Aquarium Insider: Tips and suggestions for providing enrichment for your animals at home

By: Callin Mulvaney

Tortuga enjoys special food enrichment

Tortuga enjoys special food enrichment

Hippo with tractorWhen walking through Adventure Aquarium have you ever noticed a whiffle ball in an exhibit or the giant tractor tire in Hippo Haven? They might look out of place but actually they were put there on purpose. This is called animal enrichment, which is providing stimulating and challenging environments, objects, and activities for animals. The Biologists provide many different types of enrichment for our animals to keep them happy and healthy. You can provide your pets at home with enrichment too! Here are a couple different examples of how you can make enrichment for your pets.

Callin's dog Lily enjoys her specially-designed enrichment toy.

Callin’s dog Lily enjoys her specially-designed enrichment toy.

Dogs love toys, right? You can make toys very easily for your dog. If you have an old sock that no one is using anymore and a tennis ball, it can make a great tug toy. Simply put the tennis ball inside the sock all the way to the bottom. Tie a knot around the top of the tennis ball, and ta da! You have a wonderful new toy for your favorite pup. Another kind of enrichment is using food. You can put peanut butter inside of a rubber chew toy. Your pup will love trying to lick out all the yummy peanut butter. Always make sure that your dog does not have any food allergies before giving them new treats.

Callin's cat Milton checks out the string enrichment toy.

Callin’s cat Milton checks out the ribbon and string enrichment toy.

Cats are really easy to please if you have some ribbon or paper and some string. You can tie bits of ribbon or shredded paper to the end of a string. Then tie the other end to the back of a chair so that it hangs just above the ground. Cats love pouncing and grabbing for the hanging toy. Another thing that you can do for your furry friend is get a bird feeder. Set the bird feeder up outside of a window that your cat can easily see out of. This will be like kitty TV. This is also great in the winter because you will be helping feed the birds as well as amusing your cat.

Callin provides Bugsy some exercise enrichment

Callin provides Bugsy some exercise enrichment

For those of you who have the more exotic pets such as parrots, hedgehogs, chinchillas, and other small critters it is very easy to find things just around your house to make enrichment out of. The easiest is cardboard boxes. Our parrots here at Adventure Aquarium love boxes. You can hide their food inside the box so that they have to discover how to open the box to get their treat. Our small mammals such as the hedgehog and chinchillas love just hiding inside boxes. Anything that they can munch on is great too.

Biologist Kate Budion provides our penguins some enrichment by way of bubbles!

Biologist Kate Budion provides our penguins some enrichment by way of bubbles!

Trinidad explores a cardboard box and shredded paper during a special enrichment session.

Trinidad explores a cardboard box and shredded paper during a special enrichment session.

We create enrichment for many of our animals here at Adventure Aquarium. We hope that these tips will inspire you to create enrichment for your critters. Just remember to mix it up as the same enrichment used repeatedly can become less exciting.

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2 thoughts on “Aquarium Insider: Tips and suggestions for providing enrichment for your animals at home

  1. Very nice blog, i love it …

  2. i love aquarium 🙂

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