The Peril of Pet Ownership

When I was younger, I was into caged animals (I still am – we have a bird and a gecko) and among the various furry pets, I also won myself an anole at a carnival. Now, any lizard owner knows that both anoles and geckos have a similar diet: crickets. Any parent knows that carnival animals only last a few weeks. Well, my area’s carnivals must be odd, because I had two goldfish that lasted 10 years each, and my anole lasted 3.

Anyway, obviously as a pagan and a Witch, I have respect for all of nature. Hell, our one sacred rule is, “An it harm none do what ye will”. Sometimes my friends here ask, “Well if you love the earth, then why are you killing those crickets?” Here is my response:

The natural order of things is one in which the strongest survive. I am relatively fair – if the crickets are lasting a few days, are exceptionally annoying, or escape into the general area of my room or my house, I usually re-catch them and let them go, outside. I used to have loads of guilt over feeding my pets live prey, and then I sat for a while and watched the crickets.

Crickets are nasty, vile creatures. They will chirp just to piss you off (as any lizard owner knows)…but most importantly, crickets are cannibals. They will consume each other if the other is weak or dead. Crickets will also consume larger animals if they get sick.

I have to admit, there is a beauty and a certain pleasure I receive from watching my gecko hunt. The natural process of the earth has made the gecko a creature that, prior to attacking, will vibrate its tail as a sort of warning signal. Not only is this amusing, but when he gets a cricket, it is amazing that the gecko can kill an animal so quickly: the cricket usually stops twisting and kicking within seconds, and he swallows it whole. Its about as merciful as death can get for them.

Most of the time, I do apologize to the crickets before I send them to certain death. Sometimes, I get pangs of guilt so strong when I put them in the cage that I have to look away. Its not their fault they were born and raised to die. Its much like any other stock animal we use.

I think that as long as you have respect for the animal that you are feeding to the other animal, it doesn’t matter if you use live prey, in the general scheme of things. Someday, hopefully, I will be able to build a bigger, ecosystem – like habitat for my gecko, providing him and the crickets with a more natural place to play out their survival game.

But, just so you know I’m not perfect: the joy I get when I catch a recently escaped cricket, or one that’s been chirping incessantly for the night time hours, place it in the cage, and watch my gecko eat it in two bites…is immeasurable.

Stay tuned tomorrow for the magickal properties of lizards!

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