Pets That Don’t Need a Halloween Costume
October 31, 2013
As you maneuver through the aisles of elaborate costumes at your
nearest Halloween store, you are bound to come across various
costumes for your furry friend. A pumpkin for your pug, a hat for
your black cat, or a hot dog for your Dachshund—there are numerous
Halloween costumes that include your pets in the spooky fun. Some
pets, however, don’t need a strange-looking costume to get into the
Halloween spirit; they were simply born with one.
Jordan Gentry, a Veterinary Resident Instructor in zoology at
the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical
Sciences, said that he has worked with multiple odd looking animals
during his year of residency. “We see many unique and exotic pets
on the A&M Zoological Medicine Service; even some relatively
common animals have some bizarre physical features,” said Gentry.
“One animal we have treated at A&M is a pet tamandua, a type of
anteater from South America with a long tube-like mouth, long
sticky tongue, prehensile tail, and big hooked claws.” Gentry
explained that the tamandua’s claws are so massive that they must
walk on the side of their foot to avoid puncturing their footpads,
and they have a very unique odor similar to (but not as strong as)
that of a skunk.
Another type of bizarre-looking animal that Gentry has worked
with, the brown pelican, is a breed of protected birds in Texas
with some very unique features of their own. “They have short legs
with huge webbed feet, a squat round body, and a long face,” said
Gentry. “The skin under the neck is thin and stretches to hold
several gallons of water when the birds grab fish to eat.” Gentry
has come across many of these exotic birds at the Wildlife Center
of Texas and greatly enjoys working with them.
Some of the more common, but still unique, animals that have
become increasingly popular to own as pets are hermit crabs,
potbellied pigs, and Petauristini, or flying squirrels. All of
these animals are easily adaptable to different home environments,
and with the right treatment and care, can make a great addition to
your family. An animal that has been the star in many scary movies
and Animal Planet documentaries, the piranha, has also intrigued
many exotic pet owners. Though only recommended to experts due to
their aggressive attitude and razor sharp teeth, these carnivorous
fish can certainly make for an interesting pet. Keep in mind,
though, that piranhas are legal in only very few areas, and Texas
is not one of them.
“There are even more strange animals out there than what we have
seen at A&M Zoological Medicine Service,” said Gentry.
“Pangolin, for instance, are one of the oddest looking animals you
may ever see.” These exotic animals are very similar in appearance
to the tamandua, but are covered in hard scales made of keratin
instead of a thick hair coat. Made from the same material as
fingernails, these tough scales provide very effective armor when
the animal curls into a ball. “No other mammal has such unique
scales for protection,” said Gentry. “In addition to being unique,
pangolins have proven to be difficult to care for and very few
people have ever had the chance to see one.”
If you would rather stick to owning a dog, but are in search of
a breed with some unique features, a Puli could be just the pet
you’re looking for. This breed of dreadlock-like coated dogs is
full of life and can be a wonderful addition to your family, as
long as you don’t mind the extra coat attention. Similar to the
Puli is the Komondor, another loving dog with a mop-like coat. Both
of these uniquely coated canines are family friendly and can bring
immense joy and laughter to your household. The “kitchen mop”
Halloween costume would never go out of style for this pooch!
Whether you’re an exotic animal fanatic or simply more
comfortable owning a tabby cat, these exotic animals are always fun
to admire from at home or afar; especially on Halloween. “As for
pet Halloween costumes, I might dress up my dog,” said Gentry, “but
my exotic pets don't need a costume!”
Pet Talk is a service of the College of Veterinary
Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University.
Stories can be viewed on the Web at vetmed.tamu.edu/news/pet-talk. Suggestions for
future topics may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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