Archive for the ‘exotic pets’ Category


1. He admits creationism is a religion.

2. He thinks evolution is a religion that says butterflies turn into horses, which it is not.

3. He think kangaroo fossils have been found in Africa, which they have not.


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I just watched a show on Nat Geo Wild about women who keep pet monkeys, which they call “monkids.”  These monkeys bite their human children and get diabetes from eating too much junk food. So yeah, you don’t need a pet monkey.

But I think Richard Pryor did a better job than I ever could of explaining why you really don’t need a pet monkey:


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The new fish

Tiger or Sumatran barbs (Puntius tetrazona). Barbs are tropical members of the goldfish and carp family (Cyprinidae).

This particular species is much easier to care for than a green spotted puffer.

They are omnivores! And eat dead food!

Major plus!

They are far more intelligent than any goldfish I’ve been around.

The big male will eat food from your fingers.

I think he should be named Soeharto, after the  former Indonesian dictator. (And in honor of the Indonesian origin of these fish, I suggest we spell it the Indonesian way.)




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This serval was found wandering in southeastern Arizona. It was thought to be an ocelot. The ears gave it away.for me.

A supposed ocelot was photographed in southeastern Arizona. There have been at least two confirmed ocelots in Arizona. (And a jaguar has been spotted in Arizona, too.)

But this one was not an ocelot after all. It’s actually an introduced species that might even be able to colonize Arizona.

KOLD reports:

After further review, the Arizona Game and Fish Department said the reported rare sighting of an ocelot was another species of cat called a serval.

A serval is a popular African cat in the pet trade, the fish and game department said.

The Department uses a three-tiered classification system to rank reported sightings from the public based on the level of physical evidence available, the department said.

The presence of physical evidence such as scat, hair, tracks and/or photos and video can lead to a Class I designation of “verifiable” or “highly probable.”

A second-tier classification is one that lacks physical evidence, but is considered “probable” or “possible” because the sighting was made by an experienced or reliable observer that usually has wildlife or field experience.

The third tier classification is one that does not have sufficient physical evidence or sufficient details, or is otherwise of questionable reliability and would be considered “highly unlikely” or “rejected” as evidence for occurrence.

Friday’s report of an ocelot was classified as “highly probable” based on the photos and the paw prints taken at the location of the sighting. The officer responding was unable to locate the animal or retrieve additional physical evidence such as hair or scat.

Game and Fish shared the photographs with department biologists and other ocelot experts for an independent analysis. The effort helped definitively determine if it was an ocelot, hybrid or other large cat, as well as compare it to photos from previous sightings to determine if it is the same or a different animal from those sightings.

“Upon closer examination, some key identification markers make a stronger case for this being a serval, or serval hybrid rather than an ocelot,” said Eric Gardner, Nongame Branch Chief. “Although the pictures are blurry, two show that the animal has long ears, long legs, and appears to display only solid spots instead of the combination of solid spots and haloed rosettes seen on an ocelot.”

“This is a textbook example of why the Department attempts to makes such a clear distinction between a report of any rare wildlife sighting versus one with properly examined physical evidence. Positive identification by species experts or genetic analysis is required before any report is entered into our Heritage Data Management System as confirmed. It appears that this one may go down as ‘close but no cigar'” Gardner said.

There have been only two sightings of an ocelot in Arizona this year.

This animal is obviously not an ocelot. The ears gave it away for me.  But if you’ve never been to a nice cat house at a zoo, it’s hard for the average person to tell the difference. A spotted, somewhat larger cat with a long tail must be an ocelot.

Ocelots have rounded ears.

Ocelots also don’t have solid-colored spots, and their base color isn’t pale yellow.

Servals are very common on the pet market in the United States.

They are actually bred to domestic cats to produce a savannah cat– which I would call a savanna cat. Savannah is in Georgia.  The savannas are in Africa and northern South America. The serval lives in the savanna, but I suppose someone in Savannah could own a serval.

Servals couldn’t survive in the actual deserts of Arizona, but they could live near some of the larger river systems of the state.

Of course, you’d need more than one or two running loose in the wild for them to colonize, but servals are really common on the pet trade.

Arizona has pretty lax exotics laws, so servals could potentially colonize the state through escaping individuals or those that are turned loose when their owners decide they are too difficult to care for. This is also not the first serval to be found in Arizona. A three-legged serval was found wandering near Tucson in 2010.

If you think this sounds a bit far fetched, keep in mind that the only “wild” true antelopes in the United States are gemsbok, a type of oryx native to the Kalahari. They were intentionally introduced to New Mexico as a game species, and they have thrived.

I don’t think it is so crazy to think that servals might be able to develop self-sustaining colonies in parts of the United States. I’ve long thought that it would be just a matter of time before we had self-sustaining populations of Asian leopard cats, which, like the servals, are mainly kept to produce a hybrid with a domestic cat.  The Bengal cats that result from the cross have quite a following. (Most Bengals and savannahs on the pet market are usually more than a couple of generations removed from their wild cat ancestor. Fertility and temperament issues exist with the earlier generations.)

So Arizona is full of cats.

I am wondering how long until someone sees a jaguarundi, and after close inspection, it turns out to be a Burmese.


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From WLTZ:

School are closed in five central Ohio districts on Wednesday, because of wild animals on the loose.

Dozens of animals escaped from a wild animal preserve that houses all kinds of exotic, and dangerous, creatures. Officials are advising residents in and around Muskingum County to stay inside and report any strange sightings. Police have already shot as many as 25 creatures on their way out to the Muskingum County Animal Farm in Zanesville. Sheriff Matt Lutz with the Muskingum County Sheriff’s Office said, “One of the deputies told me they felt they had shot approximately 25 on the way up to the house to check on Mr. Thompson. So, you know, that number could be high or low, depending. You know, when they’re shooting animals in all directions, it’s hard to keep track,”

The farm’s owner, Terry Thompson, was found dead outside his home earlier this evening. His death is still under investigation.

But what has police concerned right now is about 48 animals on the loose. The sheriff continued, “We’ve got a little bit of a list compiled. Mainly, there were grizzly bears and black bears there. There were cheetahs, there were lions,and there were tigers. These were the primary things that we would be concerned with. Any kind of a cat species and any kind of a bear species right now is what we’re mainly concerned with.”

No injuries have been reported from the animal escape.

Zanesville is between Columbus and Wheeling on I-70.

I-70 is a major East-West highway.

That means that there are many, many people passing through that area every day, and my guess is that people will start seeing animals that aren’t there in the first.

This has got to be the best reason to cancel school I’ve ever heard of.

Snow day?

How about a lion, tiger, and bear day?

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From The Zoologist: A Monthly Journal of Natural History (January 1894):

Mr. S. J. Hurley, of Killaloe [in County Clare, Ireland], who has had many tame Otters, wrote in Sept. 1889: —

“You may take my word for it that Otters, when hard pressed for food, do hunt and kill Water-hens [moorhens], and, indeed, other species of water-fowl as well. On one occasion I even caught an Otter in the act of killing a goose. I had been out one morning fishing iu a tributary of the Shannon, and as 1 turned a somewhat sharp bend in the river, I found Madame Lutra tearing the feathers off a goose which she had just killed. I have kept tame Otters for many years past, so know something about them. One beauty that I had used to hunt everything she met with, both on land and in water—fish, feather, and fur. One day, in winter, we were going after the Snipe in the marsh, where it was impossible to work without a retriever. My favourite Irish water spaniel being laid up at home at the time, I could not bring her, but thought I would give Loo (the Otter) a chance of signalising herself. I took her to the marsh, and no spaniel iu the world could have performed better. She put up the Snipe splendidly, and retrieved any birds that fell into the big pools or bog-holes” (pg. 5).

This account is rather interesting because the otter has not always had such a good name among the sporting enthusiasts of Europe.

Otters have traditionally been regarded as pests to game and market fish stocks in Europe, and as a result, they have been relentlessly persecuted. The fact that otters occasionally take birds also meant that they were very often the target of the gamekeeper’s gun or the quarry of his hounds. Even when otter hunting with packs of otterhounds became a sporting gentlemen’s hobby, it was primarily about pest control and only secondarily about sport.

The otter is not a creature that many Europeans actually liked well enough to bring into the home.

However, there have been cases of Europeans using otters to catch fish, and parts of Asia have a very strong fishing otter tradition of fishing otters.

But this is the first account I’ve encountered of an otter doing the work of a retriever.

It must have never been a very common request of any otter; otherwise, the retriever would always be playing second fiddle to the true “water dog.” If otters  had regularly been used to retrieve waterfowl, the retriever likely never would have developed.

Of course both would be put out of business if humans had figured out how to domesticate the leopard seal, which has been proven to be a fine penguin retriever.


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Pet opossum


Not recommended because of the metabolic bone disease that affects so many captive opossums.

However, these animals have been kept as pet for centuries.

They don’t live very long.  A three-year-old opossum is like a 15-year-old dog.

And they aren’t really intelligent. I’m fairly certain that different species of rodent, especially rats, are much more intelligent than opossums.

These animals don’t have to be that bright. They eat virtually anything, and they reproduce at very high rates. They are gradually evolving more cold tolerance, which is why some individuals have ranged as far north as the Eastern Townships of Quebec.

(I don’t know why the Quebec opossum was vaccinated for rabies. It is very hard for an opossum to contract rabies, and there have been very, very few cases of them having the disease. When frightened, opossums stand with a threat gape and drool, which might be mistaken for a rabid animal. If you continue to bother them, they got into they go into the comatose phase, and green stuff comes out of their anuses. Talk about a defense strategy!)

Virginia opossums are commonly eaten in many parts of the US. Normally, the opossum is caught alive and fed table scraps for a week or two, just so they don’t have a garbage-like taste to their flesh.

It is not a big step from taking keeping wild opossums for the table in this fashion to keeping them as actual pets.


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This is an interesting idea, even though doing so is currently illegal:


I don’t know what sort of special care a quoll might require and how that might differ from caring for a ferret or a cat.

And if you want a dog, then you could get a dingo. Some dingoes do tame down quite nicely. A few have even made it as stockdogs, and at least one has made as a guide dog.

Not all dingoes make good pets, but they are closer to a domesticated animal that those marsupial carnivores, which might require some really intense selective breeding to make a safe family pet.

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Want a pet Canada lynx?

I don’t think so:


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