Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Hairless Critters: Love Them or Hate Them

At one time, I was raising several types of small animals and the hairless ones were my favorites. I found that people either loved them or hated them. To me their little male pattern baldness, just made them adorable in my eyes.

Some of my favs of the critters I have had over the years have been hairless. Shown is Chaos the Hairless Guinea Pig, Nudle the Hairless Rat, Winter the Hairless Mouse and Hercules the Hairless Hamster. (yes I know he was wrinkly but sweet.)

People who have allergies to Furred small animals can often have the hairless varieties without issue. Of course this will depend on what the person is Truly allergic too. Many people with allergies to animals are not allergic to the Fur but the dander or their bedding or litter or so on and so on. If the allergy is mainly or entirely to the Fur or the sheading of Fur, then a hairless pet may well be the answer.

There Are special care instructions for hairless small pets (most likely this applies to bigger hairless pets such as the Sphynx cats). Hairless animals, contrary to popular belief, are Warm. I used to call them my little heaters. But in order to maintain their body temp, they tend to eat a little more than their furred counterparts. Without hair, they burn up what they eat faster in keeping their bodies at the right temp.
Hairless critters do not do well in extreme temps. They should never be left in a very hot spot or drafty either.
Since they have no hair.. they can actually be prone to Dry skin. An easy solution is....Olive Oil. I know it sounds like I must have slathered them up for snacks but I used Olive Oil because it is natural and harmless if they lick it. **Olive oil will also help deter mites.

They can also scratch themselves easier. Simple fixes here too. One keep their water bottle in a spot where you can place a small brick or piece of sand paper beneath. Everytime they go for a drink, they will also be filing their nails. Another fix is to use a soft recycled paper type bedding.

There are issues in breeding with the major one being some species of hairless females have trouble lactating so they are not easy to breed and it can be difficult to get the litters to thrive.

There was some differences in the babies. The Hamsters and Guinea Pigs, I raised, had babies that were as nakie as they were. The type of Guinea Pigs I had are called Skinny Pigs and they do have small tufts of fur. There is another breed of Guinea Pig that is completely bald. Hairless Hamsters and Skinny Pigs can be born with all sorts of markings, depending on how the parents were marked and colored. Hairless Rats and Mice are born nakie but then get in a coat of fur before losing it again. The Hairless Rats will get a thin sparse coat that is slightly wavy to curly. Hairless Rats babies will then begin to lose their fur and take on the Hairless look.
The Hairless Mice, to me, were some of the funniest to watch from newborn to adult. Like the others they are born nakie, then like hairless Rats they get in a coat of fur. Unlike Rats, their coat comes in complete just like their furred littermates. Then one day you look in on them and some have this Naked patches around the eyes that look like glasses and it slowly spreads down their bodies until they are completely hairless. The only markings they maintain is if their coat was black or dark bown, they will have darker skin.

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