Ferrets, puffer-fish, bees, oh my: the world of exotic pets

They’re sneaky, stinky and spiky, but we still love them. From ferrets to pufferfish, these high school students and staff members stray away from typical pets and choose to live with exotic creatures.

Junior Sasha Katz said she has a ferret named Mazik who she got in October 2018. Katz said that her younger sister was obsessed with the idea of getting a ferret after hearing their mom’s stories of growing up with them. Katz said that her parents were reluctant at first, but eventually gave in.

“My dad didn’t need much convincing once my mom was on board,” Katz said.

She explained that owning a ferret is most similar to owning a dog.

“She’s super social and playful,” Katz said. “We get her out at least twice a day and play with her.”

Katz added that Mazik likes to be chased around and even has a tube that she likes to run and play in. When Katz’s family first got Mazik, they would let her roam the house and run around, until one day they couldn’t find her, she said.

“We ended up losing her for three days,” Katz explained. “We were intensely looking for her, and eventually heard the pitter-patter of her running.”

Katz said that Mozik snuck through a vent into the ceiling and that they had to lure her out with food and treats.

“After that we only let her run around freely in my parents’ room,” Katz said.

Katz explained that ferrets have a distinct smell to them and she had to get used to it, but now she can’t smell it at all.

“It’s not a bad smell, but when you’re first around a ferret, you can definitely smell a sort of musky scent,” Katz said.

Ferrets don’t have typical spines, and you can bend and stretch them quite easily, Katz explained. She said that it doesn’t hurt them at all, and Mazik likes to be bent and flipped around.

Science teacher Josh Butcher said he has had his own beehive for seven years. Butcher said that his dad kept bees when he was growing up and he was always interested in keeping bees himself.

“The primary factor was pollination,” Butcher explained. “You typically get better fruit and vegetable production with more bees around.”

Butcher added that the bees produce around 10-15 pounds of honey each year, and he typically gives the honey to his father.

He said that when he is handling the bees, he has to be very careful about wearing the correct protective gear.

“I have to use it all because I’m allergic to them,” Butcher explained. “I wear a bee suit which covers you from wrist to wrist, ankle to ankle and everything in between.”

Butcher said that although he has worked with and been around bees his whole life, his allergy hasn’t impacted him as much as one might think.

“I’ve never been stung to the point where I’ve needed an epipen,” Butcher said. “I swell really badly, and one time I got stung in the head and my eye swelled shut.”

Bees aren’t the only potentially dangerous pets at the highschool, as freshman Judah Castore has one aquatic creature that can become quite threatening in certain situations.

Castore said he has one aquatic creature that can become quite threatening in certain situations. He explained that he has two tanks in his room, a 30 gallon freshwater tank and a 10 gallon saltwater tank.

“In the freshwater tank, I have one pufferfish, two gourami fish and four pygmy catfish,” Castore said. “In the saltwater tank, I have two clownfish, a cleaner shrimp, a few snails, hermit crabs and a starfish along with some corals.”

Castore said that he likes having a variety of fish in his room because he’s interested in marine biology.

“I’ve always thought marine biology is what I want to go into, and having a slice of that in my house is really cool,” Castore said.

Castore said that his pufferfish, Biggie Smalls, is definitely his favorite fish because pufferfish are actually quite intelligent.

“Pufferfish have the same intelligence level as a full grown dog,” he explained. “He likes to come up to the glass and rub up against my hand when I put it in the water.”

It’s actually harmful for pufferfish to inflate, and they only do it about once a year to exercise their muscles, Castore explained.

Castore said he maintains and pays for everything himself. He added that his dad pretends to not be interested, but sometimes he catches him staring into the tanks.

Castore said that another aspect that he likes about having so many aquatic pets is that not many people can relate to him about having one.

“No one I know has these pets, and while I can find people online or at hobbyist shops, no students at Bexley have pets like these, and I think that’s really cool,” Castore said.

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Bromley Phay
Bromley Phay is a senior at Bexley High School and is a Co-editor for The Torch. Outside of The Torch, he plays tennis for the high school and is involved in Key Club and Environmental Club.