Pests as Pets?!

 

Pests as Pets?!

How Can Pests be Pets?!

Humanity has a strong history of domesticating different creatures to either be useful to us, or to live alongside us as companions. With our enormous propensity for domestication, it is no surprise that our efforts eventually branched out to even encompass creatures that we initially labeled pests. The following list highlights creatures that are simultaneously pests and pets depending on their particular situations within human society.

1. Honeybees

Honeybees are actually probably the least pesky pests on this list. They very rarely, if ever, enter homes and are very focused on simply taking care of their hive and making honey. In fact, they are extremely beneficial to the environment as a whole as they help with pollination. Even with how helpful they are, they can be a bit pesky when they are in your yard uninvited… and because they can sting if they feel threatened. But their helpful nature and ability to create honey way overshadows their negatives, making them one of the first pests that were ever “domesticated” in history. The utilization of quotations around that word is due to the fact that the care of honeybees in an apiary, while supervised, is still fairly a wild, natural process and the bees are not kept in captivity.

2. Hissing Cockroaches

Roach infestations are more than just a headache, they pose a threat to your health and safety due to excessively poor sanitation. Cockroaches are extremely filthy and carry many germs and diseases on their bodies, contaminating everything they touch. They are also very destructive as they will consume everything from food to clothing and wallpaper. Furthermore, cockroaches are notoriously incredibly resilient creatures that can survive without their heads, go weeks without food, and are even extremely resistant to nuclear radiation. As one of the hardiest creatures on Earth, it’s not surprising to find that they are difficult to eliminate when they’re invading your home. With such a reputation of being terrible, nasty, and difficult pests, it is incredibly surprising that a particular breed of cockroaches, the Madagascar Hissing cockroach, has become a popular new pet. These roaches are cheap, low maintenance pests and are far cleaner than wild roaches, making them actually safe to handle. Also contrary to the commonplace pest roaches, they do not possess wings, nor can they bite.

3. Ant Farms

Ants can cause a surprising amount of damage. They can raid your cupboards – getting into all of your food, invade your personal space, and even destroy the stability and integrity of your home with their excessive chewing and building. However, the complex nature of ant hills and the amazing teamwork and productivity of the colony make ants quite a marvel to uphold… when they aren’t invading your home and stealing your food. The creator of ant farms, Milton Levine, came up with the idea after observing ants he caught in a jar. He pitched the idea to his future business partner, and brother in law, E.J. Cossman in 1956 as an “antarium.” The concept was an immediate hit as it allowed children and adults alike to study these resilient and hardworking creatures in an up close and personal way.

4 & 5. Mice and Rats

Wild rodents pose all sorts of threats to your home and health. Their teeth grow at surprisingly rapid rates and, as such, they have to chew on things for roughly 28 minutes a day in order to grind down their teeth – otherwise, their teeth would grow to the point where they cannot even close their mouths. They can chew through fabrics, wood, siding, and sometimes even metal! Both rats and mice are also notorious for climbing around in garbage and slinking through sewers… eventually finding their way into your home. As they scurry through your rooms, around your furniture and on your countertops, defecating and leaving behind remnants of urine and saliva as they do, they are contaminating everything they touch and putting you and your family at risk of some seriously detrimental diseases. However, domesticated rodents are a far cry from their dangerous, wild counterparts. Cute, cuddly, friendly, and even sometimes very smart in the case of rats, these furry little creatures can make amazing companions. Their care is fairly basic, and they can be fun to play with. However, it is important to note that although mice and rats are cousins, they differ in many ways with their actions and needs as pets, and both special care and consideration should be taken into which one is right for your family prior to adopting these little guys as pets.

Citations

Antani, K. and Burgeson, A. (2011) Blattella Germanica: German CockroachAnimal Diversity Web. The University of Michigan. Available at: https://animaldiversity.org/accounts/Blattella_germanica/ (Accessed: August 2020).

Beekeeping 101: Should You Raise Honeybees? (2020) The Old Farmer’s Almanac. Available at: https://www.almanac.com/beekeeping-101-why-raise-honeybees# (Accessed: October 2020).

Dovey, D. (2017) Best Pet for Children: Why Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches Are IdealNewsweek. Available at: https://www.newsweek.com/madagascar-hissing-cockroaches-exotic-pets-724423 (Accessed: October 26, 2020).

Hevesi, D. (2011) Milton M. Levine, Inventor of Ant Farm, Dies at 97The New York Times. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/30/business/30levine.html (Accessed: October 26, 2020).

Kraft, S. and Pinto, L. (2016) German Cockroaches: 10 Key Facts to RememberPest Control Technology. GIE Media. Available at: https://www.pctonline.com/article/german-cockroaches-10-key-facts-to-remember/ (Accessed: September 2020).

Pollick, M. (2020) The Best Ant FarmChicago Tribune. Chicago Tribune. Available at: https://www.chicagotribune.com/consumer-reviews/sns-bestreviews-pets-the-best-ant-farm-20200109-yeggveim2rbzpdknvx5jsyymbm-story.html (Accessed: October 26, 2020).

Selecting a Pet Rodent (no date) American Veterinary Medical Association. Available at: https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/petcare/selecting-pet-rodent (Accessed: October 26, 2020).

Willson, J. (2019) Rats & Mice As PetsPets on Mom. Available at: https://animals.mom.com/rats-mice-pets-1429.html (Accessed: October 26, 2020).

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