A great way to introduce our new Animal Adventures blog is to discuss a question that is on many peoples minds. “how many animals is too many?”
I’ll be honest there actually is no set answer as everyone has different opinions. Some may say 1 is too many others 100 is too many and a few will say “there is no such thing as too many animals”
The best answer I found was “when looking after your collection starts to feel like a chore more than it feels like a hobby then you may have too many pets”.
The fact is every person is different and every species of animal is different. 50 tarantulas take about the same amount of time as 1 snake. 20 snakes (depending on species so let’s go with corn snakes and ball pythons as an example) take about the same time as looking after 1 bearded dragon. 20 bearded dragons could equal 1 dog. This all comes down to time spent maintaining, time spent paying attention to animal, diet and care requirements. I can honestly say tarantulas are very neat creatures and because they do not benefit from attention all they need is water filled which is as easy as opening a lid and filling a tiny water dish, and the occasional insect to chow down on. It’s even easy enough to keep track of who eats and who doesn’t eat. Snakes take more cleaning and consume more water plus it’s important to maintain temperature but they of eat weekly versus a bearded dragon who eats daily and needs balance in their diet plus lighting and heating needs… And dogs… Well you have to walk a dog, pick up dog poo more than once a day, feed the dog, play with the dog, train the dog, tell the dog off for chasing the cats, let the dog out again after it JUST came in, watch in horror as your dog sheds all over your freshly clean living room…and people seriously choose to own more than 1 dog!
Another factor that comes into play is how easy is it to attain pet food? Rodents can be frozen and stocked up for snakes diet. You may be able to breed your own rat colony, or you may live close to a supplier of live rodents. Frozen thawed is usually safer to feel your snake anyway as there no bite risk to your snake (or in my case risk of failed feeding… I’ve thrown a few spoiled rats out in my day but a live feeder tends to end up as a pet in my household). Someone who can easily attain crickets as Feeders will have an easier time caring for critters that have an insect diet. And sometimes it’s all about what’s available at the grocery store. Tortoises, adult bearded dragons, iguanas etc have vegetable dietary needs that are specific to them. If food is easy to attain then having more animals will be feasible.
The fact of the matter us there are people out there who can maintain 50 or more animals with ease and then there are some who couldn’t maintain a pet rock. And with all pet owners you have great owners and not so great owners. I’ve seen some pretty abused reptiles in my life…the same way people witness dog abuse. What needs to occur is reporting the irresponsible and abusive owners. If they change their ways great if not hopefully they are persecuted and animals are seized.
There are other factors when it comes to how many pets is right for each person but what it all comes down to is it varies from person to person and it is going to definitely vary from species to species. Do as much research as possible before ever getting a new critter and always have in mind the following: how big will it get, how long will it live, can someone look after it if you go on vacation, where is the closest vet that specializes in this animal, how much will it cost to upkeep, is everyone in the household comfortable with the animal, what are your local bylaws, how much space will it take up, what does it eat etc etc etc.
Hope this was helpful.
Looking forward to sharing all of our animal adventures with you.
*I am not a veterinary professional or specialist. I have been in the exotic animal hobby for over 12 years and merely speak from the experience that I have as an enthusiast. My biggest goal is to educate people on responsible pet ownership and feel that it should be all seasoned keepers goal to also emphasize on responsible exotic care. The more responsible keepers in the hobby the better*