I have long had a fascination with exotic pets. As a teenager the first pet I wanted when I moved out “on my own” was an Albino Boa Constrictor. I saw one at the zoo and fell in love with its undulating mother-of-pearl body. A pet that flows like water, around your limbs. Then I unexpectedly fell in love with a man who had a cat, and that put paid to that idea. Cats are considered “light snacks” in ABC-world.
That man and I adopted two cats, and I decided that a much better animal for the local cat lover would be a pet skunk. Those little fellows aren’t as uncommon as you might think. In fact, now (20 years later) they’re quite popular. Seeing as they are as smart as a pig (another pet I want) and can be litterbox trained, I fully understand their popularity. I’ve kind of gone back on the idea, though, because in order to keep them as a pet you have to have their scent glands removed. Obviously. (I can’t believe I even wasted the words to say that.) As the mother of a popular breed of dog which commonly has their tails chopped off at three days old, I’m turned off from the idea of altering any animal’s natural body for my own amusement–save for spaying and neutering. It reminds me of the Chinese practice of Foot Binding. Which is one of the grossest forms of cruelty ever. Ever. What’s with this idea of causing pain in another creature just because you fancy a certain look or lack of stink?
Well, anyway, back to the topic at hand…I think a skunk may be out. Then about ten years ago I fell in love with hedgehogs. That all started when I got a little green stone one for my garden. It was so cute that I keep in inside on my bookshelf instead. All visitors to my home are greeted by the little fellow. I’d love to have a living version. But then my own hedgehog lust got away from me and I did the stupidest thing possible. I started buying stuffed hedgehogs for
me my dog. Gobie now has a veritable army of hedgehogs: George, New George, Monster George and Little George (also known as “the Baby”.) They are his favourite toys, and he carries them from room to room. So clearly if I were to get a living hedgehog NOW, it would have the lifespan of about seven and a half minutes. That’s counting the five minutes Gobie would tease him to make him squeak.
Now I’m focusing on bats. For one thing, they look like Gobie already. For another thing, we have several that live here in our trees anyway. I think of them as my free bug zappers. So what harm could there be in having a bat as a pet?
At times like this I realise that I’m a nurturer of sorts. But I’m only ever drawn to nurture the outcasts, the overlooked, the sort of creatures that don’t get much love elsewhere.