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1:01 AM   April 21, 2015
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Displaying Prey Animals

Rabbits, guinea pigs, chinchillas and other small animals – classified as prey animals – require special display techniques that allow them areas to retreat to when they feel threatened.

Placing them front and center, which may be fine with most other livestock, can leave them nervous, agitated and stressed – all states that make them vulnerable to illness and potential injury. Yet hiding them behind too many objects in the enclosure doesn’t allow customers a good view of the merchandise. Thoughtful display techniques create environments where animals can feel safe and still be admired.

Nest Boxes
Any display that features a burrowing prey animal, like a rabbit, should have a requisite nest box. Male and female animals, alike need a place to retreat to for comfort and safety. It’s instinctual and absolutely necessary. A burrower without a nest box is likely to cower in the corner of a display – not an effective marketing tool. Treat cups can be placed on the lids of any enclosure. When a staff member notices customer interest, a treat can be dropped from above to lure out the animal for a closer look.

Since many prey animals are crepuscular, active only in the morning and early evening hours, or nocturnal, some sort of darkened shelter is vital for adequate rest and optimal health. Regardless of how soon your stock turns over, even a few days in a barren display, without sleep, can cause a normally placid animal to lash out once a new owner tries to interact with them.

Wood shaving substrate or any substance that allows shallow burrowing can be a great addition to any display. If a glass enclosure with a 360 degree view is used, it may still allow consumers to view your livestock, as they sleep through the day.

Adding several toys to a small animal display encourages consumers to replicate the environment in their own homes, leading to increased sales in the long run. It also gives your stock something to do during their waking hours. The more interactive, the better. Toys stimulate the animals’ minds, adding increased health and vigor, while putting on a show for prospective buyers. <HOME>

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