October 19, 2007
I read recently that some people are now keeping sloths as pets. Now, I understand the desire to have exotic pets, but why sloths? If I want to hang around a creature that takes three days to do one thing I’ll get a job working for the government. But I digress. There are all kinds of exotic pets people are keeping now. People keep tigers, sharks, tiger sharks, tarantulas, pythons, scorpions, giant frogs, dwarf frogs, flying squirrels, possums, baboons, raccoons, skunks, giant snails, and Uncle Seymour. Some people even keep leeches, which just baffles me. If I want to hang around blood-sucking animals I’ll get a job in a law firm.
But I digress. I had a snake when I was a kid. It was a beautiful garter snake with a black body and yellow stripes and red dots and a vicious temper. Feeding time gave a whole new meaning to the phrase "caught red-handed", if you catch my drift. Finally I let it go, but at least I let it go in an area where it was an indigenous species. I’m not like those boneheads who go out, buy a Burmese python, and then release it in the Everglades where it chokes on an exotic African goat that already died from being bitten by a blue-kneed Peruvian tarantula which was then eaten by a Chinese water dragon. Some of the people who buy, for instance, exotic lizards as pets are thoughtful, conservation-minded people who see the lizards’ natural habitat being destroyed so other people can have gigantic mahogany-walled McMansions. And then there are guys who buy exotic lizards as pets because they’re insecure about the size of their own lizards, and then they’re surprised when the lizards they’ve bought grow to be eight-feet long. So they pick a quiet spot in Florida and turn their lizards loose–the exotic ones they’ve bought, not their own, which, by the way, they would still be insecure about even if it did grow to be eight-feet long.
But I digress. They’re almost as bad as the numerous jackasses who buy a cute little puppy and take it home and are surprised when it turns into a great big dog. What did they think it was going to become? A widescreen television set? In the end I don’t think there’s anything wrong with getting a pet. I just think people need to think about what they’re getting and be responsible, and if they can’t do that then they need to take their Madagascar hissing cockroaches, their giant African millipedes, their ball pythons, their Savannah monitors and kinkajous and panthers and crested dragons and turn them loose in a place where they’ll have plenty of space to run free. I suggest a mahogany-walled McMansion.