Every day I receive emails, texts, instant messages, and other forms of communication from Exotic Pet BellaOnline members, readers, newsletter subscribers, or guests telling me their personal stories about their pets.
We rarely hear the positive side of exotic pets and their human families from the media because it is not newsworthy, the stories that are never heard because they don’t include blood, shock, and gore.
I would like to introduce you to just a few of these remarkable people and their extraordinary pets.
Scott Hadley has had a wide variety of pets and recently discovered rats. Scott, as well as thousands of other people discovered how intelligent and personable rats are. Scott describes himself as a completely transformed rat dad. About a year ago his first pet rat arrived, Cassie who he described as his ambassador rat. "Nothing prepared us for what rats would do to us,” said Scott. “They are the most deep hearted, loving pets ever and my only concern is their small size, ---and one must always take care not to sit or step on them, as they love human companionship almost as much as they need each other."
Scott's rat pictures
Look how nice the rats line up for Scott to get their picture taken!
A couple of his first adopted rats were already well into the prime of their lives. He lost two of his rats within the first 11 months. He describes this first 11 months as a revelation, "we have already lost two, one adopted one who may have been nearly 100 in rats' years, (Rascal) and one who tragically left us just as he was transitioning from adorable angelic rat boy into man rat hood, but was taken by a horrible respiratory ailment (Mac)."
According to Scott, nothing prepared him for the experience of having rats; the rat’s ability to show warmth and the capability to love. Though primarily, Scott discovered how much he loved rats.
"This is gut-wrenching stuff, folks. I'm a 57 year old man and I forgot I could shed tears like that. These little beings grab a hold of your heart, and take a piece with them when they leave."
Rat picture of a different tale
Or, perhaps one rat thought he had a more photogenic side?
They still have their first rat Cassie plus Rose and Dusty he describes as his three girls. Plus they have three boys from the same litter. Their rats mainly came from rat rescues.
"My family and I have made the unexpected discovery of what wonderful pets rats are. Sentient beings like us, perhaps roughly in intelligence and compassion on par with dogs," said Scott.
Enjoy my article on Pet Rats!
Love goes beyond furry to the realm of reptile as Buck Smolow describes their pets Slick and Silly. Buck and his wife Jennie bought Slick and Silly at a reptile show in Tampa Florida.
Both Buck and Jennie love snakes but had no intention of buying any animals. The only thing they couldn’t handle about snakes was feeding them rodents. That is until they happened upon a solution to their problem.
Very different snake pictures
Tanzanian Egg Eating Snakes
"We came across a booth with tiny cute little snakes in a margarine containers with clear lids and they were so cute – squirmy worms, but with faces," said Buck. "We got talking to the guy and he said they were Tanzanian Egg Eating Snakes- Dasypeltis Scabra."
They found out firsthand how little many breeders and merchants knew little about the animals they were selling.
"He didn’t seem to know much about them and we knew that we could learn and take good care of one of them," said Buck. So they set out to learn as much as they could. “He went from being a skinny worm-like, a few inches long, to nearly 4 feet long."
More snake pictures
Egg Eating Snake eating eggs and seems to be enjoying every single morsel!
According to Buck, Slick spends time buried in his aspen shavings but knows how to ask to get out of his cage.
“Sometimes he’ll be out and about sniffing around the door opening, “said Buck. “All we have to do is open the door and he comes out for a look around.
Slick loves the opportunity to explore.
“He’ll go anywhere we let him. He’ll ‘walk’ across the floor, up the side of the couch. He’ll climb around the stuff on the coffee table, “said Buck. “ We keep an eye on him of course, but he seems to enjoy exploring.”
Enjoy my article on Corn Snakes
My article Snakes as Exotic Pets
Silly is the second pet they had no intention of buying at the reptile show. “When you see Silly, it’s obvious why someone would want her. She’s adorable – with her little ‘eyelashes’ she’s so cute,” explained Buck.
Crested Gecko pictures
Silly the Crested Gecko
However, already smitten the salesman’s daughter made sure they were hooked. “She was a very good salesperson but we’d pretty much already fallen for the gecko,” said Buck. “Silly was a little speck of a thing in a margarine container with a clear lid (just like Slick).”
Buck said Silly became an instant source of hilarity. “She jumps like a grasshopper – from anywhere to anywhere. It’s pretty impressive.
Buck explained how the new little gecko got the name Silly. “She has the worst gecko skills in the world. She forgets to grab onto things and slides off. While she is trying to regain her footing she has a look of what’s happening here?”
More gecko pcitures
Silly is Silly!
Silly is a Crested Gecko and she had a prehensile tail, “It had a little paddle at the end and she’d use it like a hand or finger. It felt so soft when she’d hold onto you with it.”
They had read stories that adult Crested Geckos didn’t have tails. They also learned that Crested Geckos can lose their tails if frightened. One morning they found the tail and a bloody end, a reminder where the tail had come from. “Over the course of the night, she’d done something to scare herself so badly that she dropped it,” explained Buck. “We felt horrible to think of her getting that scared. Sadly, Cresties don’t grow their tails back like other geckos, so now she’s even more silly and clumsy than before.”
My companion article the Pet Gecko
Perhaps we need to take note of the dismal stories, take them for what they are worth, rare occurrences and usually they happen for a reason, a reason that you will never know. Recognize that for every single ghastly story there are thousands of stories that will warm your heart and soul.
My Reptiles Articles - Reptile Care Articles
Snakes - How to Care for Snakes
Gecko - Snake - Rats - Reader's Personal Stories
Exotic Pet Laws and regulations
Crested Geckos: From the Experts at Advanced Vivarium Systems
If you have enjoyed my exotic pet articles I know you will enjoy my new book Ferrets: A Complete Guide. Ferrets: A Complete Guide is a Book for novice ferret owners, experienced ferret owners, and people that are considering a ferret for the first time. Great as a reference guide or a standalone care book for ferrets.
FERRETS: A Complete Guide
EBook PDF format Ferrets: A Complete Guide
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