Friday, 10 October 2014

‘A cockroach is a man’s best friend’: Expat Pets

Becoming an expat can have its lonely moments - and even if you’re moving with family or a friend, there are bound to be times when you might fancy some different company. One solution for this is to get a pet. A pet can be a welcome distraction for unsettled kids and a chum to make that house feel like a home.  Nothing’s better than coming home to your doggy pal rushing to greet you, or curling up with your feline friend as you unwind. However, as you move abroad, you may find a few unusual offerings to take that spot, which couldn’t be further removed from your typical cat or dog….. 

Image source: Wikipedia commons
 A little birdie tells me….
Most chickens are known for laying eggs or as the basis of a Sunday roast, but the Silkie breed has become a popular pet. Bad layers and overly broody, this fluffy chicken was traditionally rumoured to be the mythical product of a chicken and a rabbit. In recent years, western countries have become endeared to them and many households have started taking them in as members of the family.

Image source: Wikipedia commons

In Hong Kong….
While pet birds are by no means unheard of, in Hong Kong they get given some extra special treatment. The Yuen Po Street bird garden is not only a bird lover’s paradise selling all sorts of exotic bird species, it is also where the locals bring their birds for some fresh air. That certainly makes a change from walking the dog….

Image source: Wikipedia commons

Pests become pets
One of the most common household pests is now considered a pet, owing to the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach breed. Seen as low maintenance, they have grown in growing popularity across Australia and the United States, where celebrities have even been known to take them down the red carpet.  If you’re thinking of getting a cockroach though, check out the local laws, as some states have restrictions.

Image source: Creative Commons/Hans

Capybara While the capybara isn’t exactly a common pest, it is the world’s largest rodent, originating from South America. If you manage to avoid its sharp teeth, the Capybara can make a smart, affectionate but time consuming friend. 

A spiky friend
Hedgehog The African pygmy hedgehog is kept by some as a docile pet. The quiet creatures are low maintenance but you may be put off by their diet of dead animals and eggs plus their spiky exterior. Just as with many of these exotic pets, laws on keeping hedgehogs can differ so make sure to do your research.

If you're thinking about bringing your furry friend overseas, check out our blog post ‘Jet Set Pets’ for tips on making sure you have everything in place. Whatever the pet however, make sure that you have enough time, love, patience and resources to provide it with a comfortable new home. Being an expat you will know the importance of this!

A few pet related facts to leave you with….

·         In China and Hong Kong, cats are deemed lucky
·         The US holds the title for the most pet cats and dogs
·         The Kazakh people in Mongolia keep birds of prey to help them hunt
·         In Switzerland, cows must be given regular exercise- better get moo-ving!

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