More pets you can abide
All children love pets. What they don’t love is taking care of them. I have identified some more things to go along with tame house flies, things that do not need any, or very little, attention.
A lot of children love aquariums, but not the maintenance. The answer is a mosquito farm. Mosquitoes don’t care how brackish the water is: The slimier the happier they seem to be. You don’t have to change the water. In fact, you shouldn’t change the water or you will lose your current crop of young ’uns.
One really nice thing about both flies and mosquitoes is that you don’t have to deal with that whole death thing with these pets. These little fellas just seem to disappear and you can just tell the kids that they went to live on a farm in the country. You can even prove this. If you have ever visited a farm in the country, you would have noted that they have plenty of these critters and they are impossible to distinguish one from another, so nobody can prove that those little guys buzzing around that cow’s head are not Moe, Larry and Curly.
Wild ants are also good. If you feed them, they flock around, showing their appreciation. If you don’t feed them, they fend for themselves.
Ants also have entertainment value. When we were kids, and did not know any better, we staged gladiatorial combats between the ants of our local anthill and whatever hapless bug we could find. The ants always won. Don’t believe for a second that children are innately good and kind. “Lord of the Flies” got it right.
If you have ever had a pet turtle, you are aware that they don’t do much. Lizards and snakes fall into the same category. Instead, I would suggest a caterpillar. They also don’t do anything, but are easier to keep track of and won’t escape from their habitat and strangle you in the night.
You have the added bonus of the metamorphosis. Most of us do not have a clue what we are going to get. If nothing happens in the spring, the parent can just pop in another bug during the night and tell the kid that this is what his caterpillar turned into. Again, no sad scenes or backyard funerals.
Wives will tell you that they don’t need a pet that just lays around, waiting to be fed. They have husbands.
Time to feed my worm. Did I feed him yesterday? Hey, it doesn’t matter!
Bill Abrams resides with his menagerie of pets in Pine Plains.