Monthly Archives:March 2019

Why do Cats Roll in Dirt

Cats are a popular choice when it comes to choosing a pet. They are the ideal house pets and they are very low maintenance. Since you have a cat for a pet, you may have noticed that your cat has the habit of playing or rolling around in the dirt and may have made you concerned with regards to there being something wrong with your cat. Well, this post is with regards to just that and for a starting note let me tell you, it is perfectly fine if your cat has a habit of rolling around in the dirt.

When the cats are rolling around in the dirt, it is because they are taking, what is called as a ‘Dust Bath’. Sand Bathing or Dust Bathing is a behavior exhibited by animals with a purpose likely for removing parasites from feathers, fur or skin, scratching themselves in areas they can’t reach and also to mark their territory.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN WHEN YOUR CAT IS ROLLING AROUND IN THE DIRT

It actually is healthy if your cat is rolling around in the dirt, while as a owner you are worried that it is making your cat all dirty, your cat on the other has excellent reasons for doing so. Given below are a few reasons and explanations as to why your cat is rolling around in the dirt.  

  • It helps cats in cooling down

One of the main reasons you may see you cat rolling is dirt is because your cat may be trying to cool down. Freshly dug soil is soft, moist which makes the soil cool and better than the soil that has been exposed to the sun. Therefore, if you live in regions where it is exceptionally hot or perhaps it is a very hot day, you may see your cat rolling around in the dirt as a process to cool itself down.

  • It helps them to scratch

You may have noticed that your cat has a habit to scratch itself on the furniture of your home. The reasons for scratching on furniture are pretty much the same as rolling around in the dirt. It helps the cat scratch any infection that is being cause by any parasites on its body.

  • A way for cats to mark their territory

Cats also use dust bathing as a way to mark their territory. Cats while rolling in the dirt leave a smell as they have scent glands in their paws, cheeks and the top of their heads.

Also, while rolling around in the dirt your cat may also be checking for the scent of any other cat and if so, would roll around in it so as to overpower the scent and claim that area as his territory.

  • Helps in Digestion

Another reason for cats rolling around in the dirt is so that they can ensure proper digestion of the food they need. You must be guessing how that sis possible? Well here is the answer.

While rolling around in dirt, your cat will lets its fur catch some of the bacterial that is present in the soil. Your cat after this would resort to licking its own fur as a way to take in some of the bacterial. This bacterial that your cat takes in side, helps replenish the digestive bacterial that is present in your cats stomach which in turn helps in proper digestion of the food. This same bacterial also wards off any pathogens that may infect your cat’s stomach.   

  • Makes them feel ecstatic

Rolling in dirt can also be your cat’s way of keeping itself entertained. It is just as same as playing with wool or running after birds. Your cat maybe is just bored and is trying to have a little fun as rolling around in the dirt can make him feel quite ecstatic.

  • May be because the cat is in heat

If you have a female cat, she may be rolling in the dirt because she is in heat whereas if your cat is male, he may resort to rolling around in the dirt in the presence of other male cats. Sometime, female cats also roll in the presence of male cats. Even if you were to place your cat in a group setting, it would mostly roll towards the opposite sex as its one of the indications of wanting to mate.

  • Helps the cats in communicating with the owner

Lastly, if you see your cat rolling on its back, it may be trying to communicate with you. Your cat’s body language is very important and according to studies, if a cat rolls on its back it wants it owner to give it a belly rub but in case the cat rolls on its back while twitching its tail, it might want to take a nap and that is perfectly normal because cats can sleep up to 15 hours a day.

IMPORTANT THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND

Yes, it should be of no alarm to you generally if your cat is rolling around in the dirt. However, there are a few things that you should keep in mind when you see your cat rolling around in the dirt.

  • If your cat has been incessantly rolling around in the dirt and also biting or scratching itself a lot, you should check for red patches or for infection on the skin as your cat may be doing so to get rid of the itchiness that it may be feeling because of such infection.
  • Also, keep in mind that if your cat has a habit of rolling around in the dirt that the dirt your cat is rolling around in is not full of chemicals. As mentioned above, a cat also licks its fur after rolling around in the dirt as a way of taking in bacteria that helps your cat with digestion.

CONCLUSION

You have seen the reasons for which your cat may be rolling around in the dirt. It’s perfectly normal and nothing to be alarmed about. However, you should always practice a little bit of care in every situation and ensure that your cat while rolling in dirt is not doing it for reasons that are not normal.

Why do Birds Roll in the Dirt

Birds are a delight to have as pets. They look beautiful and have an amazing sing song voice. Since, you have a bird as a pet; you may have also noticed that your bird may have a habit of rolling or playing around in the dirt. You may have wondered the first time around whether something was wrong with your bird, however, after seeing it a few times, especially when other birds in the area exhibited similar kind of behavior, you may have caught on that it is definitely for a reason.

When the birds are rolling around in the dirt, it is because they are taking, what is called a ‘Dust Bath’. Sand Bathing or Dust Bathing is a behavior exhibited by animals with a purpose likely for removing parasites from feathers, fur or skin. You may see the avian species taking dust baths on a normal basis and some animals as well, as they use dust bathing as a way for transmitting signals to the ground marking their territory.

Why does a bird take a dust bath

A dust or sand bath is part of a bird’s process for plumage maintenance and preening which helps in keeping the feathers of the bird in top condition. The dust that works its way into the feathers will help absorbing excess oil which otherwise would make the feathers matted or greasy.

The now oil soaked dust is shredded, so that the plumage can be kept clean and is made more flexible for flight as well as efficient insulation.

Another reason birds take dust baths that the dry skin, as well as other debris, can be removed by the excess dust and birds also take dust baths regularly so as to minimize feather mites, lice and other parasites that may find a home within a bird’s feathers.

Multiple species of birds have been seen dust bathing however the frequency of their dust bathing varies from each other and also depends on the local weather conditions as well as the time of the year.  

Birds like the ring necked pheasants, wild turkeys, California quail take regular dust baths. Birds, especially in regions that have less access to water also commonly resort to dust bathing.

How does a bird take a dust bath

As mentioned above, birds that belong to regions having less access to water and also where the climate is especially hot resort to dust bathing.

A bird while taking a dust bath begins with scraping its feet in fine, dry and crumbly sand or durt to create a wallow. It then lowers its breast to the ground and rolling, rocking or swaying the sand to make an even hollow depression. It then vigorously wriggles its body and starts flapping its wings.

This above process disperses loose sand substrate into the air and the bird then spreads one or both of its wings and allows the sand substrate to fall between its feathers and reach the skin.  The bird will also sometimes start rubbing its head on the ground so that the sand can reach across the shorter feathers on its head and cheeks. This process may be repeated several times until the bird feels it’s covered in sufficient dust and before perching make shake off any excess dust that is left behind. The bird after dust bathing will start its preening process to keep itself well groomed.

Dust bathing by birds can occur at any-time and anywhere, especially when a bird find a suitable patch of sand or dirt and feels it necessary to keeping its feathers well groomed. Some birds dust bathe in groups and some alone and it is exciting to watch birds collecting in a particular area to dust bathe as some have to wait in line until the others are done.

Setting up dust bathing in your garden

If you have a bird, you will definitely not keep it in a cage at all times. You may want to let it out a few times in your garden, you may also have spruced up your garden to have a small birdhouse and a water bird bath as well but providing for a dust bathing area for your bird can also be something that you can add to your garden and ensure that your bird finds solace in your garden.

Setting up a bird bath and things to keep in mind-

If you already have an area that your bird has started using as a source for dust baths, then continue preserving that area specifically for you bird’s use.

If not, then build a dust bath by taking soil that is free of plants, clumps and rocks in a bird bath or in a specific area and to contain the dust within give it a decorative border or ring it with rocks and remember to place it in an area where it is sunny. All you will have to do is ensure that the dust bath you make is sufficient enough for your bird to take a dust bath comfortable according to its size.

It is very essential that you get rid of any clumps, rocks or plants in the dust bath and also ensure that there is a safe place, like a bird house for your bird to resort to your bird feels threatened. Also ensure that it is in a clear space so that no predator like cats can surprise your bird while your bird is taking a dust bath.

Conclusion

The behavior of birds playing in dirt or birds rolling in dirt is absolutely normal. It is their way of keeping themselves well groomed and free of any parasites. It is an essential for birds and we can also take a little pleasure in watching them do so as they look completely adorable while doing it.

Hedgehog Anointing: Why does your Hedgehog spit on itself?

If you have a hedgehog as a pet, you may have seen this scenario prior as well. You may have noticed your hedgehog suddenly stop from any activity it is doing, then contorting into an awkward position and it starts to foam from its mouth. After this, your hedgehog continues to lick as well as spread this foam on to its body.

If you are worried with regards to this behavior of your pet Hedgehog, we can assure you that there is nothing for you to worry about. This behaviour exhibited by your hedgehog is completely normal and is called Hedgehog anointing or Hedgehog self anointing.

Causes of Hedgehog self anointing

Now that you know that there is nothing wrong with your Hedgehog and that it is your Hedgehog’s behaviour of self anointing. Let us look at a few reasons as to why your Hedgehog may be doing so.

Foaming at the mouth of a Hedgehog for self anointing is still a mystery to science.  The reasons provided below are educated guesses by scientists studying Hedgehog behaviour and we could not agree more to it.

  • Covering its own smell

You will mostly see your Hedgehog exhibit such behaviour especially near new smells. It could be anything from your new perfume to your kitchen soap, and you may see your Hedgehog having foam at the mouth and starting to self anoint. This is believed to be a self defense mechanism and very similar to other animals in the wild who cover themselves in the odor of other animal carcasses so as to mask their own smell and not give up their hiding position. Here, it is assumed that your hedgehog may be feeling threatened and wants to hide itself from any potential danger.

  • A poisonous Defense Mechanism

Hedgehogs are famous for having a very high resistance against any toxic material and this also the reason that Hedgehogs are able to survive out in the wild feeding on giant toads even though they are full of toxic material inside. This kind of defense mechanism showcases that your hedgehog maybe spitting on or licking itself because it believes its covering its body with toxic material so as to ensure that he can keep any sort of hungry predators away.

Should you be worried?

If your Hedgehog has this kind of behaviour it is perfectly normal but this does not mean that if your Hedgehog is not showcasing such behaviour that something is wrong with him. It is proof that your Hedgehog feels completely safe in the environment that you have provided for him.

You may especially see this behaviour if your hedgehog is a baby or you have just adopted it. Hedgehogs, as mentioned above, tend to even feel a bit threatened if you yourself end up smelling different than usual as it is not a smell your hedgehog is aware off. Hedgehogs may even exhibit such behaviour while they are being cleaned or being handled as they are pretty much helpless in such a situation and will definitely feel threatened.

ConclusionDon’t worry now. Your Hedgehog is perfectly safe and as you can see from above it also has its own way of protecting itself. This behaviour is for animals who feel they need protecting from predators by way of masking their smell and even when they feel that licking or spitting on themselves will help applying a poisonous layer on their back as a way to dissuade any other animal from making them their dinner.