Exotic animals provide pet alternatives


Dustyn Perona

Sophomore Dustyn Perona’s corn snake, Slapshot, lays near his newly shed skin. He sheds every month on average.

Elizabeth Hsieh, Feature editor

While some people turn to puppies or kittens when seeking the companionship of a pet, many others prefer stranger and more exotic alternatives.

From snakes to piranhas, there are many kinds of animals that spice up the role of being a pet owner.

“When I was little, I decided I didn’t want a pet everyone else had,” junior Claire Palmer said.

These strange animals often have unique appearances or abilities that make them more attractive than a typical cat or dog.

“[I have] an African Clawed Frog,” senior Noah Bylon said. “It’s albino and has strange lumps on its back and little black claws on its back legs. It also isn’t afraid of trying to eat anything, including our fingers.”

“I once had two Firebelly Toads,” senior James Pryor said. “They were a lot more unique compared to other pets because they were green and black on the top and orange and black on the bottom.”

Although many people consider getting a more exotic pet, few actually do it.

“People would look at me weird if I had a flying squirrel,” junior Andrew Nadres said.

Pet owners who do decide to keep these unusual creatures often have difficulty adjusting at first.

“I used to have four piranhas, two little ones and two big ones., junior Brianna Lohnes said. “The little one ate the other little one, and then one of the big ones ate the remaining little one.”

Many people hesitate before considering certain animals because it may require extra care and time to take care of them. Others have found that these pets are surprisingly easy to take care of in the long run.

“Really the only two conditions to keep [my frog] healthy are tropical conditions and no sun exposures,” Bylon said.

“[My snake] takes less time to take care of,” sophomore Dustyn Perona said.

There are many people with allergies who are unable to keep cats, dogs, and other more common animals. For them, amphibians and reptiles provide an optional alternative.

“I was allergic to everything doctors tested me for besides cockroaches and dogs,” junior Alix Awalt said. “But I once had a friend with iguanas, cameleons, and other exotic animals. He had every pet imaginable, and I was fine around all of them.”

Although reptiles and amphibians may scare or ward off some, others are only more attracted.

“I had a friend with one and was amazed,” Perona said.

The owners of more uncommon animals often come to acquire their pets in strange ways.

“It was in a really small cup at the pet store, and we felt bad for it,” Bylon said.

“Once a week you have to feed a snake a rodent, but when snakes are shedding, they don’t eat for a little,” Palmer said. “One week my mom decided to get a rat instead of a mouse, and he was shedding that week, so now we have a [pet] rat too.”