To continue with our list of bizarre pets, here’s the next one:
Walking sticks. A lot of people wonder about the name, but i assure you it is not a misnomer. Ranging in colour from yellow to green to brown, and with a thin, elongated body, these insects are masters at camouflage. The best part is, their movements are slow and careful, so it can be very hard to actually spot them in the wild. The most common specie of stick insects available to keep as pets is the Indian Stick Insects, originally residents of Tamil Nadu. Unfortunately, as is with a lot of exotic pets, a few of these were released into the wild in parts of US and UK and are now considered an invasive specie that have caused massive damage to local crops. Regardless, these insects, being very unique, make great pets for insect enthusiasts.It is advisable to make their habitat warm and humid, and need to be handled very gently since their legs are very delicate and are prone to snapping off.
A major drawback, unless you’re planning on breeding an entire colony, is that most of them are females, and don’t need the presence of a male insect to breed, and all eggs laid in such way will be female. Over their life-span of a year, stick insects can lay hundreds of eggs that may take about one year to hatch. The eggs may be transported away by ants, so owners have to make sure they are well protected. Although the ants do not actually eat the eggs or the larvae, they do eat the knob of the eggs, which doesn’t seem to harm the larvae as such. So unless owners watch out, they may find themselves with hundreds of stick insects swarming their home and garden. Sticks like berries and ivy as food.
Again, why would someone want to keep as pets the very fish that has been the subject of so many terrible horror movies? But apparently, piranhas are much more common as pets than one would imagine. A lot of people consider them cool pets, without considering the exorbitant costs involved when it comes to their tank, upkeep, feed, maintenance and vet bills, not to mention the fact that they need a lot of space in order to be able to thrive. They need huge tanks that are heated to very specific temperature requirements, and need to be cleaned very regularly. Dirty water makes them very susceptible to diseases such as fin rot. To add to the costs, they are very aggressive, and tend to knock down fixtures such as heaters, rocks or plants. To address the issue of feeding them, piranhas are omnivorous, and can be fed fish carcasses, frozen fish food such as shrimps etc, but owners will often feed them other live fish and small mammals such as baby mice, or pinkies. Obviously, keeping piranhas as pets requires the ability to stomach these acts.
Although they live in schools when smaller, they quickly outgrow these tendencies, and prefer to be solitary as they grow up. Keeping two or three in a tank at a time is not unheard of, but then neither is a bigger fish tearing apart smaller ones. A lot of piranha owners claim that they can be kept with other species, as long as they are well fed all the time. In case you were wondering, yes, there have been cases of the fish taking a chunk out of their owners, but that does not seem to deter fans of the piranha.
if you think piranhas are deadly, then let me introduce you to the next animal on our list, the hippopotamus. If you’ve seen a hippo at a zoo or in photos, then you probably have no idea what I’m talking about. Hippos may look chubby and lazy, but they’re actually responsible for more human deaths in Africa than any other large animal. Their closest relatives are the whales, which shouldn’t really come as a surprise, and they’re semi-aquatic, spending most of the day wallowing in river mud. Their most powerful weapon is probably their powerful jaw, that can easily crush a human. Male hippos are very territorial and will attack anybody they see as an intruder. Despite this, there have been instances where people adopt them as babies and choose to rear them. Jessica the hippo from South Africa, for example, is something of an internet celebrity. Not all pet hippo stories have happy endings, however.
Case in point, Marius Els, a South African farmer who was savagely killed by his pet hippo Humphrey in 2011. Humphrey bit him several times and held him underwater for an indefinite point of time.
There has been a spate of loris videos online recently, with people showing off their pets eating, climbing, and participating in generally adorable activities. Lorises, with their beautiful fur and huge eyes, may appear to be very desirable as pets, but keeping them captive is simply illogical and cruel, not that any of the other animals as pets is particularly morally sound. Victims of a thriving illegal trade, there are thousands of these being poached from their homes in rainforests for various purposes, affecting wild populations. They are also subjected to cruel and unnecessary practices such as the cutting off of their teeth before being sold. The specie indigenous to India, the Slender Loris, is subjected to cruel voodoo practices, and poached and sold as pets for very high prices to customers abroad.
And with that we’d like to end on a disclaimer. There are a ton of fascinating animals out there, but most of these animals belong in the wild rather than in a cage or a tank. Keeping the animals on this list may not only be inhumane, but also illegal.