Creepy, cute critters

Abnormal animals are members of some students' families


photo courtesy from Gavin Christiansen

Pictured above is Gavin Christiansen with his unusual pet which is a chinchilla.

Anna Blumenthal, Staff Reporter

Families are the backbone of any person in the world. In addition to immediate family members, many people invite warm, fuzzy pets into their hearts. For most individuals, this comes in the form of a dog or a cat. However, many students at Millard West have pets that some find weird, scary or just downright crazy.

From reptiles to mammals, people find the joy that pets add to a family in many different shapes and sizes. Junior Gavin Christensen has four furry friends that he has looked after since he was in third grade. By caring for chinchillas for a large part of his life, he is very familiar with abnormal pets.

“Owning a unique pet provides an interesting experience that not most people get,” Christensen said. “It provides a sense of identity as well as diversity. It has also been a learning experience for others as well that come over and see the chinchillas for themselves. We have also gotten to take them into classes and talk about them.”

Although these pets are amusing to have around the house, they also require a lot of work. Along with the normal feeding process, Christensen also has to lay out volcanic ash a few times a week in order for the chinchillas to clean themselves. Unusual house pets require a little more work than the typical dog, cat or fish.

Junior Reagan Shannon is very familiar with a rigorous schedule required to take care of her animal. With a leopard gecko around at all times, she has to work around the clock in order to make sure her unusual pet is fully taken care of.

“To take care of my lizard, I have to clean out his 40 gallon tank every week and feed him live crickets every other day,” Shannon said. “His cage also has to be stocked with a bowl of dead mealworms. The process has taught me responsibility because I have to work hard to make sure nothing bad happens to him.”

Despite the lengthy list of things to keep reptiles happy and healthy, the payoff is worth it in the end. The owners of these little guys form strong bonds with their pets and so do the people around them. Senior Hunter Amos has noticed that people take a liking to his bearded dragon, Stewie, almost immediately. After people get over the initial shock of the unique animal, they see the cuteness that lies beneath the scaly skin.

“He’s a really nice pet because I can just take him out whenever I need company without having to worry too much about keeping an eye on him,” Amos said. “If I have a friend over it’s fun to see them react to me taking him out too.”

Amos finds his bearded dragon to be a pretty chill pet that does not require much work. Although he wasn’t obsessed with lizards like most people are when they buy them, he has been able to form a great friendship with his. What started off as a “why not” purchase has turned into the perfect pet.

“I’m not quite sure why I wanted a lizard,” Amos said. “I guess when I was young I thought having one would automatically make me cool. Also, bearded dragons are super calm animals and are comfortable with being handled.”

What most students thought would be a way for them to stand out ended up being a great new addition to their families. Although these pets are out of the box to most people, caring for them has become the norm for a lot of kids. From scales to fur, no pet is too weird for the students of Millard West.