My first pets were inch-long lizards I caught in the yard. I would create a prehistoric biosphere in an old aquarium and toss the mini-dinosaurs in. I would make ponds and simulate trees from Mom's shrubbery clippings. Unfortunately, I had not yet learned the distinction between reptiles and amphibians. Sadly, my early pets tended to die of mold.

After sufficient mourning, I bought an anole (a small, chameleon-type lizard) from the pet store. At my mother's insistence, I asked the store about care instructions (It was then that I learned that lizards DON'T need ponds) I named my new friend, and put him in the dry aquarium. My anole was pretty cool...he would hang out and turn the colors of leaves and stuff. But having a pet that you can't find (due to its superior camouflage abilities) can get to be a drag. I just kept putting meal worms in the aquarium and had faith that the reason why the worms were gone the next day was because there was a lizard in there amidst my mom's clipped shrubbery. After one unusually long lull in reptile activity, I went looking through the debris to make sure my cold-blooded pal was OK. Alas, under a particularly crusty dead leaf was a crustier, deader lizard. My brother still refers to this as the "lizard Jerky" or "mummification" incident (I still associate death with the smell of certain shrubs).

Last year, I lived with my ex-girlfriend and our two cats. These were the first non-reptilian pets I've ever had (I'm talking about the cats, NOT my ex-girlfriend). Now, granted, my exposure to pets is pretty minimal - but there is one aspect of pet ownership I just can't understand. When two previously docile beasts have their teeth bared and are mauling each other in Darwinian bloodlust, the owners always remark, "oh, they're just playing."
If you ever see someone doing that to ME, please get them OFF! Don't worry that you'll disrupt the "game" that I might be "playing, " just get the guy to stop chewing on my head! (The same goes if I start to mummify or mold)
Prehensile Tales holds these truths to be self evident.

Copyright © 1997 Prehensile Tales.

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