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Small, yet beautiful!

Many little creatures around us can make wonderful pets, but there are some things to know about them and their care requisites before making the decision to get one

Small, yet beautiful!

Why is my parrot standing on one leg?

Birds' legs have an adaptation called "rete mirabile" that minimises heat loss. The arteries that transport warm blood into the legs lie in contact with the veins that return colder blood to the bird's heart. The arteries warm the veins. Because the veins also cool the arteries, the bird's feet are closer to environmental temperature and thus don't lose as much heat as they would if they were at body temperature. And by standing on one leg, a bird reduces by half the amount of heat lost through unfeathered limbs.

Due to the absence of feathers in this part of their body, birds can suffer a lot of heat-loss through their legs and feet. To minimise the excessive heat-loss, they rest one leg in their feathers to keep it warm and use the other to maintain their balance.

Birds, sometimes, stand on one leg because of various reasons like taking rest which helps them reduce muscle fatigue. Birds have special ligaments in their toes that make it very comfortable to stand on one leg.

Why is my parrot fish turning black?

Black patches, smudges, smears, spots or markings that suddenly appear and are not natural colourings.

These markings are the result of skin cell damage. Black markings often appear in areas where the skin has been damaged by ammonia burns, bacterial infections, parasitic infestations, and injuries. These markings are often seen on fish due to the high ammonia levels. These marks are also common in African Cichlids, especially around the mouth. These are scabs that have come from digging in the gravel or from fighting.

No treatment is necessary. Much like scabs, the blackened areas are a sign that the healing process has already begun. Keep water in top condition and the areas will gradually fade in less than a couple of weeks.

My parrot has a yellow lump on its back. What should I do?

Feather cysts are a common skin and feather condition in pet birds. It occurs when a new feather fails to come out and instead curls up under the skin, within the feather follicle. As the feather grows, the lump – caused by the ingrown feather – also continues to grow until the feather cyst becomes an oval or long swelling.

A feather cyst can occur anywhere on the bird's body. In parrots, however, it is commonly seen in the primary feathers of the wing. And although any bird can suffer from feather cysts, it usually occurs in parrots, macaws (blue and gold), and canaries, which usually have multiple feather cysts.

In most birds, feather cysts are caused by an infection or an injury to the feather follicle. Treatment consists of surgically removing the involved feather follicles. If the follicle is just incised and the feather with its accumulation of keratin is removed, it will usually recur.

(Views expressed and information provided are personal. Send your questions to manekaanimallove@gmail.com)

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