Lifestyle Environment 04 May 2017 Bugs, the cool and q ...

Bugs, the cool and quiet pets

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | SANDEEP VARMA
Published May 4, 2017, 12:15 am IST
Updated May 4, 2017, 12:15 am IST
Spiders, scorpions, cockroaches, praying mantis, leaf insects, millipedes, centipedes, beetles and so on belong to the phylum Arthropoda.
Sandeep Varma
 Sandeep Varma

Human beings always had a rather quiet fascination for bugs. Most of us in our childhood have caught one kind of bug or the other and put it in a jar to play with it. As we matured, our childhood fascination slowly got replaced by disgust and fear and we often go great lengths to keep them out and away. However, some never really lose that fascination and enjoy keeping arthropods like insects, spiders, scorpions, millipedes, centipedes and so on… Although they are not cute and cuddly like other pets, arthropods usually are quite entertaining and make excellent educational animals.

Spiders, scorpions, cockroaches, praying mantis, leaf insects, millipedes, centipedes, beetles and so on belong to the phylum Arthropoda. More than 75 per cent of the animals on the face of the earth belong to this phylum and are found in almost all geographic locations. They are extremely clean and quiet pets and often require very less space to keep them. Arthropods are not like dogs or cats, and it’s generally a bad idea to handle them. They’re not social, so they don’t appreciate affection like a puppy. In fact, many arthropods show signs of stress when repeatedly handled or moved. Other arthropods can be quite defensive, and will defend themselves from their owner because they think you’re a predator. Don’t take it personally if you get an aggressive pet. There can be a wide variation in terms of personality among arthropod pets. Within species, some can be really docile and others really aggressive. There’s no way to know for sure, but you always have to respect them for what they are.

 

The biggest ethical consideration while choosing an arthropod is that, there are a lot of species which have been collected from the wild and sold in pet stores. And this has resulted in some amount of environmental destruction. As a consequence, a lot of species in pet trade are protected under a treaty called CITES, which restricts the trade of endangered or vulnerable animals. If you want to keep a unique pet, always make sure that it’s a captive-bred animal and is bought from a responsible breeder and before deciding on an insect or spider as a pet, look at your reasons for wanting that pet. If you are just looking for a pet that is unique or ‘cool’, or for a pet to impress or shock your friends, think again.

 

The author is a wildlife biologist with specific interest in herpetology and conservation

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