PORTLAND PEOPLE own goats, chickens, ferrets, and boa constrictors... so why stop there? Snubbing certain creatures because of their looks or murderous natures is nothing but animal racism (animacism?)—so let's look at some of the pros and cons of keeping these less likely beasts as pets!


  • Artwork by Susie Ghahremani

THE SKUNK

PRO: Skunks are actually playful, smart animals with very sweet dispositions.

CON: They stink. And unless you have their stink glands removed (their only means of protection), they will continue to stink, and stink you, and stink everything you own.

PRO: Who needs a gun when you have a skunk guarding your house?

CON: Never-ending Pepé Le Pew jokes.

WHAT AN ACTUAL EXPERT SAYS: According to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, "Striped skunks tend to be docile and unobtrusive; except during breeding season or when infected with rabies." So don't get one with rabies. Otherwise, we consider this a ringing endorsement.


  • Artwork by Susie Ghahremani

THE NUTRIA

PRO: While many people consider these "water rodents" to be rats (perhaps because they're known as "water rodents"?), they are actually pretty cute in the face, and resemble a beaver... that is, if beavers had long rat-tails.

CON: An adult nutria grows up to be about 20 pounds, but some get to be as big as 50 pounds. They need a large source of water (like a pond), and eat A LOT. Plus their orange-red buck teeth are weird and off-putting.

PRO: They are strict vegetarians—so they probably won't bite you, maybe?

CON: What the expert below said.

WHAT AN ACTUAL EXPERT SAYS: According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, "When cornered or captured, nutria are aggressive biters and scratchers and can seriously injure pets and humans." So maybe they might bite you, maybe.


  • Artwork by Susie Ghahremani

THE WOLVERINE

PRO: Yes, there are actual wolverines in Oregon (in the Wallowa Mountains)! They apparently resemble a small bear—and if that doesn't discourage burglars, nothing will.

CON: They are ferocious, incredibly powerful meat-eaters with bone-cracking jaws, who seemingly fear nothing—most definitely not you.

PRO: Yes, but how many people can claim they have a pet named after a Marvel comic book character?

CON: Two words: Hugh. Jackman.

WHAT AN ACTUAL EXPERT SAYS: According to the animal experts at planetdeadly.com, "Pound for pound, few other animals can match the wolverine for strength or attitude.... There have been cases of wolverines killing moose even though they are almost 20 times their size. That's the equivalent of a house cat bringing down a deer." You're like, three times their size. Case closed.


  • Artwork by Susie Ghahremani

THE FALCON

PRO: You own a motherfreaking FALCON! And a cool leather glove!

CON: Taking care of a falcon is a HUGE daily responsibility, and you must undergo intensive training and pass a rigorous licensing test. PLUS you have to serve as a falconer's apprentice for two years before you can get your own bird!

PRO: But still! A motherfreaking FALCON! You can name him "Razor Wing"!

CON: Training a falcon is an incredibly difficult, painstaking job, and if you make one mistake? It could fly away and you'll never see "Razor Wing" again.

WHAT AN ACTUAL EXPERT SAYS: As Colonel Luff Meredith—known as the father of "American Falconry"—said in 1938, "It takes six weeks to train a hawk, but more than three years to make a falconer." You can't even keep a turtle alive.


  • Artwork by Susie Ghahremani

THE SQUIRREL

PRO: Your friends will go nuts over your new pal, Squirrelly McTwitchers. (You see what I did there?)

CON: Squirrels have real, real sharp nails and hair-trigger biting proclivities.

PRO: But just look at him. He's so widdle and cute and EEEEEE! Feel that furry tail!

CON: These little guys get mange from mites that make them lose their fur—a redeeming feature that made you coo over them in the first place. Bald squirrel = hyperactive rat.

WHAT AN ACTUAL EXPERT SAYS: According to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, "Squirrels are wary and secretive, but curious." Between your roommate and your boyfriend, do you really want one more wary, secretive, curious thing living in your house?


  • Artwork by Susie Ghahremani

THE POSSUM

PRO: Tired of all the guinea pigs, goldfish, and gerbils that succumb to this cold, cruel world while in your care? Try the possum—it's only playing dead!

CON: While the possum (or, opossum, if you really like vowels) could be considered cute, some might find its pointed nose, leathery black ears, beady eyes, and scaly tail less than adorable.

PRO: They are nocturnally active for nine hours or more every night. Combined with opposable big toes, they're ideal for standing guard over your bed while you sleep—just find a little billy club for it to hold.

CON: In the wild, they rarely live past the age of two.

WHAT AN ACTUAL EXPERT SAYS: According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, when attacked, the animal "will fall on its side, curl its body, open its drooling mouth, and excrete droppings." NOT ON THE CARPET.


THE HUMAN BABY

PRO: Why fight biological urges... skip taming the wild wildebeest and get knocked up with your very own human baby, an ages-old pet.

CON: The human baby is notorious for destroying all manner of sleep with its piercing sonic emanations and incessant need to feed.

PRO: When clean, they smell new.

CON: Much like conventional pets, you can carry this wiggly living being with you everywhere—parks, supermarkets, boating trips, in your purse—but eyebrows will bend askance when attempting to secure kennel services for it.

WHAT AN ACTUAL EXPERT SAYS: According to every parent ever, "Babies are expensive pooping machines that require constant care and supervision." I think the same could be said about falcons, wolverines, and possums... so do what you gotta do.

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