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What's your problem with calling them 'pets'?

By Cindy Steinle
Fri, February 10 2012 at 08:27

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Wow- couldn't have said it any better!! I love my snakes. We are a big animal loving family we have 4 dogs, 3 fire belly toads, 5 bearded dragons, a corn snake, red tail boa, a bumblebee ball & about to buy a black pewter ball. They defiantly aren't a collection but a part of our everyday family life. IL is trying to take our rights away at the moment. It saddens us to know how little government knows about reptiles!!
#1 Mel Clark on 2012-02-10 09:07 (Reply)
I think the description "pet snakes" may sound a bit juvenile considering how passionate and dedicated we are with our snakes and breeding projects. Yes, I guess our snakes are "pets" but they are are so much more. There really isn't a term to describe them. They are pets, captivating wild animals, genetic wonders, and a constant fascination. "Collection" can sometimes sound like distant and cold term to describe a group of snakes you own but I don't think most people feel that way about their "collection". To me its just a way to say you have a variety of herps.
#2 J. DeMarco on 2012-02-10 14:40 (Reply)
I kinda disagree. Obviously. On top of my reptiles, I am also a pit bull owner. Perhaps it is that particular group of dogs, but you would find that I research the breed, history and stories just as hard as I research my reptiles.

Also the use of the word pet changes how those outside the community look upon us and our pets. It is all in how we say it as much as what we say.
#2.1 Cindy Steinle on 2012-02-10 14:44 (Reply)
I use the word "pet" when dealing with people outside the herp community because it's basically a fast, short way of saying yes, I have these animals in my house, by choice, because I enjoy them--if you define "pet" as an animal you keep for your own enjoyment, then the shoe fits. But I confess to not really liking it at times, and I think a lot of reptile people don't, for two reasons.

Number one is that these are animals that are not emotionally dependent on humans in the same way some other pets--dogs, cats, horses and most larger pet birds--are, and people like myself who find that an attractive quality, call it self-sufficiency, wildness, what have you--tend to feel the animal is being downplayed or belittled in some way by calling it a "pet." That's a silly, irrational way to think, but we all have our flaws.

Number two: a lot of us have seen people engage in stupid, reckless behavior that gets innocent people hurt or at least badly scared, and damages our hobby in an increasingly restrictive society. Inevitably the people behaving like such fools use some defense like "he's my pet, just like a dog" after they've created a situation where their animal has been frightened into biting or simply given some poor old lady a fainting spell, and thus a lot of herpers want to disassociate themselves from such a stereotype.

What it comes down to, though, is what sounds least affected and closest to the truth...and I guess, until a new word is invented, I'd follow your lead, Cindy. "Pets" says basically what needs to be said.
#3 JS Argyle on 2012-02-10 23:52 (Reply)
I just say "this is my snake" no pet or collection. I have no problem with the word pet, but my snakes are part of my family and are living beings. Some say they dont "rely" on me the way a dog or cat would. Let me tell you, i know people who have dogs and cats that need no human contact and are basically just fed and left alone.

Anyway, the problem I have with "collection" is it takes the living being part of the snake out of it. Nobody would say they have a "collection" of puppies if they were a dog breeder. I just find it offensive in a weird way. I only purchase snakes from smaller breeders who name their snakes (rainbows-r-us, local breeders, etc.) and aren't just running thousands of snakes breeding at once (though i understand why they are doing it, and love how they push the community)

The collection word to me, seems to place snakes into the same realm as a collection of guitars or clothes or something, and I don't think its alright to look at them as a commodity or collectible thing rather than an animal.

anyway, that's my rant. take it how you will.
#4 Paul on 2012-02-11 19:48 (Reply)
When I owned a "reptile specialty store" I referred to it as a pet store that sells reptiles. Why? Because 90% of the clients were little Joey or Janie and their parents getting a reptile as a pet, that could easily be house, maintained and loved by a child.

Hobbyists have collections, almost everyone else has pets.
#5 scott solar on 2012-02-13 16:43 (Reply)
I name all my snakes and consider them a part of the family. They are my beloved pets. I have the complete line of Chevron toy cars, but that is a collection. I don't like the term collection for live animals as that suggests the crazy cat lady or other such hoarders aka collectors.
#6 Bob Vonnegut on 2012-02-20 12:12 (Reply)

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