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Sheringham Community Paper Dougal's Pet Corner

The place for your pet stories and pictures, let me have them

Secondly it is important to consider a rabbit's dietary needs. In the wild, rabbits will live predominantly on grass and nettles alone and will graze for up to eight hours a day. The chewing action keeps their teeth ground to the correct level, thus preventing the most common veterinary problem to the domestic rabbit; overgrown teeth. The mixed cereal or pellet diets that are available should be rationed as they are not only more fattening but also more filling which means that the length of time spent chewing is not nearly enough to prevent dental dilemmas. A constant supply of hay and only limited dried food should be provided in a rabbit's living quarters, but time spent chomping on the lawn is invaluable. Some rabbits can tolerate a small amount of vegetables such as carrot or cabbage but these are not essential and can occasionally cause illness.

Thirdly, the most recent of findings is the effect of co-habitation. Most species benefit from companionship of their own kind and rabbits are no ixception. The best and most successful combination is always male/female pairings.

Obviously, in the interest of not increasing an already massively excessive bunny population, it is essential that both parties be neutered. Same sex pairs can work, but the risks of fighting in later life are higher and it can be risky to get two adults of the same sex together. When taking on baby rabbits it is most unwise to get two males, particularly if you are not intending to get them neutered. The pairing-up of adult rabbits should be closely supervised and only undertaken after seeking expert advice. The social benefits of pairing-up rabbits are immense and many people find that their solitary rabbit only develops a character after it is 'married off' and has a companion to cuddle up to, groom and play with. The modern-day domestic rabbit owner must take an objective look at the life their rabbits lead. And ask themselves if it is a life worth living. Let us all wave a relieved good-bye to the days when keeping rabbits in solitary confinement at the bottom of the garden was morally unquestioned. Useful numbers: British Rabbit Welfare Association and the House Rabbit Association; 01403 267658

If you try to FAIL and SUCCEED
which have you done?

Sheringham Community Paper
See in the Dark!
One of the useful things about selling binoculars is that they don't change much over the years. In the last 3 decades the main advances have been that waterproofing is standard on most mid- and upper-priced models, and that the minimum focussing distance has decreased, in some cases down to under a metre. On the other hand, one major technological advance that is now available to the general public is optics that see in the dark. The technology behind these instruments has obvious military and espionage use, and film-goers will be able to list many scenes where the eerie green glow of a 'light intensifier' has added a sinister air of suspense to a movie. Curiously the intensifiers that are commercially available are all Russian, which perhaps says something about the current state of spying!

There are now models available at just less than 150 which can be put to good use for natural history purposes. We have customers who use them to watch badgers and foxes, and others who watch amphibians and other life around their ponds at night. However the prize for the most exotic species watched with one of our night scopes must go to the customer who recently used one to see a snow leopard in Khazakstan. Having successfully 'spotted the spots on the Snow Leopard' the instrument concerned is back in Glandford to find a new owner, perhaps someone anxious to have a look at hedgehogs in Holt! A starlit night is quite a sight through a light-intensifying 'scope, but of course in the pitch dark they cannot work at all, as there is no light to intensify. Fortunately each 'scope is fitted with a small torch that illuminates the close distance with infra-red light which cannot be seen by the human eye. Cley-Spy
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The Border Collie is renowned as one of the world's finest sheepdogs and has been used as such for many centuries. Along with breeds such as Rottweilers, German Shepherds and Dobermans, their original working role was as a guard and protector of sheep and other livestock. These breeds, originally bred for ferocity, have, through careful breeding, now emerged as gentle pets. However it must be remembered that instincts prevail, and that the majority of dogs in this group are happiest and healthiest when they have access to open spaces and a job to do. The Border Collie is the undoubted favourite of obedience trainers and has, not all that wisely, been taken increasingly into suburban homes in the role of family pet. WHERE IT ALL GOES WRONG! The breed that mankind carefully created to have the endurance and athleticism to work from dawn until dusk, and have the incredible intellect and presence of mind to obey countless commands and whistled instructions, is now expected to be content with one or two walks a day. It is very difficult to create the kind of mind and body stimulation that a Border Collie needs to prevent it becoming a bored and therefore snappy and destructive individual. It is therefore a rare occasion in any rescue centre not to have a Border Collie in residence looking for a special kind of home. HOW TO PUT IT RIGHT! To create a stimulating lifestyle in domestic circumstances, prospective collie owners must first look at their own lifestyle and realistically assess how much time can be devoted to the needs of their new dog, (a couple of walks around the block each day will never be enough!). Farm life is still the most successful environment for a contented Border Collie, not necessarily as a working dog, but as a companion to the farmer, he can still spend all day roaming the land. In other domestic situations, Collie owners must work harder to meet their needs. Training classes will keep you and your dog fit and it is a sport in which collies excel. Long walks are essential, a working Border Collie will travel between ten and twenty five miles a day. Varying the walks to encounter different animals and their scents is also important, and going to a safe area where they can be allowed off the lead to "run off steam" is vital.
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