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Infuriating

Wallabies, kangaroos, Sugar Gliders, Possums, Quolls, etc.

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Infuriating

Postby Luxe » Wed Oct 22, 2014 6:29 am

Grr! You think a rehabilitator AND opossum breeder would know more about their animals!

I follow what few opossum pages there are on facebook, and one happens to be a couple that is a well known... opossum owner/rehabber, I guess. She has all kinds of exotics, even parrots like me. Armadillos, white raccoons, etc.. special needs opossums, too...

Yet... I catch her feeding alarmingly unhealthy dishes to her opossums. I try and warn her, but she fails to pay mind... and today I saw she'd posted a picture of one of her babies eating shepherd's pie. Corn... mashed potatoes... red meat(assumably hamburger or beef)... Grr!

Why?! Why are people so stupid?! Why do people not try to educate themselves as much as possible?! I fear for that little baby... I fear so much...
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Re: Infuriating

Postby Luxe » Wed Oct 22, 2014 6:32 am

and I saw pictures of her raccoons eating Milano cookies from Pepperidge Farms... I'm assuming as a treat, but even still, am I the only one that finds this incredibly alarming?
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Re: Infuriating

Postby Ash » Wed Oct 22, 2014 7:46 pm

It might be because they have such a short lifespan. Maybe they're older now so she gives them more "delicious" foods? I don't know.
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Re: Infuriating

Postby Luxe » Wed Oct 22, 2014 10:09 pm

Ash wrote:It might be because they have such a short lifespan. Maybe they're older now so she gives them more "delicious" foods? I don't know.


Raccoons? :/ I thought they lived well past 10, at the very least... and I see absolutely no reason to give them a cookie and/or chocolate.

Additionally, for the opossum, it was a little baby. Maybe 10 weeks old. There's no excuse to even feed an adult opossum a diet so excessive in phosphates, it's plain old irresponsible, especially when you have someone trying to tell you. To not know is one thing, but to be told many times and still fail to do your end of the deal, which is research, is just obvious lack of care. To so blindly love your animals that you won't acknowledge someone's valid concerns is ridiculous. While I don't proclaim to know everything, the least she could do is actually look into what I'm trying to tell her to verify if it's correct so that she can better the lives of her animals. She chooses to ignore rather than help.

Besides, just because it's an animal that lives a short lifespan means it's ok to feed it wretched food items? I don't see the responsibility in that mindset.
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Re: Infuriating

Postby TamanduaGirl » Wed Oct 22, 2014 11:03 pm

I'm not against a unbalanced treat long as it's fairly rare but considering she feeds the possums wrong it's probably not rare. And yeah there's better treats they could have and just a piece of a cookie for that rare treat would be enough they don't need a whole one. You have to consider size a whole cookie for a small animal can be like eating a whole bag for us.
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Re: Infuriating

Postby Ash » Wed Oct 22, 2014 11:13 pm

That's irresponsible then if they were young. :/

What I was saying is, if they were old anyway and in their golden years, I think it might be okay to give them treats more often. Maybe others will disagree with me, but I don't think it would make much difference in the opossum's lifespan at that point. But that's a controversial topic. Personally, I wouldn't, but I don't really see it as horrible if the animal is close to dying anyway.

But since they're little, that's a different story. I disagree with that, and I'm shocked she won't take your advice on that. Very weird...

Isn't chocolate toxic to raccoons? I know lots of owners feed their raccoons marshmallows, but I'm pretty sure chocolate is bad for them--like it is for canines. See, that's bad because it shows a lot of her followers that it is okay to feed that type of stuff, when it isn't.

Yeah, that's very frustrating that she doesn't even acknowledge your comments. One would think a rehabber would know better. She certainly isn't doing a good job educating her friends and followers regarding proper care. And of ALL people, it's a rehabber's job to know what's good to feed--don't they have to pass some sort of state course? I guess it depends on the state...

Sounds like she might be one of those "high and mighty" rehabbers that think they know everything. Many rehabbers are against private ownership and look down on the people who do keep wild and exotic animals as pets. So maybe she doesn't think your "opinion" is "worth it."

Keep trying to talk sense into her, is my suggestion... Then at least her followers will question what she's doing, and maybe if you bug her enough about it, she'll amend the situation or do more research of her own.
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Re: Infuriating

Postby Luxe » Wed Oct 22, 2014 11:36 pm

She finally responded, though her response leads me to believe that because 'he's a picky eater', she may continue to feed poor diet options.

"Thanks for your advice. Corn and potatoes are not on our critter diet menu and the possums are usually not interested in eating it. --- is attracted to the smell of the ground beef and ate a tiny bit. He is well fed and a little picky about what he eats anyway."

You gotta think, even a mouthful, for a possum as young as I'm talking, is like a full on meal, or at least half.

As for being older anyways, to be fair, you never truly know how long you have.. I've heard many oddball stories, like a 4 or 5 year old rat. I'm recently in a bout of worry right now, regarding elderly animals. My cat is 16 years old, I've had her since I was 7. As of lately her hips have become gaunt appearing, she's lost weight, won't eat her kibble, and has now stopped cleaning herself. She'll still drink and potty like normal, play like a kitten, and acts like herself. I've since switched her to wet food, thinking maybe her teeth have just gone bad with age. We took her to the vet today, after she developed the 'not bathing' thing. All her bloodwork came back perfect, no fever, no signs of illness, nothing... Our vet(very very kind, knowledgeable man) was very shocked to see such an old cat so healthy. She's my tough little girl, literally, not one day in her life has she been sick. She's only seen the vet twice in my 16 years of owning her, and that was when people were harassing me with animal control because they didn't like my dogs walking on laminated flooring(they lived below us), and Animal Control saw her and demanded she get a city license and rabies vaccine(despite the fact she got all vaccines and was spayed when she was for adoption, so long ago, at the humane society), and then the other time was just today... We're hoping, despite no signs of it, that she may just have a tooth abcess or the beginnings of a tooth infection since she was particularly finnicky about her mouth, and all of her problems are mouth related(eating, bathing, etc). She's been given antibiotics. I can only hope it's not a result of age and we have many years left with her.

As for the cookies, she was feeding whole cookies. I think they each got one to two whole cookies. Hard to tell based on pictures alone, but I know one of the pictures was of one of her two white raccoons with a plastic Milano cookie container and two cookies can be seen inside for the raccoon to open and eat. Another picture showed one of them with a half eaten cookie in their... I call them hands, but some may prefer paws.. with a scowl on its face. Looks like a possessive kind of look, like,"Get away from my food." kind of look. She also mentioned on the same photo, in a comment, that her raccoons enjoy licking the foam from her coffee EVERY MORNING.... Caffeine for your raccoons every day? That's very very alarming to me. Sure, it's foam, but it touches the coffee, which means it probably has some caffeine in it.. unless it's decaf... I can imagine it's sugary, though.

And, yes, it is very frustrating for that exact reason. She's, for one, a rehabber. She should know better... For two, given that she is fairly well known, she just spreads misinformation like this. That it's ok to feed your raccoon Milano cookies as a treat despite chocolate being an ingredient. That it's ok to feed Avocados(VERY high in phosphates) or Beef(also VERY VERY high) to your opossum. I mean, sure, Avocados being a healthy food, you would think, hey, why not? Fact of the matter is, they have as much phosphates as chicken does(without bone), but, thing is, proteins are not an every day food item like fruits or veggies are, so that kind of misinformation may give a less educated person the idea that Avocados are ok as a staple food item, to be given frequently, when such a habit, especially if you don't know about the delicate ratio balance and may be feeding other poor ratio items, will result in MBD. It is a very painful and preventable death... and for it to happen to an opossum because of someone else's bad information is heartbreaking.
Last edited by Luxe on Wed Oct 22, 2014 11:48 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Infuriating

Postby Luxe » Wed Oct 22, 2014 11:40 pm

PS: You can PM me for who I'm talking about, but I'm not going to throw it out here in the open. This is just a discussion regarding a health concern and my frustrations about someone who appears stubborn about legitimate concerns.
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Re: Infuriating

Postby Luxe » Wed Oct 22, 2014 11:51 pm

Oh, forgot to mention a response I was thinking to something else you said. I don't think she's one of those, as I like to say, 'no commoners should have captive wildlife' kind of people. Hard to say, but I do recall her making a post that she did have babies(from the same litter as the one in question), from her own breeding opossums(I think she breeds her special needs ones, I just know I've seen a video of her with some kind of 'mating dance'?) that would find 'suitable' homes. Dunno what she finds suitable, so that's why I say it's hard to say whether she's against non-rehabbers having captive wildlife or not.
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Re: Infuriating

Postby TamanduaGirl » Thu Oct 23, 2014 12:08 am

I remember when I had Stewie and he was getting a bit tubby so I cut back his treats then he died suddenly from auto-immune and made me kind of which I had given him more treats while he was still here.

Sorry about your cat. When Kat got like that it was because she had a tumor but she wasn't playful though. I had another cat longer ago that seemed to just not groom herself for no reason but her weight was fine. If the vet couldn't find anything maybe she just need a easier to digest diet to get more out of it in her old age.
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Re: Infuriating

Postby Luxe » Thu Oct 23, 2014 12:26 am

TamanduaGirl wrote:I remember when I had Stewie and he was getting a bit tubby so I cut back his treats then he died suddenly from auto-immune and made me kind of which I had given him more treats while he was still here.

Sorry about your cat. When Kat got like that it was because she had a tumor but she wasn't playful though. I had another cat longer ago that seemed to just not groom herself for no reason but her weight was fine. If the vet couldn't find anything maybe she just need a easier to digest diet to get more out of it in her old age.


I think I saw your tribute video to him many years ago. :( Haha, I've actually known of you for a long long time, you actually, unknowingly, got me interested in Tamanduas. I have always loved the Giants, but I don't think it'd be practical to own one... I still think maybe some day, but I got a long list of 'maybe some days', and feel it's more practical to pick and choose.. So, for now, I'm looking to Coatimundis maybe some day off in the future.

Hoping maybe she just needs a softer diet. Wondering is Royal Canin Elderly Cat formula would be soft enough for her. I know she'll eat it, she used to have it until I switched to a more expensive, grain free brand.
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Re: Infuriating

Postby Luxe » Thu Oct 23, 2014 3:25 am

Haha, when I told my fiance why I was a little late coming to sleep(was posting this thread), and I explained why I was so frustrated, he said the whole 'NO' thing from The Office accurately described his feelings about raccoons eating chocolate or sugary/caffeine items.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umDr0mPuyQc

Edit: What's really sad is they had a rare leucistic opossum, too.... In a video they posted of him and his 'palace', guess what they fed him along with probably other questionable fruits and/or veggies?... RED MEAT! WOW!... Guess what? Surprise, he's dead(they say he died at 14 months and are blaming it on his leucism)! Does that really shock me? No. It really doesn't since she seems to lack any actual knowledge on their diet. I don't know what's going through her head, but I'm sure most people think, just a little meat here and there(no specification) and some fruits and veggies chopped up and they should be fit and healthy! Sadly, it is more complicated than a little meat and fresh fruits and veggies, and that's the thing a lot of people either don't know, or ignore because they either love blindly, to a point of discrediting people, or think they know better than people.

This is exactly, EXACTLY.. why I suspicion the captive life span of opossums is not what we think it is. Misinformation, lack of information, and the fact that the information isn't easy to locate... I'm currently working on a website that compiles all my research into some simple caresheets, for that lazy person that doesn't want to read pages and pages(though you'll notice I'm normally long winded, so, I guess in all technicality it may be a little lengthy, but necessary). It'll be a while, but I fully intend to publish it in the future. For now I'm working on it a little at a time between work and my other daily chores.
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Re: Infuriating

Postby TamanduaGirl » Thu Oct 23, 2014 2:16 pm

You may be right on their ages. I know the rare one has lived to 10 or so but it's supper rare. I had looked into it myself some years ago and one study had looked and said they found no differences in care or diet to explain it but it didn't say how deeply they looked at diet. If you're not breaking it down to look at the nutrient content then it's not an honest comparison and there could have been significant diet differences they missed.

Tamandua average captive lifespan used to be just 9 years but now with better diets from research they are living into their early teens(oldest was 19 though) so it would seem their lifespans are closer to that of small dogs. Even so it is far too often that someone contacts me to ask about an ailing tamandua and I discus diet with them and they decide not to make the changes for whatever reasons(too much trouble, to expensive etc.).

If I remember correctly the giant anteaters sell for something like 80K so very not practical for sure.

Hmm now I am curious you'll have to PM me the name. Someone on FB recently had a white possum die but I don't follow FB all that much so missed any photos you mentioned if it is them.
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Re: Infuriating

Postby Ash » Fri Oct 24, 2014 1:42 pm

That's so sad about the leucistic opossum. :( I'm thinking you may be right then with your theory on their diet. I'm anxious to see how long your guy lives on your diet--I think it could be a really good insight, regardless of the outcome. When your website is finished, definitely post links here so that we can go see it. I'd be VERY interested actually, since I do think opossums are really neat animals.

I'm glad you've put in SO much time and research into these guys. It's very informative. Maybe we'll see a break-through in husbandry. :)
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Re: Infuriating

Postby Luxe » Fri Oct 24, 2014 3:15 pm

Ash wrote:That's so sad about the leucistic opossum. :( I'm thinking you may be right then with your theory on their diet. I'm anxious to see how long your guy lives on your diet--I think it could be a really good insight, regardless of the outcome. When your website is finished, definitely post links here so that we can go see it. I'd be VERY interested actually, since I do think opossums are really neat animals.

I'm glad you've put in SO much time and research into these guys. It's very informative. Maybe we'll see a break-through in husbandry. :)


I really need to figure out some way of making the kibble more appetizing. It's got perfect ratios, just not receiving a thumbs up from Mr. I love apples over here. :-x When I said apples were high in calcium, I remembered incorrectly. They're only a 1:1 so not too terribly ideal. He does eat other things, he just really really loves apples. Sadly, I'm having to include them, in small amounts, in every dish to entice him into eating things like blackberries or carrots... Thing is though, I did put apples in the kibble... but it was even with the other 7 or so ingredients... Hmm... Dousing it in a cup of apple juice or sauce would bring it to a 3:2.. which simplified is 1.5:1... I guess it would be acceptable... Studies range anywhere from 1.5 to 2.0 being acceptable calcium levels... and, ofcourse, can always feed extra goodies for that especially gluttonous opossum, but always maintain the balance. If he would eat it, I'd feed him a cup a day with some fair ratio'd foods like blackberries.

At any rate, I spent a lot of time last night writing away. I've gotten the caresheet portion mostly done. It's about 4 front and back notebook pages, though, I don't write super small or anything. I'm still trying to figure out a way to word the 'Health Concerns' section.. because, to be quite honest, they can carry a fair share of nasty diseases but it's not like it's too terribly common it's spread to a human... and also not too common one single opossum would possess -all- of the known carried diseases. It's just a representative of what we've found them to carry over the years, not to say every one single opossum has all these things. I think I have a way in mind that wouldn't make people panic. The last thing I want to do is give someone a reason to kill them.

The name will be Pawesome Paws, but I do not intend to post on the FB page or publish the website until everything is complete.
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