wacky japanese pets!

My friend took me to a pet store today - the hugest pet store I’ve ever seen, by the way, it’s 3 buildings big- and I saw some of the strange and unusual creatures Japanese people keep as pets.

Besides your typical fish, rabbits, hamsters, gerbils, iguanas, parakeets, etc, there were:

ducks and chickens
owls
sting rays
giant sea turtles
squirrels (oddly, they don’t have any in the wild here, but they keep them as pets)
gophers
beetles of every size, shape, and color
porcupines!!!
a giant pig

What is very sad, though, is that everything is kept in cages. Even the pig, whose cage was barely bigger than she was. My friend said they have a pen outside where the pig, ducks, and chickens go when the weather’s nice, but this time of year in tokyo it rains all the time. (In fact it hasnt been clear blue sky here in at least a month). The porcupine looked sick and oily (my friend said it was probably in shock because there were too many people milling around) and the huge duck in its tiny cage didnt look too hot either. It was very sad, in fact. The only happy looking animals were the more typically domestic caged things like hamsters and mice who are used to those conditions.

They didn’t have any monkeys or prairie dogs, but I have heard those are both two other popular pets here. It was a really strange, odd spectacle. I am surprised they don’t seem to have any laws in japan like they do in the US about what can be kept as a pet and what can’t.

I think there is a law about it, but there are many laws in Japan that don’t carry any penalty for violations (the worst the police can do is say “please stop that or else… we’ll ask you to please stop that again”) and this may be one. The conditions in some of those pet stores are absolutely disgusting, though.

Jellyfish were a popular pet a few years back. They don’t need much emotional contact, so they’re good for people who have to work all day, and they’re pretty relaxing to watch.

Bastards. Goddamned bastards. All species of sea turtles are threatened or endangered. There’s absolutely no excuse to take them as “pets.” This makes me sick.

My reaction exactly, that has to be a violation of somesort. Bloody cruel.

I still remember walking down the street in Japan, looking in a pet store, and seeing the saddest golden retriever I’ve ever seen in a cage so small it could barely stand up or turn around.

Makes me sick just to remember it.

I remember they had a stingray in a pet store over here in Canada.

So it’s not completely unusual.