Working Pets

Bearded dragon eats live cricketsSome pets are high maintenance and need looking after all the time. They might need to be fed, walked, taken to the vets for shots or dentistry work. So when choosing a pet, make sure it contributes to the household chores. The Little Owl was kept as a pet in Victorian kitchens to catch the cockroaches which scuttled out at night.

I blogged last week about how Lake Eerie was infested by mayflies and a home in Utah which was infested by billions of grasshoppers. A few bearded dragons will eat insects such as crickets. Adult dragons will also eat pinky mice, baby lizards and anything else they find tasty.

Install a bat box into your home to attract bats who eat huge quantities of insects. A tiny pipistrelle can eat up to 3,000 insects in a night – that’s one heck of a dent in a nasty mosquito infestation.

Cats can be good for rodent control though they can also make a dent in the bird population. The Mammal Society estimates that the UK’s cats catch up to 275 million prey items a year, of which 55 million are birds such as house sparrows, blue tits, blackbirds and starlings. If you have a cat and you like to feed birds make sure you use a bird feeder which is raised from the ground, so an unsuspecting bird isn’t caught by a cat. A raised bird feeder will also prevent rats and mice eating the bird food.

A terrier like the Brussels Griffon or Jack Russells makes a great rat catcher, which is why they are popular on farms and stables. They possess teeth as large as a German shepherd and can easily kill rats by grabbing and shaking them.

So, if you have a pest control problem consider a new pet which can earn its own keep.

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