Mr. Smarty Pets Knows
Fun facts and weird stats all about animals
In 1985, Canadian Keith Connell first introduced Vietnamese potbellied pigs to North America. Originally, he intended to supply them only to zoos. The following year, the first potbellies were sold in the U.S.
According to Bird Talk magazine, Florida, California, and Texas are the three top states for bird ownership.
The American Pet Products Association estimates about 37-47% of U.S. households have a dog and 30-37% have a cat. They also estimate 70-80 million dogs and 74-96 million cats are owned in the U.S.
According to a 2002 study by researchers at the State University of New York at Buffalo, people with pets had significantly lower heart rate and blood pressure levels during a resting baseline.
A 10-year study by researchers at the University of Minnesota's Stroke Institute in Minneapolis showed that owning a cat could reduce your risk of a heart attack by nearly one third.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recommends a daily diet for pet rabbits should consist of fresh clean water; a bundle of hay that's about as big as the rabbit; grazing grass (not lawnmower clippings); an adult-sized handful of leafy green vegetables, herbs, and weeds; an eggcup's worth of pellets per kilogram of body weight; and carrots/apples for treats.
When ferrets are happy or excited, they make a clucking sound called "dooking."
A 2004 study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison found exposure to dogs in infancy, especially around the time of birth, can help children's immune development while reducing the probability of certain allergic diseases.
Never feed avocados, bananas, bean sprouts, peas, green beans, or brussels sprouts to a tortoise.
According to estimates by the American Veterinary Medical Association, 877,000 U.S. households include pet hamsters, while 847,000 include pet guinea pigs. However, it also estimates there are more pet guinea pigs (1.4 million) than there are pet hamsters (1.1 million).
Reptiles magazine says the ball python is the most popular pet snake. Breeders say they are also the friendliest and most easygoing snake species.
A study at University of Pennsylvania found that when dental patients saw fish tanks before treatment, they were less anxious. A study at Purdue University found tanks of brightly colored fish curtail disruptive behaviors and improve eating habits of people with Alzheimer's disease.
Twenty-six states have a ban on primate ownership, while 11 states (including Texas) require some sort of permit, and 13 have no restriction.
The above is information that Mr. Smarty Pants read in a book, magazine, or newspaper; heard on the radio; saw on television; or overheard at a party. You can find his regular (not-about-pets) column here.