Monday, November 14, 2011

A Whole World of Pets

When I was growing up I always longed for a pet. You know like a dog or a cat, the type of thing that would stay with me at night and keep me warm and safe from harm no matter what.

My folks seemed to like animals and once, when we went on a yacht charter vacation, my dad even said it would be cool to have an alligator like Sonny Crocket in Miami Vice but when we got home he never mentioned it again and even though I begged for a dog nothing seemed to work. However, at school, we had this sort of animal shed that was connected to the Biology department.

Now, obviously, there were plenty of rumours flying around as to the reason for having a shed well-stocked with rodents i.e. where do you think they get the mice for the dissection lessons in fourth grade? But I was perfectly happy in my ignorance and volunteered to help out in my lunch breaks and a few days after class.

Now the really neat thing about being a member of the animal shed crew was that we got to take a few of the critters home over school vacations and I ended up with mice, rats and even a giant African land snail much to my mom’s initial horror.

The land snail was cool and we kept him in an empty fish tank so we could watch peristalsis in action as his foot muscles worked up the side of the glass. He ate cucumbers, lettuce and chalk, to keep his shell hard, and he soon grew into a massive beast, reminiscent of the enlarged monsters in movies like Jason and the Argonauts and Clash of the Titans.

Now one thing that my Biology teacher, Dr Martin, had failed to mention was that these freakish snails are hermaphrodites which basically means that they don’t have any trouble looking for a mate because they’ve got all bases covered within their own reproductive organs, if you know what I mean.

The long and the short of it was that Speedy ended up having like a zillion little Speedies which meant that his/her tank was full to capacity almost overnight.

We ended up giving his/her children to the local zoo who were able to house them in the reptile house, even though they’re gastropods, and we went to see them occasionally until we forgot all about them like grandma in the home.

Anyway, this got me to wondering what other animals there are in the world that people keep as pets and I’ve managed to make a list of five that I found to be particularly handsome.

Pot-bellied pigs
These little porkers are from Vietnam and, believe it or not, people actually keep them as pets and not just the Vietnamese. They look really cute and although their faces are all scrunched up like they’ve been chasing parked cars you can’t help but fall in love with them. They’re really clean too and having one in your house will ensure you never have to vacuum another day in your life.

Monitor lizard
Reptiles are big business in the pet world and from snakes to turtles our fondness for scaly creatures knows no bounds. The monitor lizard is the daddy of them all and although it originates from Asia and Africa it’s not uncommon to find one strolling around a front room in downtown LA or even Pittsburgh.

If you’re looking for cute and cuddly then look no further than South America’s finest, the Chinchilla. Although their tiny faces would melt even the sternest of hearts it may come as some surprise to learn that, due to their velvet soft pelts, these Andean lovelies have almost been hunted to extinction. These make excellent pets and even though they are really quick and shouldn’t be fed after midnight, even a child could take care of one.

In the north of England, ferrets are kept down working men’s pants to keep their legs warm whilst they’re outside on the moors or down the mines. As these elongated mouse faces are carnivorous keeping them in your home, let alone up your trouser leg, is something of a gamble however, with careful training and constant attention, they can be tamed to be as affectionate as a rat.

Way down deep in the rivers of South America the razor-teethed fishes known as nippermuchosmuchos to the locals are revered for their hunger for fresh meat and just three on their own have been known to strip a cow to its carcass in a matter of seconds. For some reason people, mainly lonely martial artists, have decided that they’d be great to have as pets and although they can’t be stroked in the way we would do a cat or dog they are still cared for just as much.

If you’re wondering what I currently have in my house in the way of pets it may come as a slight surprise when I tell you that I don’t own any pets but I am considering getting a ferret but just for the winter months.

See ya pet lovers.

Author bio
Chris is a pet lover with a passion for travelling the world and sharing his experiences online.