Dogs, cats are out as odd pets increase
By ALLAN McNEILallanm@gladstoneobserver.com.au
DOGS are a man's best friend, but for many local residents it seems pets of the canine variety just don't cut it anymore.
More and more locals are instead opting for weird and wacky animal companions instead of the old favourites.
Derek Leach is one such resident, making snakes his pet of choice.
Mr Leach is currently caring for about 18 snakes ? something he has done all his life ? and as far as he is concerned there is nothing "different'' about it.
"I don't think it's strange at all,'' he said.
"I think it's weird people would have more than one cat.'' He said contrary to popular belief, snakes each had their own personality.
He has named many of his 18 snakes depending on their traits. Even Mr Leach's children keep snakes as pets.
Richard Robinson from Pets and Ponds, said Mr Leach was just one of many local residents who were taking an alternative approach to owning a pet.
"Over the last couple of years they've (unusual pet choices) just exploded,'' Mr Robinson said.
As owner of the local pet store for the past 10 years, Mr Robinson said he had been asked about all sorts of questions about strange and exotic animals.
He said he knew of people lo-cally who owned giant cockroaches, spiders and scorpions. He said many residents had also asked if they could buy animals such as monkeys, which could not be legally kept as pets.
The public's search for interesting pets has coincided with increasing demand for unusual pet care products such as dog sunglasses, bandanas, sunscreen and valerian spray, which relaxes cats, according to Mr Robinson.
The Observer would like to hear from anyone who has an unusual pet, or a pet with weird and wacky habits.
Send us photos, write us a letter, or just jump on the phone so we can share your pet's story with the rest of Gladstone.