October 2009

How Old Should a Child Be Before Caring for a Pocket Pet?

When I was six years old, my parents bought me my first hamster. I named her Becky, after my best friend (naturally), and loved her very much. My parents taught me to take care of her—to feed her and give her fresh water every day, to change her bedding, to carefully put her into her exercise ball. She lived for three years and was the catalyst for my lifelong love of animals.

I had friends, however, whom I wouldn’t let near Becky. One friend in particular, I discovered, tried to put her on a blanket and toss her into the air, calling it “parachuting.” (I later discovered that this “friend” was anything but fodder for childhood nightmares and future therapist discussions for anyone she came across.) These friends were either my age or older, proving that six—or seven or even eight—is not always the best age for hamster care.

Psycho Rabbits Go After Snakes

These are definitely not the bunnies you want to get for your five-year-old’s birthday.

Two wild rabbits, apparently avid fans of Cujo, have been terrorizing the snake population of Cairns, Australia. Armando Del Manso, 42, has been finding dead snakes on his East Barron property for the better part of three weeks. Each snake was riddled with teeth marks, making Del Manso believe that his dog was to blame.

And who wouldn’t want to think that Fido was a snake eater, fiercely protecting Master and property? That’s why it was so surprising when the boilmaker discovered that it was not man’s best friend, but Flopsy and Mopsy who were on the snake-killing rampage.