Saturday, September 20, 2008

Spiders and Rodents

Last week I had a terribly frightening dream in which I was attacked by an oversized, rabid raccoon baring its pointed teeth. I jolted awake with a muffled scream and had the heebie-jeebies all day. I've always liked raccoons for the most part, with their cute little paws and faces. I had somewhat of an aversion to them for awhile when we lived in Iowa, and they'd crawl up out of the streets at night like giant rats. But that was many years ago, and I had been comfortable with the idea of cute raccoons again until my recent dream.

Today Dr. H. and Laurel cleaned out the hamster's cage (or is it a gerbil? I never can remember), and once again I thought, "Why do we keep a rodent as a pet?" I really try, but I can see nothing endearing about something that twitches and has a practically hairless tail.

I laid down the law when Jesse was little that we would never have a snake as a pet. Yes, I know snakes are beautiful and not slimy and all that stuff Dr. H. tells me. I don't want a snake in my house. I really don't even want a big black snake in my flowerbed, but at least I don't have to feed that one. My friend Becky back in Iowa was a good mom who enjoyed her sons' pet snakes. I can remember standing in her shiny clean kitchen while she explained to me that she bought mice from the pet store, froze them, and then microwaved them to feed their snakes. She smiled the whole time as if it were just another happy part of her life.

Rodents are twitchy and snakes are snakey. Why is it, then, that this pet doesn't really bother me? This is Shelob, Jesse's tarantula. Right now it is somewhere in the house in a 2-litre bottle, doing spider things while Jesse cleans out its cage after its recent molting. It doesn't really do anything except sometimes move around, and every year or so, it molts, leaving behind a gauzy replica of itself.

Which, come to think about it, is rather creepy.


  1. When I was growing up my dad had pet ferretts, skunk, rats, turtles, snaked (including 10 foot pythons), lizards, salamanders, rabbits (as pets, before the snakes he bred them).
    I remember my dad would raise mice and chicks for the snakes. He'd put them in olf CoolWhip containers in the downstairs freezer. sometimes he'd forget and put them in the kitchen freezer and my mom would get somehting out and hear mice scratching to get out of the containers.

    I can handle amphibians ( I loved my pet iguanas!), but there is NO WAY a spider is coming into this house as a pet!

  2. Don't think I could handle the spider...maybe if the kid was completely responsible for it. I had white mice as a kid, and loved them. My brother and I taught them "circus" tricks. Had those a few years back....until a wild mouse moved into the cage and impregnated both of them and we ended up with a whole lot of wild baby mice. Then the cats jumped into the nursery cage and "played" with them and we ended up with a housefull of baby mice, which took months to get under control-Who knew they'd be such an pain in a house full of cats?. So we are done with rodents, for now.


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