What is 1.2.3?


& Other Green Horn Questions

7:30pm: Norm and I have finally settled down for the day. There is never enough time any more, so tonight we are eating steaming veggie soup and home-made sourdough bread (from the magic bread machine) and watching CNN. Thank goodness for the satellite dish and 24 hour news, or we would never know what is going on in the 'real' world.

7:31pm: "Ring-a-ding-dingy" goes the 'phone. The only movement is from the bowls to the lips. No one reaches for the 'phone. Norm and I give each other the 'deadly glare', jealously guarding our personal time of relaxation after a long, hard day. "You know it is probably for you", he teases. "Yeah, right" I reply, not taking the teasing very well, and trying to savor the flavor of the fresh vegetables in the soup. Reluctantly, he reaches for the 'phone this time, still chewing a piece of the bread. He answers the 'phone, while swallowing, then triumphantly thrusts the receiver at me with an emphatic "See, I told you!". Darn, he won again! Story of my life.

The party on the other end has seen our ad, and wants to go over every animal on the list plus ones we do not or have never carried. He wants to know everything there is to know about each them in 1000 words or more. This guy must have stock in AT & T. Norm has switched from CNN to Discovery, and the program about "Hunters of Africa." It is the one I have been waiting all week to watch. The caller's questions are endless. Hasn't anyone heard of a library or how to do research the old fashioned way? Some callers are demanding, like it is our job to educate them and want a complete book report on Walkers Mammals of the World. Others are pleasant and respectful of our time and position. I try to answer as many questions as I feel qualified to answer. But there are more and more. The caller finally ends the call with, "Well, I'll talk to my wife". and hangs up. I see the final credits on "Hunters of Africa" roll across the screen as my husband, bends over to give me! a nite-nite kiss as he toddles off to the shower and bed. There is a glaze on the top of my now-cold soup, no longer tempting. I frantically check the Discovery schedule and see that if I care to wait up until 1:00 am, I can see the program I missed. Phooey, I'll be a zombie by then. "Wait, Norm, save some hot water for me".
You cannot believe how very strange some of the actual questions are:

How can you produce unrelated animals? (Is this difficult to figure out?)
Why did my hedgehog die when I soaked it in salt water? (Add dill next time for Kosher pickles.)
I would like to buy a tiger to ride around with me in my Corvette. (Now, you are a Macho dude aren't you?)
Can you import a Cheetah for me to use as a hunting companion? (This one was from a female who told me she was really 'serious"!)
Can you halter break an eland? (Yep, if you like human shish-ka-bob?)
Can I use the EPT to test pregnancy on my _____? (How do you get a steady urine stream from a pygmy mouse or any wild animal for that matter?)
Can't I feed my (a carnivore) a vegetarian diet like mine? (You may wake up some day missing a body part and your (carnivore) smacking its lips.)
Can I keep a pair of imported wallabies in my New York apartment? (Boing! Crash!)
Can you feed puppies to a large python? (Yikes!)
Does "1 cc" mean "1 cubic cup"? (Help!)

Many of the queries require medical answers. Surely every one knows it is not legal for a non-doctor/veterinarian to give medical advice but many callers, when told this, become enraged at our 'insensitivity' to their needs and scream, curse and threaten us and many times rudely hang up. I realize that many times people are desperate and we try to guide them to the proper source.

But some questions and people are really worth the extra effort and cold soup. Here are a few of the MOST frequent and our replies.

What do the numbers mean before a species of animal in yours and other ads?
They mean, for example: 1.3 hyrax.
I'd like to hug who ever thought this one up. I think it is sheer genius. The first number (1) means the number of males, the second number (3) means the number of females. When there is a third number (1.3.4) it means the number of undetermined sex. Normally, the first two numbers are adults unless specified differently (but not always). The third number means that either the sex has not been able to be determined yet, or they are running in a group and have not been captured to check. The third number normally (but not always) means young animals. So, 1.3.4 would normally mean, one adult male, three adult females and 4 young - undetermined sex. If it were written, 2.6 yearling eland, it would be self explanatory, where as 2.6 eland would imply adults.

Do I need a license to have a ___________?
In most states, many animals that are considered non-dangerous are not required to be state- licensed if they are kept as pets, or are not sold. USDA covers exotic and some domestic animals that are to be sold or used in research. Certain non-dangerous small mammals (hedgehogs, prairie dogs, etc.) do not require USDA licensing even if sold when the goes directly to the end user - the pet owner. If the seller markets the animals to or through a pet store, broker, auction house, etc. a USDA license is required on them also. The USDA is concerned with the welfare of the animal.

In all instances, dangerous animals (many carnivores and other animals) require state and/or local licenses. In many instances, some animals are restricted or totally banned from various municipalities or states. Certain animals also, are considered injurious and not allowed in the US without a very special permit which is nearly impossible to get.

In some states, if you have a USDA license, you will not need a state license. This is not the case in every state. In some areas you will need a USDA, state and municipal license or permit.

In addition, certain endangered animals require a USDI license also.

You will need to check with your state, local and USDA to see if you require a license for an animal you wish to keep.

Most of these agencies have specific confinement requirements for enclosures or cages. These requirements may differ for the same species, so it is a good idea to check each agency out and build to suit the most stringent requirement.

Where can I find more information on _____________________?

If I personally have not written a book that contains information on the subject animal, I refer everyone to Walkers Mammals of the World, or Grzimek's Encyclopedia of Mammals. As to where to buy these books, I suggest checking WXICOF book supply, 914 Riske Lane, Wentsville, Missouri 63385. They will furnish you a huge computer list of the current books they have available for $5.00.

What is an exotic animal auction? Aren't most of the animals junk or defective?

There are many exotic animal auctions around the country these days, with the majority of them in Texas. Some are converted livestock auction houses, and others are elaborate and geared strictly to exotics. Due to specific reputations and past history, certain auction houses are patronized by buyers and sellers for certain types of animals more than others. Many auction houses will not take noticeably defective animals at all, and others will accept these consignments, but sell the defective animals at a later time in the sale, calling the defect in the ring. Many sellers take a large portion of their surplus to the auction houses thus reducing their stock in a single day. They also do not have to deal directly with the buyer. Most auctions sell 'as is' and when the hammer falls, the animal is the property of the buyer at that instant. All contracts and guarantees are as called in the ring and are between the buyer and seller. The auction house is not responsible for! the health, sex, age, or any misrepresentations on any animal. The auction house provides the service of a facility of where buyer can purchase an animal at a called price if it is accepted by the buyer. No more, no less.

Some auctions prefer to take consignments as called in ahead of time, and in that order. Others number the animals as they are received on site. Some auctions sell the animals in the order received regardless of species and others group similar species and sell each of those in order received.

Many, many reputable sellers use the exotic sales as the major means to sell their quality animals. It is possible to get some terrific buys at an auction, but then again you could get home with a pig in a poke. Unless the seller guarantees the animal in the ring, you are buying it 'as is'. If it never reproduces, or keels over from terminal dandruff a week later, you may have no recourse against the seller. If the seller does guarantee something in the ring, you discover the animal is defective, and the seller refuses to honor the guarantee, you may have to take legal action. Whenever possible, check out the animal in the holding pens, prior to buying it. Watch its behavior, check out its visible state of health, and whenever possible try to locate the seller and get his input. A seller's guarantee is only as good as his reputation. If he doesn't give a flip, because this is a big country, he can move to another sale. If he has proven to be untrustworthy before, an! d yo u still buy, you might as well drop your drawers when you make the final bid and take the EPT later.

We really welcome the newcomers into the business because they are one of the reasons it will grow and prosper. We have met many new friends this way. Just remember when you call anyone's ad, that the questions you ask have probably been asked by a jillion people before you. When you leave a message, state the reason for your call, and give the option to call collect. You might also leave your address where they can write, if they care to when they have time. By the way, we no longer sell any animals to private individuals, and do not accept phone calls about animals for any reason.

What does 1.2.3 mean?


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