Hillview Exotics

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Mammals

Short Tailed Opossum

The gray short-tailed opossum is a small opossum. It was the first marsupial to have its genome sequenced. It is naturally found in arboreal habitats in Bolivia, Brazil and Paraguay. The opossum is used as research model in science. It is also known as the Brazilian opossum or rainforest opossum.

The opossums are very small and make great pets. Their diet must be kept varied with fresh fruits, kitten chow and baby food. Fresh water is a necessity and they should have some type of exercise wheel. These opossums are nocturnal just like the Virginia Opossums. Also just like Virginia Opossums, they have a pouch where the young will climb to and attach to a nipple until they ween.

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Degu

The Degu (pronounced DAY-goo) is a small caviomorph rodent that is native to Chile. It is sometimes referred to as the Brush-Tailed Rat (although not closely related to the rat family) and is also called the Common Degu. Other members are also called degus, but they are distinguished by additional names. Degus are closely related to the chinchilla and guinea pig.

Degus are highly social. They live in burrows, and, by digging communally, they are able to construct larger and more elaborate burrows than they could on their own. Degus digging together coordinate their activities, forming digging chains. Females living in the same group have been shown to spontaneously nest communally; they nurse one another's young. They spend a large amount of time on the surface, where they forage for food. When foraging, their ability to detect predators is increased in larger groups, and each animal needs to spend less time in vigilance. Degus exhibit a wide array of communication techniques. They have an elaborate vocal repertoire, and the young need to be able to hear their mother's calls if the emotional systems in their brains are to develop properly. They use their urine to scent mark, and experiments have shown that they react to one another's marks. Degus' urine turns white when dry. Many degus bite when coming in contact with an unfamiliar scent.

Degus are seasonal breeders; the breeding season for wild degus begins in the Chilean winter, with pups born mid-late spring. It is also speculated that female degus are induced ovulators. Female degus are pregnant for approximately ninety days, having a long gestation period compared to other squirrels and even rodents such as hamsters. Litters usually contain four to seven pups, but size can range from one or two up to fifteen young. Degu pups are born relatively precocial, fully furred and with eyes open, and their auditory and visual systems are functional at birth.

Degus are diurnal, have good vision are herbivores, feeding on grasses and browsing the leaves of shrubs, though they will also take seeds. It is not uncommon to see them chewing their own feces so as to extract more nutrition from them. This also serves to maintain healthy gut function. Degus are prone to diabetes due to their divergent insulin structure.

Degus have become popular as pets, though until very recently they were seldom found in pet shops. Their advantages over traditional small pets are their diurnal habits, bubbly personalities, the haired tail (as compared to rats and mice) and their lifetime: they are said to live up to 13 years under ideal circumstances (though a poor gene pool/genetic background often reduces a pet degu's lifespan significantly). The average lifespan of a degu in captivity is said to be around 5-8 years of age. Their intelligence makes them easy to tame and to learn new things. Degus often 'groom' their human owners, by a gentle nibbling action, but they can give a defensive bite if they feel threatened.

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Chinchilla

Chinchillas are native to the Andes Mountains in South America. The animal (whose name literally means "little Chincha") is named after the Chincha people of the Andes, who wore its soft and dense fur.

Chinchilla were brought to America in 1918 by a mining engineer. At this point, chinchillas were already close to extinction from humans killing them for the fur trade. It took over 12 months to move the small animals down the mountain allowing them time to acclimate to lower altitudes before bring them to the US. Since then, chinchillas have become increasingly popular as house pets. Extremely quite, these small docile rodents become active in late afternoon and early evening hours.

Because of their long term domestication and breeding, most have a great disposition and are easily trained making them a great pet. Chin’s love to be held and play but need a closed in space as they can get into nearly any open hole and they are curious by nature. Unlike most pets, Chin’s never need to bath in water, in fact, if your Chin gets wet, it needs to be dried immediately. Chin’s bathe in Volcanic Dust, which can be purchased at, nearly any pet store and they love to roll around in the stuff. This Volcanic bath they take can be a bit messy when they roll around. Due to their dense fur, they rarely even get parasites such as fleas or ticks.

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Squirrels

Native to most of North America, squirrels can be found in many colors and varieties. The most common are the Gray Squirrel, Fox Squirrel, Pine Squirrel and Flying Squirrel. All squirrels are great climbers and most are diurnal, the exception is the flying squirrel which is nocturnal. Most speicies are scatter-hoarders; they hoard food in numerous small caches for later recovery. It has been estimated that an individual squirrel can make several thousand caches each season. Squirrels have very accurate memory for the locations of these caches, and use distant and nearby landmarks to retrieve them. Smell is used once they are within a few inches of the cache. It is one of very few mammalian species that can descend a tree face-first. It performs this feat by means of the backward-pointing claws, one each, on its hindpaws.

Most Squirrels build a type of nest, known as a drey, in the forks of trees. The drey consists mainly of dry leaves and twigs; Spanish moss is also useful where it's available. Some species of squirrel will take empty woodpecker holes for homes. Most are more active during the early and late hours of the day, and tend to avoid the heat in the middle of a summer day. They do not hibernate.

Squirrels eat a range of foods such as tree bark, many types of seeds and acorns, walnuts, and other nuts, and some types of fungi found in the forests. When its usual food source is scarce, some will also prey upon insects, frogs, small rodents, including other squirrels, and small birds, their eggs and young. They will also sometimes eat bones.

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Gray Squirrel

The Eastern Gray Squirrel, or the Grey Squirrel, is a prolific and adaptable species. Predominantly gray fur but it can have a reddish color. It has a white underside and a large bushy tail. Both white- and black-colored individuals are quite often found in the wild. The melanistic form, which is almost entirely black, is predominant in certain populations and in certain geographic areas. There are also genetic variations within these, including individuals with black tails and black colored squirrels with white tails.

Eastern Gray Squirrels breed twice a year, December to February and May to June. The first litter is born in February to March, the second in June to July. There are normally two to six young in each litter. The gestation period is about 44 days. The young are weaned at 7 weeks and leave the nest after 10 weeks and they can live to be 20 years old in captivity.

As well as Standard Gray, we also have the Melanistic color (Black)

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Fox Squirrel

Information coming soon.

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Red Pine Squirrel

Pine squirrels are currently only two species, the American Red Squirrel and the Douglas Squirrel. Both are native to North America: pine squirrels can be found in the northern and western United States, most of Canada and Alaska.

Pine squirrels are small tree squirrels with bushy tails. They conform most closely to the commonly held idea of what a squirrel looks like and how it behaves. The American Red Squirrel should not be confused with the Eurasian Red Squirrel, both are usually just referred to as the "red squirrel" in their home continents.

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Flying Squirrel

The Southern Flying Squirrel is one of two species of the only flying squirrels found in North America (the other is the somewhat larger Northern Flying Squirrel). It is found in mixed woods in the eastern half of North America, from southeastern Canada to Florida.

Southern flying squirrels have grey brown fur on top with darker flanks and are a cream color underneath. They have large dark eyes and a flattened tail. They have a furry membrane called a patagium which extends between the front and rear legs, used to glide through the air. Although graceful in flight, they are parcticularly vulnerable on the ground.

Both in the wild and in captivity they can produce two litters each year (with 2-7 young per litter), in early spring and mid-summer. The gestation period is approximately 40 days. Young are born without fur or any capabilities of its own. Their ears open at 2 to 6 days old, and fur grows in by 7 days. Their eyes don't open until they are 24-30 days old. Parents leave their young 65 days after they are born. The young then become fully independent at 120 days of age.

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Skunk

Skunks are known to everyone by sight, smell, and reputation. The striped skunk is about the size of a house cat, with a large deep body, small head, and short legs. The hair is long and black, with a broad patch of white on its head and shoulders. Two white lines forming a “V” from the shoulder area may extend part way or all of the way to the base of the bushy tail. Color variations include brown, white, cream, black, and, occasionally, albino. Males and females are colored alike with males being slightly larger in size.

Skunks are omnivores, meaning that they eat both meat and vegetables. Some of their favorites include insects, small mammals, fish, crustaceans, fruits, grasses, leaves, buds, grains, nuts, and carrion. Although not true hibernators, skunks do store quantities of body fat in the fall. When the weather gets cold they will retreat to protective dens where they remain for several weeks or a month at a time. Skunks are primarily nocturnal animals and very seldom do they wander around during the daytime. Being highly adaptable they can fit in to almost any environment.

Breeding is from late February through March and the young are born in about 63 days. Average litter size is between 2-10 offspring which stay with their mother until the following spring. Skunks are well known for their ability to spray musk when threatened. They can spray with great accuracy up to 15 feet. Because of this reason, we at Hillview Exotics only sell offspring which are de-scented.

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Opossum

The opossum is North America’s only marsupial (a mammal that carries its underdeveloped young in a pouch until they are capable of living independently). It is also one of the oldest and most primitive species of mammal in North America. This animal is little changed from its ancestors 70 million years ago.

An adult opossum is about the size of a large house cat, with coarse, grizzled grayish fur. It has a long, scaly tail, ears without fur, and a long, pointed snout that ends in a pink nose. Opossums are quite adaptable, however, their ideal habitat is an area interspersed with woods, wetlands, and farmland. The den is usually situated in a wooded area near water. The opossum is an opportunist that will take shelter anywhere it can stay dry and safe from predators. It often uses the deserted dens of other animals, brush piles, tree holes or openings under old buildings as shelter.

The opossum’s best known behavior is that of “playing possum”. When threatened, the opossum may hiss and bare its teeth. More likely, though, it will roll over and lay motionless, appearing to be dead. When the danger is past, the opossum “revives” and resumes its activities. They are Omnivorous eating nearly anything to include carrion (dead animals), insects, fish, reptiles, eggs, fruits, vegetables, and nuts.

Breeding Season is generally February-March, but can run from January-October. Offspring are born in just 13 days but will crawl along their mother’s underside to the pouch and remain there for about 2 months. Average litter size is 9. Opossums can have anywhere from 1-3 litters a year. At about three months of age, young possums emerge from the pouch for short periods and will hitch a ride on the mother’s back to get from place to place. In several days to a week later the young leave the “nest” for good.

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Raccoon

The raccoon also known as the common raccoon, North American raccoon, or northern raccoon is a medium-sized mammal native to North America. The raccoon is usually nocturnal and is omnivorous, with a diet consisting of about 40% invertebrates, 33% plant foods, and 27% vertebrates. It has a grayish coat, of which almost 90% is dense underfur, which insulates against cold weather. Two of its most distinctive features are its extremely dexterous front paws and its facial mask, which are themes in the mythology of several Native American tribes. Raccoons are noted for their intelligence, with studies showing that they are able to remember the solution to tasks up to three years later.

The most characteristic physical feature of the raccoon is the area of black fur around the eyes which contrasts sharply with the surrounding white face coloring. This is reminiscent of a "bandit's mask" and has thus enhanced the animal's reputation for mischief. The slightly rounded ears are also bordered by white fur. It is assumed that raccoons recognize the facial expression and posture of other members of their species more quickly because of the conspicuous facial coloration and the alternating light and dark rings on the tail.

The most important sense for the raccoon is its sense of touch. The "hyper sensitive" front paws are protected by a thin horny layer which becomes pliable when wet. The five digits of the paws have no webbing between them. They are able to identify objects before touching them with vibrissae located above their, non-retractable claws. The raccoon's paws lack an opposable thumb and thus it does not have the agility of the hands of primates.

Though usually nocturnal, the raccoon is sometimes active in daylight to take advantage of available food sources. Raccoons usually mate in a period triggered by increasing daylight between late January and mid-March. After usually 63 to 65 days of gestation (although anywhere from 54 to 70 days is possible), a litter of typically two to five young (known as a "kit", plural "kits") are born in spring. The kits are subsequently raised by their mother until dispersion in late fall. Although captive raccoons have been known to live over 20 years, their average life expectancy in the wild is only 1.8 to 3.1 years.

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Foxes

The Fox is a mammal related to the common Dog and their range varies from region to region. The Red Fox is most common.

Fox eyes are gold to yellow and have distinctive vertical-slit pupils, similar to domestic cats. Their behavior, eye-slits, and extreme agility for a canid, warrants them to be referred to as the "cat-like canine". Its long bushy tail provides balance for jumps and complex movements. Its strong legs allow it to reach speeds up to 45 mph.

Their pelt has long, soft hair. During the autumn and winter, Foxes will grow more fur. This winter fur keeps the animal warm in the colder environment. The fox sheds this fur at the onset of spring, for the duration of the summer. While some breeds such as the Red and Silver never change color, others like the Arctic have 2 very different color patterns. This change in color between Summer and Winter is due to the chnage in their enviornment in the wild. In winter Arctic are solid white except their nose and Summer they change to a dark/light pattern.

Marbled Fox

Marble foxes are actually genetic mutations (also called color phases) of the Red Fox. These have been successfully bred to create a beautiful white colored fox with patches of tan and black patterned across the face and body. Although similar, no two are alike.

Marble foxes are slightly larger than standard Red Foxes but like all fox breeds, when properly trained and worked with as kits, can be as tame as a common dog. This is by no means a definite as foxes are still wild animals.

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Pearl Fox

The Pearl is another genetic mutation of the Red Fox. They are completely grey except for the white tip at the end of their tale and a patch of white fur on their breast. Slightly smaller in size than the Red.

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Red Fox

It is the largest of the foxes but does vary from region to region. The Red Fox is most commonly a rusty red, with white underbelly, black ear tips and legs, and a bushy tail usually with a distinctive white tip. The "red" tone can vary from dark chestnut to golden, with bands of red, brown, black and white on each individual hair. There are two other color phases; the first is silver or black, the second is seen as having additional dark patterning on the face, with a stripe across the shoulders and down the centre of the back. The stripes form a "cross" over the shoulders, and these foxes are therefore often called cross foxes.

Some mutations outside of the Marbled variety have produced very unique animals. Cinnamon Red Fox are nearly a rust color while others such as the Red Pearl Fox has a pearl gray color where a red fox would normally be black (the ears, feet and sometimes tail).

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Silver Fox

Occurring naturally in the wild, the Silver Fox is a grey morph of the Red Fox. It is nearly all black with white ends on the fur giving it a gray look. As with the Red Fox, it has a white tip on it's tail. Most silver foxes will also have a patch of white fur on their breast.

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Gray Fox

Information coming soon

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Arctic (Polar) Fox

The Arctic Fox, also known as the Polar Fox, White Fox or Snow Fox, is a small fox native to cold Arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere. They have a circumpolar range, meaning that they are found throughout the entire Arctic, and is common throughout the Arctic tundra. Its furry paws allow it to walk on ice in search of food. The Arctic Fox has such keen hearing that it can precisely locate the position of prey under the snow. When it finds prey, it pounces and punches through the snow to catch its victim. Its fur changes color with the seasons: in the winter it is white to blend in with snow, while in the summer months it changes to shades of gray, and/or brown.

The gestation period is 53 days. Litters tend to average 5-8 pups but may be as many as 25. Both the mother and the father help to raise their young. The kits are initially brownish; as they become older they turn white. If there is an overabundance of food hunted, the Arctic Fox will bury what they cannot eat.

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Coyote

The coyote, also known as the American jackal or the prairie wolf, is a species of canine found throughout North and Central America, ranging from Panama in the south, north through Mexico, the United States and Canada. It occurs as far north as Alaska and all but the northernmost portions of Canada. There are currently 19 recognized subspecies, with 16 in Canada, Mexico and the United States, and 3 in Central America.

The color of the coyote's pelt varies from grayish brown to yellowish gray on the upper parts, while the throat and belly tend to have a buff or white color. The forelegs, sides of the head, muzzle and paws are reddish brown. The back has tawny-colored underfur and long, black-tipped guard hairs that form a black dorsal stripe and a dark cross on the shoulder area. The black-tipped tail has a scent gland located on its dorsal base. Coyotes shed once a year, beginning in May with light hair loss, ending in July after heavy shedding. The ears are proportionately large in relation to the head, while the feet are relatively small in relation to the rest of the body. Mountain dwelling coyotes tend to be dark furred while desert coyotes tend to be more bright greenish in color.

Coyotes typically grow to up to 30–34 in. in length, not counting a tail of 12–16 in, stand about 23–26 in. at the shoulder and, on average, weigh from 15–46 lbs. Northern coyotes are typically larger than southern subspecies.

Coyotes have been known to live a maximum of 10 years in the wild and 18 years in captivity. They seem to be better than dogs at observational learning.

Female coyotes are monoestrous, and remain in heat for 2–5 days between late January and late March, during which mating occurs. Once the female chooses a partner, the mated pair may remain temporarily monogamous for a number of years. The gestation period lasts from 60 to 63 days. Litter size ranges from 1 to 19 pups; the average is 6. The eyes open and ears become erect after 10 days. Around 21–28 days after birth, the young begin to emerge from the den, and by 35 days they are fully weaned. Both parents feed the weaned pups with regurgitated food. Male pups will disperse from their dens between months 6 and 9, while females usually remain with the parents and form the basis of the pack. The pups attain full growth between 9 and 12 months. Sexual maturity is reached by 12 months.

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Fallow Deer

Information coming soon.

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