Thursday, May 19, 2005

petty matters

Part of running a business is R&D and for the pet store, I’m looking at funky fish. Some innovative minds there have use recombinant gene techniques to create fluorescent fish. Roughly speaking, they introduced a gene that has a bioluminescent trait to some fish and selectively bred those that exhibited the trait. It’s really nothing new but it’s still quite a wonder to see these glowing fish swimming around in their black-lit aquarium. I’m doing final checks on prices and importation regulations. It’s not as easy as importing the Sea Monkeys (remember those funky ads at the back cover of comic books?).

I’m also on the lookout for an entomologist, an insect scientist who can advise us on how to breed certain cool insects. These little things fascinated me as a child and I’m sure other kids would appreciate a change from their video games. While we’re at it, I’d consider spiders too (not an insect but an arachnid as any reader of Spider-Man would know). I’m not sure if it’s legal (if it isn’t, forget it) but it does bring back memories of spider fights during my childhood (complete with esoteric techniques like how to put a spider to sleep: cup it in the palm of your hands and blow gently). While thoughts of spider tournaments play in my head, I need to wrestle with my ethics and come to a definitive stand on whether or not this is just cruel, similar to how I feel about cockfights.*

I am going to be selling ant farms. These are really neat and each farm can interlock with other farms. You need to put in a queen for the colony to prosper, but when they do, you can watch them for hours. The one I'm dying to get is called The Antquarium, an ant habitat created for zero gravity that was developed for a NASA space shuttle mission in 2000 to study animal behavior in space

Snakes are out of the question, especially the pythons. Apart from the fact that they’re huge (not at all petty), they give me the willies. I heard rumors that once a week, a guy comes down from some mysterious place with geckos and stuff. We’ll see. Again I need to check with the Bureau of Animal Industry as well as the Parks and Wildlife Bureau if it’s okay to sell them (word has it that if I can prove I can breed them, then I can market them).

Meanwhile, I actually found a source for adorable gerbils, putting to rest my initial reservations about this animal (I thought it resembled an evil no-hair-on-my-tail rat). This breeder has lively brown ones, as well as robust-looking cavies and Roborovski hamsters. And all my usual animals are doing okay, surviving the heat as best they can. I'm happy to say that we've experienced no further turtle mortalities.

*I declined an offer from a supplier who thought I’d be interested in a hamster ball. You seal the hamster in and watch it try to escape hopelessly, rolling the ball frantically every which way until it tires out - no thanks. That’s just wrong.


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