Marvellous Aunt Maneka

Aunt Maneka loves birds and animals. She is an environmentalist and a Member of Parliament, but her love for animals supersedes both.



Q. Do trees age like humans? How can we tell their age?

-Ishaan Ahuja, 7 years, Mumbai

Marvellous Aunt Maneka

A. Dear Ishaan, Yes. Like humans, trees do age but their lifespan varies for different species. One of the ways of finding out the age of a tree is by counting the rings within their branches and the trunks. These rings usually appear as alternating rings of dark and light shaded wood; you will need to count the number of dark rings to find out the tree’s age. For example, if a tree has 65 dark circles, it is 65 years old. These unique rings are known as growth rings. They are created every year when a new layer of wood is added to the branches and trunk of the tree. The light-coloured rings are known as the springwood and are generally wider in size because trees grow most during spring. The darker rings are known as summerwood and are relatively thinner because the growth of trees slows down during summer.


Q. Why does my cat shed his claws?

Marvellous Aunt Maneka

-Parul Jha, 11 years, Mumbai

A. Dear Parul,When you see a claw lying around the house, there is no need for alarm. Cats shed claws regularly. It’s a natural process that takes place every two to three months. Claws are essential for cats and other members of the cat family, as they use them for defense, climbing and hunting. As the older, outer layer of the claw gets worn out, it is shed, revealing a newer, sharper claw. You can help your cat by making sure there are plenty of options like a door mat or other rough surfaces where it can scratch to remove the older claw.



If you have questions about pets/animals/birds, write to us and we’ll ask Aunt Maneka to answer.

My Life

My Life
There is some loss,
there is some gain,
Don’t scribble your brain.
Let me explain…

Life is full of worries,
life is full of joy.
Life is not a toy,
Life can never get destroyed.

When I saw that life is
full of worries,
It means night will fall.
But still there is the moon,
and stars supporting you all.
And the night never remains too long.

The sun soon fills the sky with joy.
Everyone to whom we belong,
Supports us, making us strong.

When we play with toys,
we never care for it.
But when our life is in danger,
You have to admit,
That life is so precious.

Vrinda Mistry
12 years

Marvellous Aunt Maneka and Animals

Aunt Maneka will answer questions on how to love animals, feed them, care for them and on an occasional run-in with them what to do!


Q. I want a pet, but I live in an apartment. My mother and father find it hard to control a pet. My sister and I want a dog, but it seems too difficult. Is there any other animal as playful as a puppy that can be easily looked after in a 3 room flat?


-Riti Aggarwal, 8 years, Gurgaon

Answer: Dear Riti, Keeping a kitten is a second option. You do not need to walk him, but you will have to make arrangements for his potty. The cat can be easily toilet trained and needs less space. But avoid buying an animal from a breeder. Adopt a kitten from a local animal shelter.


Q.  I have Budgerigar birds. I have these birds for 4 years, but they are not giving eggs. What should I do?



-Varad Tamhankar, 10 years, Mumbai

Dear Varad, Budgerigars very rarely breed in captivity because they are too young (under 1 year) or too old (5 years). The females have low calcium levels, correct it with cuttle bone, mineral block and a good diet. The cages should be very large with wooden nesting boxes inside them. They will not breed if they have nowhere to lay their eggs and if you are watching them. If they are all in the same cage they might be too busy fighting. So don’t lose hope and try the above. Let me know if they breed. I will be delighted.


Q. I have a rabbit, but he tears books and other important things. I want to help him get rid of that this habit. What may I do?



-Kuldeep Kumar, 8 years, New Delhi

Rabbits are grazing animals. Their teeth keep growing and if they do not chew their teeth, they will not wear down and they will not be able to eat properly. You need to give the rabbit enough outdoor time and enough hard toys and food so that he can chew through them. Paper has cellulose in it. One reason of him chewing the paper is the rabbit may not be getting enough green food. You need to get a list of things that rabbits eat like carrot and ask a vet for safe toys. Your rabbit may also be bored and simply trying to attract attention. Rabbits need companionship. Try getting another rabbit to keep him company. If it is going to be of a different gender then have the male sterilized.


If you have questions about pets/animals/birds, write to us and we’ll ask Aunt Maneka to answer.