat to be adopted” line of the application and briskly walked to the backroom where problem cats were being observed. One look at Reggie, an orange and white delight, and I knew I couldn’t live without him. I was determined to rescue the feline, as my friend waited anxiously by the door. Indeed, Reggie was given to me with the warning that he wasn’t completely well. Since then, he has become the life of the party at the cattery, and has even escaped the outdoor enclosure to enjoy the freedom and thrill of the rooftop.

And I can’t forget my three outdoor cats. I possess an unusual tortoise shell female called “Chatty”. “Chat” is the French word for cat, and she is also “chatty” or talkative. I’m sure she is part Maincun, which is a breed known for its various vocalizings and heavy, wiry coat. The purebreds of this breed also have hair in their ears and around their feet. Chatty has lead a most unusual life as she has spent it outdoors as a stray. She has survived more than ten years outside and is extremely intelligent, if not cunning. She will appear at exactly the time I chose to go outside the front door the previous evening. She tracks my movements and is able to gauge the expected hour. If I visit a neighbor, she will wait outside that very door for me. If I water the lawn she will stalk me about the yard, probably theorizing about the exact moment I will ascend my staircase and feed the beasties.

Other outdoor cats are “Gent”, short for “gentleman” and “Mr Orange”, a large, very noisy orange tabby. Gent likes to take his meal by himself, in my kitchen. Each night he is hopeful that I will allow this intrusion into my solitary existence. I live alone so these cats are live bodies who visit my bungalow in the remote corner of my courtyard. Few people can find me, and that works well because I like to choose moments of being alone in my snug apartment. Even so, Gent finds me and, if I remember to let him in, he pauses by my doorway to enjoy pats and pets, then casually trots to the kitchen for a private meal of wet cat food. The only problem in this routine is encountered when he arrives back at the door. Chatty shows her independence and jealousy all at the same time as she tries to strike at him as he leaves the doorway and heads down the stairs.

Mr. Orange is the noisiest cat in the neighborhood and, I’m afraid, may soon bring unwelcome comments from the neighbors. He is a large male, orange with a white belt around his middle. He doesn’t come every night, so I know others are helping this supposedly homeless cat. One never knows for sure how many homes these strays have. I received a letter from a knowledgeable ferrel cat coalition and I heard about the process of TNR, which means trap, neuter and release. I only hope I will have time to do all this. Chatty will in fact be going to the cattery as I am taking a very long flight to North Carolina (I live in San Diego) to visit my son, his wife and their two children. It’s time for Chatty to retire. I hope I’m right in thinking that the males have another feeding spot across the street.

I know you animal haters will, as of now, hate me when I say that everybody needs to have at least one pet, especially a cat. They are very low maintenance and there is no need for euthanasia. Let me put it this way, because of peoples’ selfishness and lack of education, cats are put to sleep in great numbers. I believe as the American Indians believed, that the way we treat animals and our natural world will ultimately affect our own existence. The Bible, in Genesis, says that we are the rulers over animals and, more importantly, are the caretakers of God’s creatures. I’m actually not allowed to have pets here at this apartment complex, but I have requested an exception to the rule. If everyone would due their part, Animal Control would not have the odious task of extermination. This, of course includes spaying and neutering teenage cats. I believe that a person’s character can be gauged by how he/she treats animals and small children. These are the helpless of the world, and it is up to the rest of us to show compassion and kindness.

In an ideal world, every household would have at least one cat. They could leave them outside if they had to, but just feed them and give them limited care. I’m not going to say the State could allocate funds for this, but just that each household could take some responsibility. I live in a city where many animals roam free: the climate is excellent and the city areas are surrounded by uncultivated, unsettled acreage. As a result, possums, raccoons and domestic pets are in abundance. They like the weather just like our homeless population and are frequent visitors to any type of outdoor feeding bowls. I sound as if I have a regular menagerie around here, and I don’t: I’m careful about just regularly feeding one cat and I have plans to relocate the males. When I could have a pet, I certainly did.

And here I’m going to sound off about the treatment of all of our wild animals. Why do we need to shoot the wolves, or round up the horses, or eliminate the buffalo (fortunately this practice has ceased). When I travel the vast plains, mountains and valleys of our country I observe more than enough land for all. Sure, bears get into peoples’ garbage and scare them to death, and, in this case, something has to be done. But I see pettiness and meanness behind so much of the animal controversy. What lands do our wolves threaten? They have been re-introduced into Yellowstone but the ranchers have been yelling ever since. Isn’t part of this a competition with the animals for some favorite spot some rancher took a liking to? And perhaps their pride sets in and then the argument begins that they are not going to give into an animal. We’re asked to be wise stewards over our resources by biblical admonition, and this doesn’t mean that we are to feel competitive with or power over our animals.

Personally, I can’t stand to see an animal caged. They obviously are not meant for this type of confinement and it need not be. If they are given a decent and humane environment as in many zoo’s, this is allright. Or if they are taken for regular walks and excusions outside their confines, then this is allright. No one wants to see animals threatened, yelled at and shot unless they are a direct danger to a person. It’s so sad to see the efforts of animal conservationists defeated by hunters.

The days when we needed to hunt for meat are over. Then why is it such a sport to take a rifle and shoot a wild and beautiful beast such as a wolf or a bear? I recently saw a T.V. program where an animal activist was forced to take a hunter out on his rounds because he could do nothing about the hunting season. Imagine how he felt. Animals always bring out strong feelings of compassion in these activists. I’m not a fanatic. I do not want to possess tens of tens of cats. Indeed, I’m a tiny bit allergic to cat dander. But I see the feeling that can surround animals and it’s the same feeling that surrounds helpless people.

Taking care of these ferrel cats is close to taking care of homeless people, in my mind. It is not at all the same, in that it is much more important to take care of people than animals. But the same compassion is involved in both cases. Whereas there might be some situations that require extermination in the animal world, there are none in the people world. But it is a slippery slope. How one treats animals is some indication as to how he/she treats his fellow human beings. I help feed the homeless next door at my church and I have helped my mentally ill brother through many predicaments. I feel that I can’t call myself a follower of Christ, and not at least try to help my brother. I can’t look God’s lost and needy creatures in the face and not try to do something about it. The life that is given to critters and to people is rendered by the same hand of the Almighty, though I don’t believe animals have a soul. They are placed here much like our natural surroundings, trees, bushes and flowers, to enhance our existence. They are not to be opportunities to show our pettiness, vanity or cruelty.

I’m an ecologist at heart, though my profession has been sewing and designs. I can’t help getting involved in this controversy and I’m doing my small part to help the critters of this world. I’m not an extremist and I’m not going to pet a tarantula, or swim with sharks. But thinking about those cats has brought out some thoughts I’ve bottled up for awhile. I used to be a mean and self-centered person when I was young and I was mean to cats. I think back to those times with an intense pain. It seems as if our society is showing some regret as to how we have treated our environment; for instance, permanently scarring the land by over-mining it. Another example is creating the dust bowl of the 30’s by over-farming the land. Ken Burns has a documentary coming up on that topic.

These topics are related in my mind because we are, as I have stated, suppose to rule and reign over our environment and its animals with the kind of care Our Lord would show. If you want to give me a name, you could call be a “Christian Ecologist”. I just don’t like to see selfishness and greed take over in this great country. I hope we can continue to take care of our stray dogs and cats, and to find the time, that important four letter word, to show kindness and care for our surrounding land and its animals. If we find the time for these basic concerns, all else will follow.

I am Donna Gordon, a graduate of the ever-political university at Berkeley. If you are an animal activist, you will enjoy this article, as I did writing it. I am a Christian activist and if you like to get involved in society’s causes from a biblical point of view, read me. Please go to Kindle, Nook or Smashwords for my first published novel “The Spiritual Dreams of a Lifetime”. It’s about my life on the edge and in recovery from addiction. But it also includes my spiritual dreams which, by the way, include many images of nature. You can read more about my causes and motivations in the biography section of Smashwords or Authors’ Den. I’m thrilled with the internet way of writing and I know this enthusiasm will rub off on you. This type of writing is a far cry from the writing marathons of the past, which involved sending off specially typed manuscripts with the proper postage etc. I’m always getting passionate about something, as most writers do. Here I am in my bungalow with no one to talk to, so you’re it. You will find my novel very personal and I hope it touches your soul. I’m thrilled that we can write these letters to each other and, as the saying goes, “tear our passions to tatters”. My life on the edge has included falling off a few times into uncomfortable situations, but, in so doing, my compassion quotient has risen. My favorite saying is “There’s not enough compassion in the world” and that’s my main reason for taking up the cause in this article, of God’s little creature, the cat. He’s been given a mouth, nose and ears just like us, and he can receive love.

10 Rules for Choosing the Best Bird House

Purchasing a quality bird house is money well spent, and represents a good investment in the future of your backyard birds. Look for these features to determine the best one to buy:

1. The inside floor base should be at least 4″x4″ to accommodate a bird nest. Most small to medium backyard birds can use this size for nesting. Larger birds will of course need a bit larger bird house base to accommodate bigger nests, say 6″x6″ or so as an average.

2. Look for vent slots or a space where the roof overhangs the sides to allow proper air exchange to keep baby birds comfortable. If you are choosing one made from reclaimed antique barn boards, some checking and natural cracking will provide a measure of ventilation automatically, without letting moisture in.

3. A way to clean out the house is essential. See if there are screws holding the bottom or one of the sides of the structure. These can be removed when the time comes to eliminate old nesting material, any accumulated dirt, leaves, etc., before the next nesting season. Keeping their house clean is of the utmost importance to the survival of baby birds.

4. Make certain there is a good roof overhang. About 1″ wide in the front of the bird house is enough to help protect baby birds from wind, rain, and snow; plus it will provide shade from the sun.

5. A well-constructed bird abode will have nails or screws rather than short staples, which tend to pull out as the wood expands and contracts naturally through the seasons.

6. The wood used for construction should be at least ½” to ¾” thick. This ensures insulation of the interior, keeping baby birds comfortable.

7. Contrary to popular belief, a standard type of perch is not essential. In fact, birds will cling to the outside wood of the bird house. This is particularly true when naturally-textured woods are used.

8. Bird houses do not need to be painted. If the wood used is reclaimed barn wood, it has already been seasoned through many years of the temperature/humidity cycle. It has weathered all kinds of inclement conditions. Chances are that any paint used years ago has long since faded away.

9. Natural-looking constructions will blend in with the surroundings. Birds look for holes in tree trunks and branches to use for nesting sites. I truly believe that nesting boxes should mimic those natural nesting areas. It is, however, fun to add a few ‘decorative’ bird houses to your landscape, particularly if they are whimsical and adhere to these rules.

10. Assure there is a strong, sturdy roof that has no holes or places where rain or snow could enter and harm the baby birds inside. It would not do for the next generation to die from pneumonia because of a leaky roof.

These are the 10 rules I have used for many years for finding quality, long-lasting bird houses. I have had good success with birds choosing them for their homes, as well as places to shelter from bad weather. Quality wooden nest boxes are well worth the investment. My older bird houses are still in use today!

Connie Smith is the proud owner and manager of Grandma Pearl’s Backporch, LLC, and the expert author of many online articles about easy and unique ways you can create the best bird-friendly habitats to help wild birds survive and thrive. Discover how to create fun and safe backyard habitats for wild birds using their preferred plants and foods, while adding color, fragrance and beauty to your landscape. Find simple how-to projects for making your own unique bird feeders; and learn how easy it is to attract a variety of birds to your yard and gardens.

Keeping Fish Tanks Clean and Healthy

Taking good care of your fish tanks is the most important part of caring for your fish. Fish are good pets; they’re quiet, they’re clean and they are beautiful and watching them provides relaxation and stress relief. Fish can be purchased in any color you’d like to have and you’ll find that your fish can help you unwind at the end of the day.

You may choose from either freshwater or saltwater fish tanks. Either allows you to keep certain types of fish (either freshwater or saltwater species of fish, of course). The pets you can keep in these fish tanks will provide you with relaxation and of course, their natural beauty. While fish tanks don’t require a lot of maintenance, you will need to put some work into caring for your tanks to keep them a clean environment which will keep your fish healthy and happy.

Fish tank maintenance begins with prevention. The most important thing is not to keep too many fish in one tank. Having too many fish in the same tank causes overcrowding and can make for an unhealthy environment for your fish. You’ll also need to clean the tank very frequently in order to keep your fish healthy if you have too many fish in your aquarium. No matter how many fish you are keeping, you will need to set a regular cleaning schedule for your fish tanks.

Cleaning your fish tank on a regular basis will help to prolong the lifespan of your fish as well as providing a clean and healthy habitat for them. One way to aid in the cleaning of your tank is to avoid any over feeding. Over feeding causes for excess waste to accumulate on the bottom of the tank and requires removal. You also want to remove any dead leaves that resulted from live plants inside your fish tank. These dead leaves lead to algae build up on the glass of the tank. This algae can be removed with a scraper or algae magnet.

Cleaning the glass or acrylic surfaces of the tank is important, but this is not all there is to keeping your fish tanks clean. A filtration system is an important part of tank maintenance, since this keeps the water clean. You’ll need to clean out the filter monthly, if not more often. You’ll also need to clean your gravel or any other substrate you’re using in your aquarium a minimum of once per month.

When cleaning the filter, remove the medium of the filter and clean it under running water. In the case of the filter medium being worn out, then it should be replaced. There are good bacteria which is located in the filter system. This bacteria aids in the breaking down of ammonia and helps to balance the nitrates that are in the tank. For this reason the filter should be cleaned quickly and then replaced in order to do its job efficiently and effectively. Also, about once a month, you should check the ph balance of the water in your fish tank. If you are not sure what the ph balance should be, then you need to ask someone at a local fish store.

When it comes to cleaning the sides of your tank, don’t use soap or detergent ” this leaves behind residues which can sicken or even kill your fish. Instead, use a solution of 90% water, 10% chlorine bleach (use only plain bleach without fragrances added). You can wash the sides of the tank with this solution and soak all accessories in it for 15 minutes, then rinse thoroughly before refilling and placing your fish back into the tank.

When you take good care of your fish tank, cleaning it at least once per month your fish will be healthier and live longer. You’ll also be able to enjoy a better view of your fish through a well-cleaned tank ” and what’s the point of keeping fish if you can’t enjoy them?

Finding the Right Pet Fish

Fish are quiet and serene pets. Although, they seem like very low maintenance pets, you should bear in mind that some fish do demand a bit of work and delivering the best possible care for them will ensure a steady, healthy and comfortable life for your fish. You may have certain species of pet fish in your mind and would design and purchase a tank and community to suit it. There are hundreds of different kinds of fish that can be adopted as pets. Although, goldfish are the most commonly kept pet fish because they live and can survive in cold water, they are the most appropriate choice if you are a budding fish enthusiast as well. They are fresh water fish and would sustain a healthy life in an aquarium or an outside pond as well.

The other variety of good fresh water fish for the beginners is platties, sword tails, guppies and mollies. Tropical fish need to be kept in an aquarium with a filter to keep the water clean consistently. For someone who wants to spend minimum time caring for a pet, the Beta fish would be an ideal choice. Beta fish or the Siamese fighting fish are inexpensive to buy and serve as a great pet for kids of all ages. They demand little room space and do not need a filter or heater. They live for an average of 2-3 years, need a tank of 2-5 gallons of water and can conveniently adapt to a pinch of flaked Beta food once a day.

If you desire a more labor intensive pet fish, consider purchasing a warm freshwater fish. The habitat and care of a warm fresh water tank is quite alike to a cold freshwater tank, only excluding the use of a heater.

If you are an experienced and more advanced pet owner, then tropical fresh water fish like a clownfish would be a brilliant option. Salt water fish tend to be available in bright, vibrant, and fluorescent like colors that everyone will enjoy watching. Buying a saltwater fish is on the expensive side as their aquarium filtration systems are costly and the salt levels and other levels in the water need to be regulated as well.

Gourami, one of the favorite choices of pet fish among owners of all ages can be bought in various, attractive colors. Usually priced between $2-3, these fish are overtly smart and can be trained to do different things like picking food from your finger. They tend to jump so you might need a lid on your tank and either lazy or active in nature, these pet fish are a delight to have.

Platy, another hot favorite among kids of all age groups comes in bright colors like red and yellow or in the zebra’s black and white stripe colors. These fish have an affinity to impregnate rather easily so be careful while asking for females if you don’t want babies. The Danio or the hyper fish can be either gold or striped and owing to their small size, should not be included in a tank with a big fish unless you don’t want them eaten.

Speaking of such a vast variety of pet fish that exude a different personality, visual appearance and most importantly diverse habitat attributes, it would be best you as a potential pet parent, purchase a pet fish only after considering your budget, lifestyle pattern and taking care capabilities.

Buy Bird Cages – Tips For Choosing the Best Bird Cages

So you just bought your first bird. Congratulations! One of the first tasks that you and other new bird owners must complete is to buy bird cages. There are many choices available today and most of them are of good quality and quite affordable. Here are four birdcage characteristics that can make the biggest difference in how safe and comfortable you make the home for the newest member of your family.

Cage Dimensions – What size bird cage is the best fit for your bird?

Experts tell us that you should buy as large a cage as you can afford that can also fit into the space that you have allocated. You want to make sure that your bird can flap its wings freely and walk around in the cage. You also want to ensure that your bird’s tail will not touch the bottom of the cage when it’s sitting on its perch. This is after you have added perches, food bowls and toys. Putting your bird in a cage that is too small can result in undesirable behaviors such as feather plucking, screaming and biting.

Small birds like finches, parakeets, and lovebirds usually need at least 18-20 inch birdcages. Medium-sized birds such as conures, amazons and greys need 24-32 inches or more and larger birds such as cockatoos and macaws need at least 36-40 inches.

Bar Spacing – What is the largest amount of space to allow between the bars of the cage?

This is one of the most important characteristics of a birdcage. If the space between the bars is too large, your bird can push its head through and potentially get hurt. On the other hand, if there is not enough space, you will not be able to see the bird.

Small birds like canaries, finches and doves need about half an inch of space between the bars. Medium-sized birds such as the cockatiel need five-eights to three-fourths inches and large birds like the macaw need three-fourths to one inch spacing. Extra large birds should get one to one and a fourth inches.

Bar Gauge – How thick should the bars be?

You want to make sure that the bars on the bird cage are thick enough. If the bars are too thin for the size of your bird, you may find that your new resident can bend or dent the bars and possible escape.

Small birds such as canaries and parakeets need 2mm or less. Cockatiels and lovebirds are better off with 2.5mm while medium-sized birds like amazons and goffins require about 3.5mm. Larger birds need 5mm or more.

Quality and Craftsmanship – What is the overall quality of the birdcage?

Make sure that your bird’s new home is a safe place to live. Is the birdcage solid and sturdy? Is the cage made out of non-toxic material? Will it be easy to clean? Does it contain paint that could easily chip? Are there any sharp edges or loose parts?

Here’s To Your Health – Own A Cat

I have always owned dogs, but, recently I have learned, mainly from females influential in my life, the wonder and magic of cats and what they have to offer which is much. A lot of men are ware of cats, perhaps because “dog is man’s best friend”, which we learn from childhood, but, I’ve also learned, so can a cat. Though not always, a cat can be a bit more standoffish than a dog. Patience is required in cases like this. Many cats love their independence and one must “earn their trust”. Once you have, many cats will follow you around like a dog. Of course, most dog owners know it is “love at first bite…of food”. Whomever feeds them is their new mommy or daddy, whereas, with many cats, the first few months is spent trying to figure out what value is there in owning this feline anyway.

But as one owns a cat for awhile, it realizes this cat is an amazing intelligent creature, and can be just as loyal if not more so than a dog. Of the many cats I’ve owned, it has not taken more than a few days for them to want to curl up in my lap and rub its head continuously in a loving way (not to mention sleep on the pillow next to me no matter what).

Many of us struggle with health issues. A cat can be a wonderful therapist, doctor, or other type healer. Many people are unable to own dogs for various reasons, from apartment policies to travel, whereas a cat can be left alone for much longer and be ok. Cat ownership has been medical proven to help everything from high blood pressure to depression to even severe anxiety. Like dogs, cats have an amazing sixth sense, of how you are feeling. Unconditional love eventually evolves from most domestic cats given time. Patience can be the key. Some cats exhibit it right away. Some ask us to earn it.

Alas, cats, like dogs, make the world a much better place. Except for babies, and even babies have “their conditions”; really only domestic animals such as dogs and cats can teach us what unconditional love. I was very skeptical of all this upon learning the importance of animal care. I had read a lot but still did not believe the statistics much less the testimonials. Then I tried it, owning both dogs and cats all my adult life. It has enhanced my life like nothing else.

You may find yourself saying, “I haven’t noticed any positive changes in myself”. But it doesn’t matter. They have already happened. Dog and cat ownership and care offer us the same paradigm shift of behavior that a newborn baby does. It offers us a chance to redirect much of our energies into a living loving creature that is there for us all the time. Yes we are there for it too, but not all the time. It does not care. If you give it a little attention, love and affection, it will give back in time, more than you ever gave it. Many times more in ways you never imagined.

Rick London is a cartoonist/entrepreneur and animal-lover. He founded Londons Times Cartoons, one of the Internet’s most visited websites. Many of his cartoons and cartoon gifts and collectibles are cat and dog related. A percentage of those sales go to help stray animals and educate on animal-care.