Bird Cages and Incompatible Pets
If you love animals then your pets will be an important part of your life. They are also a serious responsibility. One which becomes more complex if you keep incompatible pets. Many animals just aren’t meant to be best friends and so keeping them in the same house can be fraught with danger. I was going to say that some people’s choices of pets amaze me. But then I did keep a large boa constrictor called Cleo in my spare bedroom when I had four cats!
Cleo the Constrictor
I took great care to ensure that my snake never came into contact with my cats because such a meeting was only ever going to end in disaster. However, snakes are incredibly stealthy creatures and skilled escapologists and so I was eventually forced to concede that I was skating on thin ice. I managed to find a new home for the boa before one of my cats became a tasty hors d’oeuvre. I still miss Cleo but at least I can sleep more easily at night.
Carpet Baggers and Bird Cages
A budgerigar owner in Australia recently discovered that pets and snakes don’t mix. She checked on her bird cage in the morning to find that her budgie was missing and a carpet python was curled up asleep on the floor with a bird sized bulge in its stomach.
This particular snake was not a pet but did illustrate how easy it is for predators to gain access to bird cages. I recall that my first cat Jason quickly learnt how to pull open the spring loaded door on my budgie’s cage. My mother was horrified and immediately began looking at . Unfortunately we couldn’t do anything about the internal doors in the house. Jason was skilled at pulling the door handles down to let himself into rooms and so we had to barricade the kitchen door whenever we let the budgie out! How that bird survived I will never know.
Cats are very much at the top of the food chain if you keep pet birds, unless those birds happen to be ducks. Most ducks will gives cats a run for their money and it can be a truly hilarious sight. Years ago a friend of mine owned a cat and two Aylesbury ducks. The ducks headed the pecking order but the cat still chanced its arm occasionally. This would incite both birds to fly at it like maniacs. Sometimes they would even lie in wait and flap at the cat for the hell of it. I am sure that the cat had psychological issues and lived in constant fear of being ambushed.
An Exotic Family
I encountered the most interesting selection of pets that I had ever seen when visiting a friend of a friend in San Francisco. He had decided that a cat, an African Grey parrot, a large lizard and a tarantula constituted the perfect family. It all looked like an accident waiting to happen to me or perhaps a clinic for the treatment of phobias. I hate spiders but I got rather drunk that evening and for reasons that I cannot begin to fathom, spent most of it talking to the tarantula. The parrot, with its extensive if rather abusive vocabulary, would clearly have been the more obvious choice. The cat ignored the parrot, the spider and me.
Keeping predators and potential prey in the same house probably isn’t a great idea although if there was a large spider in my house I would invest in a predator immediately. However, many people manage make a success of keeping the most unlikely housemates.