Fantastic pets, where to find them – Australia’s 1st National Pet Show_Xinhua

A girl looks at a cockatoo on display at a national pet show in Sydney, Australia, Nov. 5, 2022. (Xinhua/Bai Xuefei)

Held over the weekend and attended by over 80 exhibitors, the Pet Show not only melted the hearts of many dog ​​lovers and “cat slaves” with rescued Akita Inu puppies and kittens, but also attracted a huge crowd in its “Scales and Tails” touch zone. .”

SYDNEY, Nov. 8 (Xinhua) — While dogs and cats are the two most popular pets in Australia, interest in keeping an alternative animal — birds, snakes, lizards, frogs and insects — is also on the rise as visitors can notice at the nation’s first national pet show.

Held over the weekend and attended by over 80 exhibitors, the Pet Show not only melted the hearts of many dog ​​lovers and “cat slaves” with rescued Akita Inu puppies and kittens, but also attracted a huge crowd in its “Scales and Tails” touch zone. .”

On Sunday, work time for Ryder, a part-time Feature Creatures team volunteer, began at 9 a.m. local time as the first group of visitors surrounded him asking for a stick insect bite.

Like magizoologist Newt Scamander from the fantasy film “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” Ryder would invite his “Bowtruckle Pickett” – a twig-like insect over 20 centimeters long – to crawl slowly over visitors’ hands. , letting them observe the master of disguise right before their eyes.

A girl looks at a cat on display at a National Pet Show in Sydney, Australia, Nov. 5, 2022. (Xinhua/Bai Xuefei)

Ryder told Xinhua that many people keep stick insects in their homes in Australia.

“A lot of people love mammals, but some people would like to have an easier pet. Stick insects, as well as some spiders and scorpions…they are ideally easy to care for,” the volunteer said, adding that stick insects can adapt well to room temperature and feed only on gum tree leaves.

Along with the insects, animal enthusiasts of all ages also got to watch tree frogs and central threaded dragons kept in glass enclosures, stroke the back of a bearded dragon, and feel the texture of Rumpelstilskin’s skin – a Cold, non-poisonous Darwin mat. python with no history of human attack since it hatched 12 years ago.

“Traditionally, dogs and cats have been the most popular pets kept by people, who have kept dogs as pets for tens of thousands of years, but today people keep everything as pets,” said Ben Dessen, wildlife advocate and pet expert, after finishing a presentation on “Which Small Pet Is Right For You?”

“You start getting into some really weird stuff with reptiles and bugs. People keep things like giant cockroaches and scorpions and tarantulas. There’s a lot of different pets that you don’t usually consider like pets that can be kept,” he noted.

Dogs pose for a photo during a national pet show in Sydney, Australia, Nov. 5, 2022. (Xinhua/Bai Xuefei)

From the moment her parents brought home Rosie, a pet snake, for her sixth birthday, Dessen has developed an irresistible love for animals.

Rosie died aged 21, and now Dessen still keeps many snakes and lizards as pets and runs a wildlife sanctuary, caring for kangaroos, parrots, frogs and a black swan that only has one wing.

As a witness to the evolution of the pet industry in Australia, Dessen said things have changed dramatically over the past 10-15 years.

“When I started keeping reptiles it was over 20 years ago. It was very unusual to have a pet snake back then. There were few people keeping them. “There was very little knowledge. If you went to a pet store, they didn’t sell any products to keep reptiles. It was a whole new emerging part of the pet industry,” he recalls.

“But today reptiles are massive. I think around 1 million Australians now keep an alternative pet and that includes reptiles, bugs, insects and all unusual pets,” said Dessen.

According to a 2019 national survey by Animal Medicines Australia, three out of five Australian households – or 5.9 million in total – have a pet, with combined expenditure of more than 13 billion Australian dollars (about 11.3 billion US dollars) per year to keep their pets fed, healthy and well-accessorized.

People’s taste for pets has become more and more diversified. The same was true for the medical services concerned.

A girl touches a dog during a visit to a national pet show in Sydney, Australia, Nov. 5, 2022. (Xinhua/Bai Xuefei)

Kiara Simonis works for Unusual Pet Vets, a team that runs clinics across Australia providing veterinary services for reptiles, birds and small mammals.

She told Xinhua that almost every “patient” they treat is from a different species, with their distinctive anatomy and diet, which is a challenge to be an alternative pet veterinarian.

What set Simonis on the path to attending veterinary school was her cockatiel Tinkerbell which she got when she was 10 years old. “Tinkerbell got really sick and we couldn’t get her a bird vet,” Simonis said. The cockatiel, now 19, still lives with undamaged Simonis.

Simonis, also having a Bullmastiff at home, considered it a “completely different” experience to become a caretaker for a reptile or bird. “They’re calm. There’s less work to do than a dog, so they’re often more appealing to people living in apartments and small homes that don’t have access to a large backyard,” Simonis said.

Especially for households with young children, caring for a smaller animal, such as a guinea pig or bearded dragon, is much easier and a good way to teach children responsibility, he said. she adds.

During the pet show, many activities were organized for the education of children about pets, such as meeting and contact opportunities, lectures and workshops. By participating in the Future Vet Kids Camp program, children were able to learn how to perform pet CPR and basic first aid.

Dessen believes that education has played a crucial role in changing some misconceptions about snakes, reptiles and other creatures that have a bad reputation, and more importantly, in inspiring young people to grow into balanced, compassionate and responsible.

“Our animals need more help than ever and the environment is in terrible shape. We need young people to learn more about pets and animals and hopefully be the next generation to protect the environment and wildlife,” Dessen said.

The pet show’s inaugural event has wrapped up in Sydney, and Dessen will tour with the show in Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide from March to July next year, expecting to help more people to share their lives with pets in a scientific and responsible framework. way.

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