I had a disgusting revelation recently.
I came upon a nearly empty bag of dog treats containing a mixture of crumbs and mouse droppings. Yum.
It got me thinking of how dogs and cats fit easily into our lives, in part, because they can learn to defecate in acceptable places. But other animals—rats, mice, birds, guinea pigs—with rare exceptions, poop freely. Why?
Because if they take too long to manage nature’s urges, they’ll end up someone else’s dinner. That’s the difference between being a predator and prey. It all comes down to poop.
Guinea pigs are great pets. They are adorable (can I have a little Wheeeeeeeee?). They are inexpensive to buy and to keep. They are compact. And did I mention they’re adorable?
More Americans prefer to live with predators than with prey. Even though that choice will be harder on a daily basis.
Why do animal people choose predators over prey? Is it because humans are themselves the most dangerous predators?
Or does it all come down to poop?
So what informs your choice of animals? Do you have both predators and prey in your home? Why or why not?
[Disclosures: I have been a guinea pig “aunt” for the past 25+ years. I mean no disrespect when I use the “p” word. The photo is from the RSPCA on Flickr.]