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compare my meerkat

Discussion in 'Small Animal Chat' started by the dog, Aug 21, 2009.


  1. Nicky09

    Nicky09 PetForums VIP

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    Yes the people that go aww so cute and buy one without a second thought I don't like. They are adorable but I would stick to watching them in the zoo way too much effort
     
  2. CarolineH

    CarolineH PetForums VIP

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    Nicky, I am averse to being bitten down to the bone so I think I would prefer to watch them on tv or in a nice big enclosure in a zoo instead as well!
     
  3. the dog

    the dog PetForums Newbie

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    nice post an lovely merrkats.funny the way some people have become alright with this now.seem to be alot of people going back on what they said in earler post.suddenly alright now well to a point.tyson says hi to jack and mila.lol
     
  4. noushka05

    noushka05 Unicorn denier. Snowflake. Activist ;)

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    im sorry but i could never 'think its alright' , too much cruelty goes on to produce these babies, the pet trade in meerkats & marmosets is responsible for so much suffering & the people breeding them they dont care how unsuitable the new owners are, its all about making money & i hate exploitation of any animal!, meerkats should be living in family groups but instead they are snatched away from their mothers when they are far too young & all for £££,

    im curious to know what people keep them in when theyre out?

    even in zoo's these animals dont do great & they have much better enclosures that the gp can give them.

    also how can you replicate what they eat in the wild?

    & well done taramasalata for trying to discourage people from keeping these animals as pets:) i think everyone who now has them should be doing the same,..... buying them is just creating a demand & im afraid the only way to stop more of them suffering is to stifle the exotic pet market trade.
     
    #24 noushka05, Aug 25, 2009
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2009
  5. taramasalata

    taramasalata PetForums Newbie

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    I had a hard time getting mine, actually. The breeder I got Jack from was very suspicious of whether I'd look after him, must have spent 10 hours on the phone getting advice on how to look after him and being asked questions about my lifestyle (I worked from home which was a plus point in my favour). Jack's parents were well looked after and happy, and the breeder kept meerkats as pets himself.

    With Mila, it was even trickier. I spent 9 months looking for her, knowing I'd have to go out to work and Jack couldn't be alone. She was abandoned by her mother and hand-reared by someone who was breeding them for zoos. Being hand-reared made her ideal for me, of course, but her temperament is a little more wild because she wasn't bred as a pet.

    When I go out Jack and Mila have the run of the (small) house. And then when I get back I clean it....! They have a big box of sand and things with bugs in to dig out, a sunny windowsil with lookout posts and heat lamps. They are very very active animals though and need a lot to do. I don't let them in the bedrooms though.

    They have to go away when people come around because Mila has a "kill on sight" policy for anyone outside of her pack, which consists of Jack, me and my partner and our two "meerkat sitters" who have looked after them when we went out since they were small. I don't know how we'd do without them.

    Hope that answers a few questions :)
     
  6. CarolineH

    CarolineH PetForums VIP

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    I suggest that you go back and actually read through the info on Taramasaltas website link properly? She owns them and even she does not think that they make great pets!
     
  7. Cloth101

    Cloth101 PetForums Junior

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    I agree. I was wondering when meerkats would become available to buy and I suppose that if they were given the right housing, food, environment then it wouldn't be too bad but I personally think that if it's a wild creature than the wild is where it belongs... :eek:hmy:
     
  8. the dog

    the dog PetForums Newbie

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    iv read everything that she's got to say,an i agree with every shes says.meerkats are not for every one but it find its not to bad looking after one alot harder than a dog say.but iv got all the time in the world like iv said hes got the run of a 4 bedroom house upstairs an down stairs and a big back garden to mooch about and before YOU say, no its not full of sand hes got a good size sand pit.i done allot of research starting sometime last year every website every book constantly on the phone to the breeder who i got him of. this was on the books for a wile before any stupid adverts.so do NOT think for one minute i am one of these people who got one of these meerkats just coz there cute.from what iv read from taramasaltas,thers no diferent in the way they being looked after or were they r living,yes i agree iv only got the one,until october that is.i do not have to explaine my self to anyone,not to any one tracked minded person.i came on here offering any advice on what they eat what they need the time they take up.not asking weather people think its right to own a meerkat.the fact is they are here people going to get one.if you dont like it then tuff get used to it.bla bla bla.now what stupid comments r you going to come out with:eek:ut:
     
  9. CarolineH

    CarolineH PetForums VIP

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    ROFLMAO! :rolleyes:
     
  10. the dog

    the dog PetForums Newbie

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    nothink then.lol
     
  11. CarolineH

    CarolineH PetForums VIP

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    Sometimes more can be said by nothing;)
     
  12. Cloth101

    Cloth101 PetForums Junior

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    I think that maybe the problem here has been confused. It's not that you (or anyone else who owns a meerkat) is a bad owner but that owning a meerkat just isn't morally right. They can have the best home in the world but at the end of the day it's still not their natural habitat. And that's, I think, what people have the problem with.
     
    noushka05 likes this.
  13. noushka05

    noushka05 Unicorn denier. Snowflake. Activist ;)

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    very well said & i totally agree!
     
  14. Cloth101

    Cloth101 PetForums Junior

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    Thanks =) I think that's the problem, the moral aspect and not the material one. :(
     
  15. Thank you for agreeing with her posts, and your post shows you have put alot of thought into how to look after your meerkat, and i presume (if i have read correctly) he will have a friend arriving in october so you will be fulfilling the social group aspect.

    However

    How Dare you speak to me or anyone else like you just did!

    I have not once EVER called you stupid, i have not made degrading comments about you or your posts!

    I have given people an insight into the meerkat pet trade and that not all (well most) pet meerkats come from loving breeders who only have their animals welfare at heart!

    You came on this forum

    As a forum member I am allowed to put forward my views in a polite manner, I am allowed to answer questions too, I am allowed to say my views on any subject, If those spark topical debate then great, if not Oh well!

    You are allowed to do the same. You are NOT ever allowed to call me or my posts stupid (or anyone elses for that matter!)

    We as a forum full of individuals including you have a responsibility to be polite to each other even if we disagree with another persons views or actions.
     
  16. CarolineH

    CarolineH PetForums VIP

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    To be honest, I just could not put that into words last night and you have just done it perfectly thanks. ;)
     
  17. Cloth101

    Cloth101 PetForums Junior

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    Agree totally.
     
  18. taramasalata

    taramasalata PetForums Newbie

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    Hey, please relax everyone!

    I think we are in agreement on this forum on pretty much the same ideas.
    1) Most people shouldn't keep meerkats, they are only suitable for a niche group of people who are prepared to entirely put their lives on hold for them, and to sacrifice their home to an extent. And who genuinely don't mind being seriously bitten in exchange for being loved and cuddled.
    2) Nobody should keep any pets without being really well prepared, well informed and putting the appropriate amount of time and effort into them (in the case of meerkats nearly 24 hours a day)
    3) We love our pets very much and don't want it suggested that we don't treat them right. We would find that upsetting because we devote so much of our lives to them.

    Those of us who have meerkats are NOT suggesting other people get them, I actively suggest you don't. But we do want a place to share our meerkat joys (and trials) with other animal lovers.

    And other animal lovers are rightly concerned that they are difficult animals to keep, and very easy to traumatise simply by not knowing enough about them, and worry about our pets just incase we don't know what we're doing. Indeed they are harder to look after properly than dogs, but we know that and we put in probably even more effort than dog owners because we want them to be happy.

    When I walk through the door to my house Jack and Mila throw themselves bodily at me (there's a video on my site called homecomingfrom when Jack was younger, it's not very good quality but you can see what I mean), I don't know what I'd do without my daily armful of meerkats. But they are also an incredible bind and really restrict my freedom and I'm aware they hate it when I go out. It was my choice to do this to my life! (My friends and family think I'm nuts.)

    Just because they don't generally make good pets doesn't mean *nobody* can care for them, just not many people. Some people can sucessfully keep tigers, it's just a very very small group of people!!

    Anyway that's what I think.

    Meerkatty love to all,

    Laura

    PS there's a new comic going up on Jack and Mila, Meerkats in the House later today, about the "carpet crocodile" (ie. Jack in one of his mischievious moods). The comics are done by my partner and so far are proving an accurate description of life with them. Don't bother checking til this evening though.
     
  19. noushka05

    noushka05 Unicorn denier. Snowflake. Activist ;)

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    i can see that you care very much for your meerkats:) but are you concerned that more and more of these animals are going to end up in unsuitable hands?, you even say theyre only suitable for a niche group of people...but without licencing any fool can own one. Do you think people should stop buying them to stifle the trade in exotics?

    i dont think many wild animals are truely happy in captivity particularly the predator species & highly intelligent apes/monkeys/elephants etc so i think some people may beable to 'successfully keep a tiger' as you say but im pretty certain it wont be happy.


    Its just my personal opinion i hate to see any wild animal living in such un-natural environments & i find incredibly sad when you say 'they hate it when you go out' .
     
    1 person likes this.
  20. taramasalata

    taramasalata PetForums Newbie

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    Ok, well I'm getting just a little tired of this thread so I'll reply in bullet points and hopefully make my opinions clear, and maybe we can talk about something a bit different :). By the way I do realise you're just worried about animals and are almost certainly a very nice person! I think you are barking up slightly the wrong tree a little though, here's why.

    - firstly licencing exotics is possibly the answer (although not definitely) I don't know. However you can't "stifle" the exotics trade by not buying - yes at the moment due to meerkat manor there is high demand. But most of the breeders people are buying from breed primarily for zoos. And most of the animals taken from the wild in the dodgy side of the exotics trade are for zoos or large collections as far as I understand, nobody's going to whip off to the Kalahari in search of a meerkat for some bloke in Slough (there's quarantine for one thing). The meerkats people are buying here are bred here and, at the moment, there's just a bloody long waiting list and insane prices because of demand. There aren't even many more about than there were, they are just more public. Took me nearly 9 months and hundreds of ads and phone calls to find Mila, and I only got her because her breeder had to hand-rear her so she wasn't very zoo-suitable.

    - whilst meerkats are hard to keep they in many ways make more suitable pets than a lot of rabbits etc, who in some cases are visibly afraid of their captors. If you treat meerkats very nicely they have a wonderful time. I believe mine are far happier than their Kalahari relatives. They are healthier, more secure and happy, in very little danger of being eaten. They have enough stress to keep them healthy (very important actually) in that they are afraid of planes, large birds and motorbikes, Jack is afraid of cats (there's one nearby that has it in for him, specifically, not Mila) and they don't like it when my partner or I leave. They aren't hysterical though, just to make that clear, more just grumpy. They sulk for a bit.

    - the pack situation for almost every meerkat is terribly stressful, and designed to be. I think I said it before but the alpha female routinely harries all the others and throws them out to sleep outside in the danger zone, just to keep their stress levels too high for conception. And when other females to produce babies the alpha eats them. The alpha male is pretty vicious to the others on occasion too to stay in charge. Whilst they are often cute with each other the pack is also largely based on stress and dominance - because they are so very social throwing them out of the pack works very well on most of them to keep them under the thumb. Some of the males are ok alone but I think the females tend not to be. Anyway my meerkats are very relaxed compared to their wild counterparts and will live 2-4 years longer as a result.

    - Jack used to worry a lot when I went out so I used to just go to the bathroom for two minutes, then three, and build it up. Now he knows I'll come back he's a lot less worried. It's the same thing with puppies, I believe, except that before I would really leave Jack at all I bought Mila since they are more pack-orientated than dogs.

    - The argument that every animal is better off in the wild is, in my opinion, highly flawed. This can be seen from the many species who are now failing to survive in the wild (and I don't want to get into a "humans changing the environment" debate - some animals just don't adapt well to change and die out, others do). By the argument that animals should be left in the wild we should leave the tigers and pandas out there to die out. Meerkats meanwhile are very hardy, of course, and trading in them does no damage to the species as a whole. However - if you stuck my meerkats in the middle of the dessert they would be crying for me for the next week I promise, as you said they are very bright, and therefore they are able to love me. They follow me everywhere and would defend me to the death :) Now I think that in many ways that makes a very good pet, along the same lines as a dog (Still, to casual readers - do not get a meerkat it's a BAD IDEA see my website for why). Anyway. I contend that my meerkats are happier than wild meerkats. I make their life very nice, they make my life very nice, everyone happy. Happier than most pet bunnies. So the question becomes why is the state of a few meerkats in the country more important than the state of a hell of a lot of more common pets?

    - I have meerkat sitters for when I'm off places who truly love them, even though they are *covered* in Jack's bite scars, and have been working at home for 2 years because originally I just had Jack and simply could never leave him. He even came to the shops with me. They aren't alone much and now there are two of them they are quite happy so long as I'm not off for toooooo long. Even if I left them for 24 hours (I don't) it's still less stressful than their natural habitat.

    - My meerkats are happy (to repeat). Sounds like Tyson the meerkat is happy, he has a proud owner who treats him like one of the family and takes the time to write about him online and try to find other people to chat to about his welfare. There are lots and lots of you-tube videos of happy pet meerkats (the unhappy ones aren't being filmed, of course, but it shows they can be very happy and healthy pets). DON'T GET A MEERKAT.

    - I believe *everyone* should be required to hold a licence for owning any vertebrate. I really do. But nobody's listening to me on that one! I know lots of people who own very, very unhappy birds, bunnies, hamsters and dogs. If you want to fix something, try to fix that. I think the RSPCA should be given a lot of money to go around peoples homes giving out licences to say who is responsible enough to own a pet (won't happen too expensive but wouldn't it be nice). There are definitely a lot of people who have parrots who shouldn't. It's a far more widespread problem. I don't think people should be allowed to keep rabbits in a 2 ft cage, never let them out and treat them like furniture. People keeping hamsters in "gerbil starter packs" brings me out in a cold sweat. I don't think pet shops should be allowed to make and sell inappropriately small cages, I wish someone would sue them. I can't do anything about it. But if you have spare time for campaigning about pet owners of any kind, I suggest you head off down your street and take a look at the state of the guinea pigs. People, if you are going to get a pet, consider the minimum acceptable enclosure and triple it. Please. You can get whopping great hamster cages on Ebay for not a lot of dosh. And pet shops - stop selling animals for a couple of quid. They aren't penny sweets, they are creatures who deserve to be treated nicely and it send the wrong message. Also just 'cos an animal is small doesn't make it a suitable toy for a small child necessarily. More work could be done with pet shops!

    - Some people buy meerkats who shouldn't (like the chap who emailed to say he had "ordered" a female and asked if they scent mark. No offense mate I'm sure you're a lovely guy but that's something you should already know if you "ordered" one. If you don't know that do you know what she eats, what is poisonous to her and how you are going to stop her drowning herself in the loo? Do you plan to get a partner for the little girl? How about neutering? The fact that she will destroy your home and bite your family? The females can be very jealous and attack all the women in your life, are you ready?) But the same is true of puppies. People don't plan properly, and think they can ditch their animal if it becomes inconvenient. If you get a meerkat it should be your family for your life (and they are bad with children). But the same is true of people getting rid of their dogs after a few years because they "can't cope". I hope I won't ever end up eating my words on this but - I think don't bloomin' get an animal unless you are damned sure you can "cope"! This is not an exotic-specific problem though!!

    - People who buy exotics pay a vaste wad of cash for them, unlike hamsters. Yes, this open up a stream of revenue for the unscrupulous seller BUT then nobody's going to flush a £500 animal down the loo or tie him to a firework and set it off (RIP several very unfortunatel hamsters :-(( ). When people DO get sick of their meerkats, they sell them on to someone who wants them - not ideal but they certainly don't dump them by the M4 in a bag. All those badly treated cats, hamsters and rats - I hope reincarnation happens and you get a better life next time. :-(

    - The existing meerkat owners who have emailed me have so far been a lovely lot, very interested in how to make their pets happier. It's heartwarming. We really love our weaselys and are very proud of them :)

    That's pretty much everything I think about everything. :))

    I'm putting some vids up of the meerkats cuddling and playing tonight if anyone's interested.

    Do we have a picture of Tyson anywhere? I'd love to see him :)

    Laura

    PS that was long, sorry.
    PPS no offense to any bunny/hamster/etc owners I'm sure you're lovely too and treat your pets just as well as I treat mine!
     
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