Friday, July 24, 2009

My Pet Shrimp

I've had virtually every kind of pet imaginable, from a pedigree Guinea pig, to Siberian Dwarf hamsters, to run-of-the-mill gerbils, to dogs, cats, fish - you name it. I even had birds for one brief moment, when our nanny, Marina, surprised Erika one Hannukah a couple of years back with a pair of parakeets - which, we decided, would be happiest living in Marina's apartment.

But I can't remember ever being as enamored of any of those pets as I am with my three pet shrimp.

The shrimp - named, by Erika, Sunny, Bailey and Teeney, live in an eco-sphere I bought last week at the Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History when Erika, Hilary and I spent a few days in Washington last week. The eco-sphere is a completely sealed glass pod containing the shrimp, algae, gravel, bacteria, and a decorative branch, and it is entirely self-sustaining: the shrimp release carbon dioxide when they breathe, and the algae use the CO2 and light to make oxygen.

Here's the link, if you want to check it out.

I've been a huge animal lover my whole life - I still like animals, maybe not as much as I did when I was fourteen and spent my Saturdays cleaning dog and cat crap at the animal shelter FOR FREE, but enough to agree to add a new puppy and a new kitten to our household, both of whom will be arriving this fall (more on that craziness in another post). But I cannot get over the concept of the absolutely, totally maintenance-free pet. It's the plant I can't kill, the animal I can't neglect. It's all pleasure, no work - which, after a lifetime of hearing about how there's no such thing as a free lunch, and how I can't have my cake and eat it too, feels like as big an epiphany as Newton must have felt when the apple conked him on the head.

So, I highly recommend the shrimp to those parents whose children are constantly pestering them for pets the parents have no intention of ever procuring. They may not be as cuddly as, say, a dog, but they have many other advantages. Besides, they might have babies! Although the shrimp are specifically chosen for their slow and irregular reproduction (to avoid over-populating the pod), we can always hope. What's a good name for a baby shrimp?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Amy, Keri:
Sad to say, I think you may have been mis-informed. Those are Red Hawaiian Shrimp. I feed mine spirulina powder. My shrimp are red, active and growing. Check out Click their micro lobster link. This is where I bought mine. I do not work for them.