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Essays on Issues, Ideas and Reflections on the Times. Published now and
then. Opinions pro or con are welcome.

Where There Is One and Another There Are Surely More to Follow

North Miami Beach, FL 10-12-2005
A.H. Schectman

What do you do with a pet that has grown too big for you to handle?  I had a number of them (not really pets for they had no names) that grew to be too many and they were too prolific for the tank I kept them in.  So, I flushed the most pregnant (did you hear the story of the female guppy who never got pregnant? That is an impossibility) of my “feeder” guppies down the toilet.  I have grieved over them for, although there were a lot of college age kids around, it seemed the better solution (everyone else advised that it was for the best) and I finally nerved myself up to scoop them up and had them go swimming down to wherever the toilet wastes go. I still feel guilty – I tried to get them new homes.

That brings up the two stories of constrictors that were captured recently. One, after trying to swallow an alligator and one might have dined on a Siamese cat.  I am trying to explain that it is people like me who have brought about the population of exotic creatures that have appeared in the environs of urban South Florida.  Now, the fish are tropical and are not noted for being predators like the snake fish up in the Great Lakes.  They and the lampreys have created havoc there.  The flocks of parrots – mostly little green ones and finches of all colors – are seen chattering in the trees and we are treated to flashes of colors when we get to the trees where they have taken up abodes. Some people let them go. Do parrots and finches flush?

Alligators that used to be shipped everywhere along with lizards tied down to pieces of cardboard have been allowed to go free for the idea of killing a “pet” even the cold blooded ones is preferable to, well, just killing them.  So, we have the phenomenon of introducing exotic creatures out of their elements into ours because we have soft hearts and unthinking brains.

I think I have told you that I raised hamsters and gerbils for a while.  I don’t think any of them escaped into the wild, but others must have.  Most of these probably died as part of the diet of larger animals and I imagine that they were “feeder” rodents for the snake keeping types.  It is sort of fascinating and macabre to watch a mouse put into a snake cage and wait until that snake makes its move.  But those who keep snakes feed them and when they get too big and the zoos can’t take any more, the kind hearted owner lets them loose to fend for themselves.

My point here is that these two pythons are just the ones we have seen.  They get together and breed and there are a lot of little ones out there who will soon show up in our neighborhoods.  I confess that I hope the same goes for my guppies that were shown a way out down a nearby toilet.




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