Pythons and frogs and goats, oh my: McNick students and their unusual pets

Dogs, cats, goldfish. Those who haven’t owned them have certainly seen them. Some students, however, know that there are many more options when it comes to pets.  From goats to snakes, frogs to kinkajous, a number of McNicholas students have figured out that the best pets aren’t always the most common.

Living with snake lovers comes with its perks. Junior Allie O’Keefe has a carpet python named Fluffy and a ball python named Ziggy. While they may seem intimidating, they’re far from moody. Their diet consists of small rodents such as rats or mice, which are generally bought frozen. Preparing their food is O’Keefe’s least favorite part, but watching them eat is interesting.  “[My favorite part is] seeing them move around in their cages or when we take them out to hold them,” O’Keefe said. “They’re slithery.”

Senior Christiana Swing’s sister went to a pet store, saw African Clawed Frogs, and thought they’d be a great addition to their goldfish tank. Since then, they’ve had two, Albous and Orlock.  Swing says she enjoys feeding them when they take the food pellets directly out of her hand. Although she loves them, their lack of energy sometimes scares her. When they lay in the tank without moving, they look dead .

Junior Jenna Lawrence spotted baby goats at a county fair and suggested to her parents to get them as pets. Some time and one barn later, her wish was granted. On the first day of the 2013-2014 school year, they were only a week old. They act like dogs, love to be pet, and jump constantly, but they’re definitely more work than a cat. For her, this isn’t a problem. “I’m not around animals often, so any animal besides a cat is exciting,” Lawrence said. Lawrence wakes up early every day to feed them their bottles since they’re so young. Building the shed was also expensive, but Lawrence says that it was worth it for her goats.

Ever since she watched YouTube videos of them when she was little, junior Keely Meakin wanted a pet kinkajou. Tia, her kinkajou, is now two years old and is expected to live over 20 years. Kinkajous always act young, so she has a long life of acting like a puppy. Tia hangs by her tail, climbs on whatever she can, and even gets into candy sometimes.

Having an uncommon pet can be rewarding, but they can also be a lot of work. People with unique pets must be dedicated, educated, and prepared. Some people do much better with dogs, and others are better off watching cat videos on YouTube.

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