Meet the Pets
Heidi is possibly the cheekiest of all the pets in The Nature Nook crew. This gorgeous little parrot is both full of energy and full of love. Heidi adores a cuddle with mum and, if she’s lucky, a yummy slice of Apple. She is a 3-year-old yellow-sided green-cheeked conure (Pyrrhura molinae). ‘Yellow-sided’ refers to her specific colouration, which is a mutation she was specifically bred to have. Green-cheeked conures are native to the rainforests of South America, where they eat a variety of seeds, nuts and fruits. Being from the rainforest, these social little parrots are very agile, extremely good at climbing, and love to play. They are naturally found in flocks of around 10 to 20. This is a relatively small flock size for a parrot, which is why conures are known to form very close bonds with their bird or human families and can become very protective over their favourite person.
Haymitch is a Swiss breed guinea pig (Cavia porcellus). Guinea pigs are fully domesticated, which is why there are many different breeds, and why Haymitch has his distinctive scruffy coat that looks very different from the smooth brown fur of his wild counterparts. Haymitch is a shy little 2-year-old boy who is unfortunately all on his own. Though guinea pigs are extremely social, living in groups of 10 or more in the wild, Haymitch unfortunately fell out with his brothers. Because male guinea pigs are much harder to pair up, Haymitch is still in search of a best friend to join him. His favourite treats are dried pea flakes and water melon, and though he is often nervous of people he does love a good chin rub.
Errol and BB
Errol and BB are an unusual pair of budgies (Melopsittacus undulatus) for a number of reasons. Budgies are the only parrot species that humans have fully domesticated, creating the larger English budgie, which is what BB is. Errol, however, is the smaller wild type – the Australian budgie. These two are both around 1-2 years old and are both unfortunately unable to fly due to physical conditions, but they don’t let that stop them from being very playful and chirping away all day long. In the wild, flocks of budgies can be very large, some with as many as 100.
Bonnie is a 1-year-old female Syrian hamster (Mesocricetus auratus). Also known as the golden hamster, these curious little rodents love to burrow and have plenty of energy. Like most hamsters, Bonnie loves to run on her wheel and stash away her favourite treats. Unlike many other species of hamster, Syrians are naturally solitary, but that doesn’t stop her from enjoying some attention from her human family.
Agatha is, despite what the name may suggest, a male banded bullfrog, also accurately known as a chubby frog (Kaloula pulchra). He is less than a year old but already has a voracious appetite and loves catching crickets. These adorably round amphibians are native to mainland Southeast Asia, where they hide under leaves during the day and hunt in the evening. Perhaps the most interesting thing about Agatha is that he has the ability to puff himself up when threatened and even secrete a toxic glue-like substance to make himself unpalatable to predators.
Pepper and Pesto
These two ten-month-old female dumbo rats (Rattus norvegicus) are full of beans and love to run, jump and play. Being social creatures, living in groups of around 6 in the wild, it’s important to keep pet rats in pairs or groups so they have someone to play with. Pepper and Pesto are both crazy about boiled egg, malt paste and mealworms. With these girls, it’s hard to tell what they love more, treats or playtime!
Cookie is a gorgeous 11-year-old cat (Felis catus) who is very friendly and loves to curl up on his dad’s knee in the evening. Despite his age, Cookie is still absolutely full of energy, and, like most cats, he loves new toys and having lots of places to climb and jump around his home. Cookie’s favourite food is a little bit of ham given as a treat.
Bree is a 3-year-old Cocker Spaniel (Canis lupus familiaris). She has buckets of energy for walks and can tire out even her most energetic human family members. Like most dogs, Bree needs lots of attention and plenty of exercise. Her absolute favourite thing to do is go swimming and she always makes sure to splash her human family too so they don’t miss out on all the fun.
Despite being named after the huge, terrifying reptile that famously terrorized Tokyo, Zilla is actually a very small and gentle 7-year-old leopard gecko (Eublepharis macularius). Zilla’s favourite treats are mealworms, which she gets lightly dusted with calcium powder to keep her nice and healthy. Leopard geckos have very soft skin so to avoid being food for bigger animals they only come out at night.