Fluffy, feathery, scaly… we at dotsure.co.za love all types of animals. The more unusual critters hold an especially dear place in our hearts – just like us, they dare to be different!

In fact, did you know we were one of the first pet insurers to cover exotic animals in South Africa? No wonder our fans include some pretty special pet parents! We met up with two of them and their exotic kids to get the inside scoop on what it means for them to live life on the wild side.

Colourful Cleo

Gorgeous Cleo is a Blue and Gold Macaw with a loveable, social personality. According to dad Dr Coetzee, she loves interacting with everyone – especially if it includes cuddles! We caught up with Dr Coetzee and Cleo to learn more about these beautiful birds.

  • What should you know about getting a macaw?

Macaws are large birds and they need a lot of space – they’re not meant for apartments or smaller houses. The minimum cage size for a larger macaw is 76,2cm deep by 121,92cm wide by 152,4cm – 182,88cm long. Larger is always better! And beware of angry neighbours, because macaws can be noisy – especially if they feel ignored or if they are alarmed.

Feed your macaw a diet of balanced pellets, fresh fruit and vegetables – Cleo loves guava and apple.

Also, be aware that macaws have a long lifespan; between 50 and 70 years on average. So, be prepared to love yours for life!

  • How do you keep your macaw happy?

Lots of attention! They are social animals and will want to spend all their time with you and your family. They are smart and very trainable and will learn to mimic. On the downside, if they do not get enough mental stimulation, they will become troublemakers.  Usually, it will result in noisy or destructive behaviour. Even worse, it might become self-destructive. Feather plucking is a serious self-harm danger to birds, often caused by boredom or neglect.

  • What are the best things about Cleo?

“Definitely her intelligence and love of cuddles. She loves to socialise with people as long as she gets a lot of attention but can be very nippy if she doesn’t get what she wants. She can be a real drama queen!” says Dr Coetzee.

 

Fabulous Fonnie

Next up we have loveable fluffball Fonnie – a Netherland Dwarf bunny who loves to play and give little kisses. Mom Jacolette du Plessis tells us she always wanted a bunny, and the smaller size and adorableness of the Netherland Dwarf breed caught her eye. Here are some of her tips on caring for your own.

  • What should you know before getting a Netherland Dwarf bunny?

“Do your research! Netherland Dwarf bunnies can live very long (up to 10 years and sometimes longer), and therefore people must realise that it’s a long-term commitment. They are really small and fragile and aren’t the most ideal pets for kids.”

They also need a lot of attention and space to run free and roam – no bunnies should live in cages! They are sensitive pets that need lots of love and attention, and people don’t always have the time to give this to their pets.

  • How do you keep your Netherland Dwarf bunny happy?

“Napping and eating is definitely at the top of Fonnie’s list,” she says. “He eats a lot of hay, and whenever there is food, he is happy. He loves to take long naps in the sun.”

Apparently Fonnie has a sweet tooth. His favourite snack is anything sweet, especially small pieces of apple or baby sweetcorn. He also indulges in delicious, fresh leaves such as parsley and coriander. Nibble away, little Fonnie!

  • What are the best things about Fonnie?

He loves his pet-mom! Only she’s allowed to pet him and give him cuddles. Jacolette says “He will always come and sit on my lap or next to me whenever I am with him. His size is also very lovable. So small, and so cute. Fonnie is a bit of an introvert and a serious mommy’s boy.” (#aww)

Can’t get enough of fluffy Fonnie? Give him a follow on Instagram: @fonnie_the_dwarf

 

Are you a proud pet parent? We’d love to hear more about your furry, feathery and scaled friends’ fabulous lifestyles and unique personalities! Please share your stories and pics with us on Facebook or Instagram (@dotsurepetsa)!