Category Archive 'Pets'

02 May 2017

Squirrels Used to be Common Pets

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John Singleton Copley, A Boy with a Flying Squirrel. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Atlas Obscura informs us that a once common custom was obliterated by a change in fashion which then became cemented into Progressive Era regulation.

In 1722, a pet squirrel named Mungo passed away. It was a tragedy: Mungo escaped its confines and met its fate at the teeth of a dog. Benjamin Franklin, friend of the owner, immortalized the squirrel with a tribute.

“Few squirrels were better accomplished, for he had a good education, had traveled far, and seen much of the world.” Franklin wrote, adding, “Thou art fallen by the fangs of wanton, cruel Ranger!”

Mourning a squirrel’s death wasn’t as uncommon as you might think when Franklin wrote Mungo’s eulogy; in the 18th- and 19th centuries, squirrels were fixtures in American homes, especially for children. While colonial Americans kept many types of wild animals as pets, squirrels “were the most popular,” according to Katherine Grier’s Pets in America, being relatively easy to keep. …

While many people captured their pet squirrels from the wild in the 1800s, squirrels were also sold in pet shops, a then-burgeoning industry that today constitutes a $70 billion business. One home manual from 1883, for example, explained that any squirrel could be bought from your local bird breeder. But not unlike some shops today, these pet stores could have dark side; Grier writes that shop owners “faced the possibility that they sold animals to customers who would neglect or abuse them, or that their trade in a particular species could endanger its future in the wild.”

Keeping pet squirrels has a downside for humans too, which eventually became clear: despite their owners’ best attempts at taming them, they’re still wild animals. As time wore on, squirrels were increasingly viewed as pests; by the 1910s squirrels became so despised in California that the state issued a widespread public attack on the once-adored creatures. From the 1920s through the 1970s many states slowly adopted wildlife conservation and exotic pet laws, which prohibited keeping squirrels at home.

RTWT

22 Apr 2015

Festive Boa

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10 Jul 2010

Saturday, July 10, 2010

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James Carville’s own poll finds that 55% of Americans believe Barack Obama is accurately described as a socialist.

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Red China’s People’s Daily says that the Taliban are training monkeys (macaques and baboons imported from the jungle) in Waziristan to use AK-47s, Bren guns, and trench mortars against US forces whose uniforms the monkeys are being taught to recognize.

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Democrat Financial Reform Bill includes racial and gender quotas for US financial industry.

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With the Social Security system soon to go broke, even democrats are talking seriously about raising the retirement age to 70. (Talking Points Memo)

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San Francisco (America’s longest and most impressive exercise in misgovernment) regulated pot brownies and grudgingly tabled a proposal to ban the sale of pets other than fish.

15 Apr 2007

Get Out The Insulin Again

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I really hate blogging this kind of cutsey-wutsey stuff, but still I suppose even the most hardened and cynical among us will like this hamster with his broccoli, so I feel obliged to pass this one along.

video

I could have done without the text comments though.

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.


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