Thursday, August 8, 2013

Snakes vs Rocks

A pet snake makes about as much sense as a pet rock. Surprisingly, they stack up about the same. What do these two unusual pet choices have in common? More than you would think.

The snake: does not perform tricks, is not nice to pet.

The rock: pretty much the same.

The snake: freaks people out, makes the gerbil nervous.

The rock: makes people ask questions about you, for sure, but the gerbil seems to mind it a lot less.

The snake: unlike other pets, does not require walking or bath time with soap.

The rock: the same.

The snake: spends a lot of time seemingly still.

The rock: oh, it's got staying still down.

The snake: will definitely scare away a lot of people, including potential friends and Jehovah's witnesses who unknowingly show up to the door. Can be quite useful in such situations.

The rock: effective when wielded over head. Otherwise, not.

One important distinction between these two curious pet types: the rock will not decide in the middle of the night to escape and choke you to death. There are many things that the rock cannot do to amuse or entertain you or keep you company, but death is also on the list of things that the rock will never attempt as you sleep peacefully nearby. The same cannot be said for the wild creature that you harbour in its glass cage, biding its time.

Sure, one can make the argument that the little wolves and panthers we keep as companions could also bite and attack us. It's a sure bet that if we die in the house with no rescue, Fluffy and Mittens will probably eat us. But those domesticated creatures that we feed out of bowls on the floor are evolution's losers, the meekest of their kind who can't survive in the actual wilderness and rely on humans for survival and treats. We also know about their evolutionary weaknesses: their common foe, the vacuum cleaner and bathtime. We can control those, but there is no domesticating a snake, no more than you can teach the pet rock to fetch.

Exotic pets are dangerous and should not kept as pets in households that contain humans, particularly little humans. It is also not your right to own whatever creature you want because you think you can handle it. This is not a case of the big bad government telling you what to do. Just like you think you can drive while drunk, your right to do what you think you can do is counterbalanced by the need to protect people from what might turn out to be your gross overestimation of yourself. So you can 'handle' your liquor, so you can 'handle' your illegal pet. Doesn't mean you should.

So let's give this one over to the rocks. Those things know how to behave.

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