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Household Pets for the Common Geek?

Cliff posted more than 12 years ago | from the seeking-unobtrusive-companionship dept.

News 186

batobin asks: "I just moved into my first apartment that allows pets, and am looking forward to finally getting some sort of animal companion. My question to the Slashdot community is this: are there any pets out there that are especially conducive to a nerdish personality/lifestyle? I was looking into hedgehogs before I found out they're illegal in my state, but ferrets are starting to look fun too. Which pets are especially trainable? Which will be entertained by (yet not intrusive upon) a typist with a flashing screen in front of them? Is cable-gnawing an issue? Something tells me I can do better than simply a dog or a cat."

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Fish (2, Insightful)

Tim_F (12524) | more than 12 years ago | (#3833514)

I've always really liked fish. And they are really geeky. Easy to take care of, and the don't take up much space. A good time for all involved!

Re:Fish (1)

Parsec (1702) | more than 12 years ago | (#3834497)

Not to mention that you can do all sorts of neat things with underwater lights, air pumps, and hoses. Heck, who needs fish, it's just fun to set up the gadgets in the aquarium!

Betas (2)

green pizza (159161) | more than 12 years ago | (#3835574)

The perfect geek fish are Betas... cool looking, easy to take care of, and a geek can spend from $10/month to easily $500/month of them! What's more geekier than a fish that can breathe air? A dog with gills??

http://www.aquariumfish.net/catalog_pages/bettas /b etta_more.htm

http://beta-fighting-fish.com/

Plus, any true geek will love the name!

Animals you can sex0r up! (-1)

The Porn Count (549103) | more than 12 years ago | (#3833529)

Goats. Obviously.

Or a penguin if you really like Tux in that sort of way.

Are Penguins Legal? (3, Funny)

egg troll (515396) | more than 12 years ago | (#3833533)

If penguins were legal to own, could there be any other obvious choice. :)

If you are looking to make a commitment (5, Interesting)

MarkusQ (450076) | more than 12 years ago | (#3833534)


If you are looking to make a commitment I would recommend a few sugar gliders [skinhorse.net] . They are very fun, but they do bond to their owners and live for many years, so they aren't a good choice if you're just dabbling with the idea of pets. They are also communal, so you should get at least two.

As always, a simple web seearch will turn up lots more information.

-- MarkusQ

Re:If you are looking to make a commitment (3, Interesting)

Micah (278) | more than 12 years ago | (#3833877)

Thanks for the info, those look cool!

Unfortunately, it is illegal to even own them in some states, notably California.

Speaking of that, does anyone know if it's still illegal to own gerbils in California?

Back in 1984, my family and I were moving from Texas to Oregon. I had a pair of gerbils (which make GREAT pets as far as small rodents go BTW -- much better than hamsters). We were going to go through CA to see relatives. But when we got to the CA agriculture inspection point at Needles, they freeking told us gerbils weren't allowed in the state and gave us a scary looking paper with big letters "WANTED" on top, with a big picture of a gerbil, "Gerbils Are Destructive Pests", and a long description of why they are so evil. They were really going to confiscate them, and my dad was gracious enough to drive us through Nevada instead! And if that weren't bad enough, the CA agriculture cronies put out a statewide alert for our vehicle in case we tried to enter through another point of entry!!!

Re:If you are looking to make a commitment (3, Insightful)

Alan Shutko (5101) | more than 12 years ago | (#3834075)

They are cute, but they look extremely hazard prone. All the posts about having to plan your life for the next 15 years around your two glider (can't get just one, they'll be depressed), watching over them constantly because they are small, fragile and keep getting into things that are dangerous for them. A pet that can be seriously injured by a sock sounds like a ton of work.

I have to admit, reading those pages I'm glad I have a cat. He's smart, fast, and I don't have to babyproof the house.

Re:If you are looking to make a commitment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3834114)

Yeah, but I bet your cat doesn't have two penises.

Sugar gliders do!

Re:If you are looking to make a commitment (3, Informative)

MarkusQ (450076) | more than 12 years ago | (#3834528)


watching over them constantly because they are small, fragile and keep getting into things that are dangerous for them. A pet that can be seriously injured by a sock sounds like a ton of work.

I have to admit, reading those pages I'm glad I have a cat. He's smart, fast, and I don't have to babyproof the house.

I suspect those people are a little over the top. Our gliders are quite bright, and seem to be able to handle themselves well enough. We have a cage for them to sleep in (they're day sleepers, which is another plus for nerd pets, IMHO), but they also get to come out and play quite frequently.

I have a friend with three and also serveral cats. Initially, the cats seemed to be thinking "Hmmm, those little critters look like they'd make a good snack," until the big tom decided to check out the possibility.

He started stalking, and as soon as the glider in question saw him, he (the glider) puffed himself up and started towards the cat (~50 times his mass) striding sort of like an old-west gunfighter. The cat stopped, looked confused. The glider kept going until he was a few inches from the cat.

They peered at each other.

The cat stuck out one paw, cautiously, as if to swat at the glider. The glider leaped onto the cats head and started biting his ears.

The cat ran, flipping his head from side to side until the glider jumped off. The glider then went back to what he'd been doing and they've pretty much left each other alone since.

-- MarkusQ

Re:If you are looking to make a commitment (2)

batobin (10158) | more than 12 years ago | (#3834651)

About how fragile sugar gliders are (taken from this site [buffnet.net] :

Although sugar gliders are healthy and hardy animals, their physical structure is small and delicate although their skulls seem to be very dense when considering the way they bounce themselves off trees many times head first. Thus, they are NOT a suitable pet for very young children, who like to squeeze the animals that they love best.

I don't think a sock could hurt them, but they're still pretty delicate creatures.

Re:If you are looking to make a commitment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3834143)

I stopped reading when I got to the part about how you can't toilet train them and they piss and shit all over your house.

Fucking gross.

Re:If you are looking to make a commitment (2)

batobin (10158) | more than 12 years ago | (#3834639)

Sugar gliders look cool, but they have some downsides [buffnet.net] .

The biggest one for me is:
Gliders are also incontinent and urinate and defecate on you without thinking about it - I have only ever heard of one person who managed to toilet train their glider.

I draw the line when my pet defecates on me. Especially in this case, because they do it to show they trust you...

Re:If you are looking to make a commitment (2)

Wonko42 (29194) | more than 12 years ago | (#3834674)

They're not "incontinent", but like many small animals, they do piss and poop when and where they feel like it. But really, it's not that bad. They're small enough that they don't produce very much at all, so when you get peed or pooped on you can just set the glider down and wash yourself off with some soap and water.

Re:If you are looking to make a commitment (1)

batobin (10158) | more than 12 years ago | (#3834979)

I dunno. Still kind of a turn off, I guess. Potty training an animal isn't just so I don't get crapped on. It's also a challenge, and a source of pride (when it works).

We have a guide dog puppy in the family, and one of the things we have to teach it is how to go to the bathroom on command. You simply find a suitable spot and say, "Do your business." The dog then squats, right on the spot, and does it.

Go over to the neighbor's house...say the magic words. :)

Re:If you are looking to make a commitment (2)

Wonko42 (29194) | more than 12 years ago | (#3834693)

That's actually my mom's website you linked to. We've had gliders around the house ever since I was a kid, and they're awesome little creatures. If you're worried about them getting lonely, you can get a little drawstring pouch (or just use a shirt pocket if you don't mind it getting pooped in) and carry them around with you.

They're fragile creatures, but as long as you don't squash them or play too roughly with them, they'll be fine. Although yes, they do require a fair amount of commitment (though my mom somehow manages to take care of a house full of parrots and gliders at the same time, as well as several cats and a corn snake).

May not be the easiest pet to take care of, but (1)

blues5150 (161900) | more than 12 years ago | (#3833595)

IMHO nothing beats a good dog.

Re:May not be the easiest pet to take care of, but (4, Funny)

kmellis (442405) | more than 12 years ago | (#3833621)

"IMHO nothing beats a good dog."
A bad owner?

sphinx cat! (1)

f64 (590009) | more than 12 years ago | (#3833629)

great. no fur (i'm allergic), will scare the crap out of people, and it's a cat (which is da bomb). image here [andoveranimal.com]

hamsters! (2)

digitalmuse (147154) | more than 12 years ago | (#3833648)

I have to voice my personal preference for small rodents. My GF and I picked out a cute little russian hamster about two months ago and I'm quite smitten with the furry little creature. And I have to say that having a pet with the same schedule (nocturnal) is a boon. We've got him a hamster-ball and he takes great joy in doing laps around the living room and the rest of the house.
Plan on a 2-year life span and expect to clean out the cage 1-2 times a week. He's a great little furry companion [hotspankingchicks.com] and he also enjoys chess. What more can you ask for in a geek-friendly pet.

No matter what you decide, make sure that you understand what you're getting into and are willing to make the commitment to a creature that for better or worse, will be dependant on you for the rest of it's life. Ask questions, choose wisely, and don't forget, there is a special hell for people who neglect their pets.

Re:hamsters! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3833764)

Hamsters are very cool. Gerbils are another alternative.

The bad thing, not due to the animal itself but human stupidity, is you'll get a lot of jokes and strange stares if you mention you have one. Undeservingly, but be aware if you have somewhat lesser confidence in yourself, peer pressure, sexual and gender identity, etc. Easy way to identify friends who are sickos though.

The one somewhat advantage is that gerbils tend to be a little more friendly during the gray hours (evenings, early mornings) than hamsters. I send tend, because small animals individually have their own qwirks, as I've seen hamsters that have no problem at times traditionally considered more hands off.

The one disadvantage is that you have to handle gerbils (and presumably most animals) early on, otherwise, you won't be able to hold it in your hand or let it run on your carpet (enclosed space) without it going nuts. The one I have current was abandoned, so I took it in. It took about 4 months before it got used to me and I to it, but it's very friendly. But I have never been able to handle it comfortably without it going a bit nuts that I've given up on that aspect.

Excellent get home, play with animal. Low maintenance. Quiet with some activity at night (rearranges cage bedding). Good typing companion and thing to watch during a coffee break during a late night or early morning coding session. Very low odor, esp. if you maintain the cage, and even if you don't, not bad (from experience during the abandoned to time I took it in transition).

Hamsters (high school friend years back raised russian dwarfs) are great, and cuter, imo. Gerbils, less cute, but less irritated during grey hours with you.

gerbils (2)

Micah (278) | more than 12 years ago | (#3833986)

Agreed with above AC. Gerbils are MUCH better than hamsters!

Gerbils are originally from the Mongolian desert, and therefore are much more efficient and emit less waste, and you can tell. You can get away without changing gerbil cage bedding for more than a month before it really starts to stink, though once every 2 or 3 weeks might be better. Hamsters need to be changed every 1 or 2 weeks. Mice are HORRIBLE -- if you don't change their litter for ONE week they smell like CR@P!

Gerbils are also tamer than hamsters. I've been bitten by them, but that is very rare after they got used to me. If you tame them right they will sit happily in your hand for a long time when they age and let you stroke their backs! I've never had a hamster of my own, but the ones I've seen are much more aggressive than gerbils.

Another option might be rats. I'm thinking of getting a rat someday. They are smart, and not nearly as dirty as most people think they are.

Re:gerbils (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3834573)

I should note that not cleaning cages regularly does up the chances that your small critter has an increased risk of wet tail (diarrhea). Although the reality of this risk is probably played up my doting pet owners. (Also, my gerbil cleans it's own cage somewhat, since it likes to kick out the dirty bedding on its own.)

Also, for the bite fearing, gerbils don't typically break skin when they bite; I'm not sure they could even if they wanted to. Anyways, you just feel a very very very light nip-like pressure that you associate with the action; nothing shows up on the skin. (Mine nips at me when I have to invade the cage to clean it.)

Re:gerbils (2)

Micah (278) | more than 12 years ago | (#3835693)

Also, for the bite fearing, gerbils don't typically break skin when they bite; I'm not sure they could even if they wanted to.

Another good point. Gerbils CAN draw blood, it's happened to me, but hamsters definitely bite harder and are more likely to draw blood.

Fish (2)

Apreche (239272) | more than 12 years ago | (#3833653)

You really can't get more geeky than the Macintosh 512K fish tank. I forget the site for it though.

Re:Fish (1)

flux4 (157463) | more than 12 years ago | (#3834837)

I forget the site for it though.

The Macquarium isn't just a site... it's an entire Open Directory Category! [google.com]

you know you're a geek when... (2)

green pizza (159161) | more than 12 years ago | (#3835586)

... you have 5 MacQuariums!
"Macintosh" (128K/512K)
Mac Plus
Mac SE
Mac Classic
Mac Color Classic
iMac

Ok, so I'm still working on the iMacQuarium! I'd also like to find an old Macintosh TV (the black Mac LC 520 with built-in TV tuner).

A few suggestions (2)

Beowulf_Boy (239340) | more than 12 years ago | (#3833732)

I have had a rabbit or two, although I didn't keep them in the house, I have heard they can be house trained, and are rather nice loveable little things. If they get mad, they can nip rather hard though.

Also, what about a parakeet (or budgie, depending on what part of the world you live in). They are generally good natured, and you can teach them to talk if you have enough patience. I used to have one that sat on my monitor and would look upside down at it.

Perhaps a dog, depending on the size of your apartment. Rescue a grey hound from a your local racing gray hound rescue shelter. They are medium sized relaxed dogs, but need to go for a quick run once a day or so. Also, if you get a dog, crate train them, you place them in their crate overnight, and they sleep, and won't crap in it.

If you get a cat, get the fattest laziest one you can find. I have 2 cats. One is up all night creating messes and hardly sleeps, and the other sleeps on my bed 23 out of 24 hours a day, and the other hour she is on my lap purring.

Re:A few suggestions (2)

extra88 (1003) | more than 12 years ago | (#3834112)

"They are medium sized relaxed dogs, but need to go for a quick run once a day or so."

You're suggesting a "common geek" go for a quick run on a daily basis? Only if the greyhound comes with a Segway!

Re:A few suggestions (1)

KyootFox (209674) | more than 12 years ago | (#3834337)

I agree!! A Rabbit is a Geeks best friend, they can be litter trained, they don't want to lay on the keyboard like a cat, and most of the time they don't mark your tower case like a dog will.

They don't eat much DASD, only the cables that are in their way, so I block off all my computer cables with a pen.

They always eat all their veggies, including the ones you don't wanna eat. They can be loving on their terms, mine love to lay next to me and get petted or groomed.

All in all, a rabbit is a nice house pet to have.

Just look at one of mine! He's not eaten any of my Midrange!!
http://members.cox.net/kyootfox/George Rabbit.jpg

But before anyone gets a bunny, read up on them, they can be a handfull...
http://www.rabbit.org

Rabbits? (1)

Innomi (566928) | more than 12 years ago | (#3834399)

Rabbits make bad pets, all they do is produce large amounts of rather noxious shit.

Re:A few suggestions (1)

Parsec (1702) | more than 12 years ago | (#3834480)

I've heard/read rabbits like to chew on electrical cords.

Re:A few suggestions (1)

KyootFox (209674) | more than 12 years ago | (#3834788)

Yes, they can eat and snip cords, that's why you protect them with "wraps". That protects the cord, the rabbit and looks cool when you have a bunch of black tubes all over the place! Think "Golden Age Of Wireless" by T.Dolby

As for the noxious feces, actualy they are rather good about that, and what misses the litter box is easy to pickup with a dustbuster or hand. They make little poops, like CoCo Puffs, just don't get the two mixed up. As for urine, with any animal that uses a litter box, you must change the box often. I change my two boxes every two to three days.

The worse thing is when your rabbit gets sick, which they can do quite quickly. But for someone that cares for their furry critter, it's easy to spot early on.

I love all 4 of my bunnies, they are sweet, loving, and great to watch when I am programming.

IMHO they are the greatest critters I've had the honor to live with me. { And I've had some unique ones... Ferrets, Skunk, Raccoons, Crow, Frogs, Lizards, Cats, Dogs }

George next to the AS400 [cox.net]
My George Bunny [imagestation.com]
My Brown Bunnies, Lego & Collette [imagestation.com]

One word... (4, Insightful)

WolfWithoutAClause (162946) | more than 12 years ago | (#3833770)

Aibo. Obviously!

cats, if you actually want a companion... (4, Insightful)

tongue (30814) | more than 12 years ago | (#3833785)

if you're just looking for a fixture around the apartment, go with something like a guinea pig or a fish... ferrets stink. literally. i mean, given that you're on slashdot, your chances of getting a girl to voluntarily come over are already halved, but if you do by some miracle score one for the home team, ferret-stink is a big turn-off.

if you're really looking for a companion with some personality, go with a cat, or to a lesser extent, a dog... personally, i'm a dog kinda guy, but its hard to find a good sedate breed of dog that won't get in your way while coding. if you do opt for a dog, definitely get obedience training. its indispensible for any dog owner, coder or not.

Re:cats, if you actually want a companion... (1)

Thomas A. Anderson (114614) | more than 12 years ago | (#3833844)

I'd have to disagree with this completly - I had a ferret for 5 years. While they do haave a slight musk odor, it's very manageble. The trick to so bath their bedding often, but the ferret not at all. Bathing the ferret causes the production of the oil that gives off the musk scent (food can affect this too). There are many books on ferrets that go into more detail.

My ferret was the most playful, enjoyable pet I ever had. They sleep most of the time, but shen they're awake, they do nothing but play. Hide and seek was Rascal's favorite game - she would hide behind the refridgerator - and then poke her head out. When you would say "boo", she'd scamper back. It was more fun that it sounds (they have a very funny lope - they run with their back arched)

Ferrets are very communal - best to have 2 or more. They also will develop a specific sleep schedule based on when you are available to play (less so if there are 2 or more) - so it's nice if you can devote the same time of each day to play with them. They sleep darn near 20 hours/day.

Ferret's can be house trained just like cats(but read up on the best types of litter to use).

I'd have a ferret now if the morons in the Ca. senate didn't have their heads up their ass - they can't tell the diff between the european ferret (domesticated for about 2000 years) and the wild ferrets of No. America.

Hope ths helps

Re:cats, if you actually want a companion... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3833880)

they can't tell the diff between the european ferret (domesticated for about 2000 years) and the wild ferrets of No. America.

Well, there isn't much of a difference.

Both species are pretty vicious, and would damage native bird and animal populations if their feral populations became too large.

Re:cats, if you actually want a companion... (1)

Thomas A. Anderson (114614) | more than 12 years ago | (#3834167)

This is exactly the problem - misinformation. There is a *huge* difference between these 2 types of ferrets - one can live in the wild - the other can't. If you buy your ferret from a reputible pet store then it will have been born in captivity (rather than a captured no. american ferret - which is illegal btw). These animals have *zero* ability to live on their own in the wild. They pose no danger to wild birds at all.

There is no such thing as a feral population of ferrets. No gov't agency has every documented one, and my guess is they never will.

All this misinfo comes from the cattle industry which would love to kill the native (and wild) black footed ferret. Aparently they dig hols which the cattle then break their legs in. Stupid cattle.

Cats, however. Check out audobons (sp?) web site - cat's kill a ton of wild birds every year. they're the real danger to wildlife - not ferrets.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled broadcast...

Rats! (3, Insightful)

Fweeky (41046) | more than 12 years ago | (#3833828)

They're small, fluffy, cute, clean, affectionate, cheap, intelligent, trainable, and easy to look after.

They only disadantage is they don't live very long (sucks getting attached to one and have it die within 2-3 years), and they will knaw through cables and clothes if you're not careful.

They'll sit on your shoulder while you work, can be trained to come when called, will sit while you stroke them, and come in a wide variety of sizes and colours :)

Cat... (2)

singularity (2031) | more than 12 years ago | (#3833846)

As a cat owner, I resent the comment at the end of the submission. Apparently the original submitter is against cats and dogs because they are more mainstream pets, and therefore are not ideal "nerd" pets.

In fact, I have found cats to be ideal for the nerd lifestyle. They require a minimum of maintance and require little attention.

I have also found that cats are very fond of lounging on top of CRT monitors during late night sessions. My cat has never forgiven me for getting my 17" LCD.

Cats have plenty of personality and tend to be fairly reclusive. Smell is a minimum, as well.

Re:Cat... (1)

evalhalla (581819) | more than 12 years ago | (#3834008)

I agree in the fact that cast are the best geek pet, as well as the best animal that have ever been in a human dwelling, as well as... ok, my own cat has left my monitor, so I can stop :)

It is also true that they require minimum manteinance, but the "little attention" part is not always true and depends much on personality and habits of the single cat: some of them may just see you when they have to eat, so they require almost no attention, while other may become very esigent, expecially when you're doing something that is obviously useless, like, well, almost everything that doesn't involve them directly.

For the CRT part, I've noticed that cats tend to love computers, probably because of the heat or because they actually are geeks. Since I've gently asked my cat not to sleep on my modem (because of his hairs - actual method used involved an empty bottles barrier between the modem and the rest of the home :) ) she decided that the space in front of the keyboard is just perfect for her naps, expecially when I'm trying to type, also because she actually gets some chances to write her own opinions (or because I tend to scratch her ears while I'm thinking what to write next).

Cats are also a good choice in apartments, as they don't smell and they aren't noisy (except when something falls in the opposite side of the building from the one they are in :) ); you should only take care that they can have some space to exercise, either horizontally or vertically.

Anyway, most of the cats I know tend to agree on the fact that a geek is a good pet for them, so a cat is probably a good idea.

Re:Cat... (1)

Yottabyte84 (217942) | more than 12 years ago | (#3835419)

The thing about cats, is YOU MUST ONLY HAVE ONE! With each added cat, the likelyhood of them peeing on your stuff increases exponetoaly.

Re:Cat... (5, Informative)

renehollan (138013) | more than 12 years ago | (#3834050)

I second this, even though you appear to want an "exotic" pet. Cats are low maintenance: provide food, water, and a litter box, and there ya go. Sure, cleaning the litter box is a hassle, but there are some self-cleaning boxes out there. Surely, those would appeal to a geek (presumably cats don't mind them).

More exotic pets, partucularly rodents, can get expensive: My daughter begged and begged for a "pet of her own" and we thought it would help teach her some responsibility. We ended up getting her a guinea pig. BIG mistake: the cage requires daily cleaning; the litter and food and expensive. The damn little rodent costs WAY more in food and litter than our cat. And a guinea pig isn't exactly exotic.

I mentioned a cat earlier. Now, I grew up with a dog -- a rather likable English Setter that lived to the ripe old age of around 18. I like dogs. But dogs need to be walked (some small species can be trained to do their business on newspaper in the garage, but the smell remains long after the excrement has been removed), and I've always thought it cruel to have a dog and not live somewhere where they can run and play in big open places. Cats are quite happy to live indoors, and some species can be trained to not roam. Persians are good for this, but you will have to deal with their long hair, shedding, and trips to the groomer 2-4 times a year to have them shaved (yeah, the hair gets that long, and perioding shaving is necessary). I've had a long-haired Persian cat for almost 10 years now. No regrets. It even adapted well to three moves in that time (apartment to house, to house, to house)

MOD PARENT UP, PLEASE and What's the criteria? (3, Insightful)

GuyMannDude (574364) | more than 12 years ago | (#3835215)

I second this, even though you appear to want an "exotic" pet.

Rene, I agree with your "read" of the poster's intent, and I'm pleased you added the always prudent "appear" to your statement since it's not clear what the poster wants/needs in a pet. I thought your post was great. Hopefully that will cause the poster to think twice about the pros and cons of exotic pets.

My first thought when I read the poster's topic was what exactly does s/he mean by "Something tells me I can do better than simply a dog or a cat." What does better mean? Apparently an animal that fits in with the poster's nerdish personality/lifestyle, but that doesn't tell us much. I'm a little concerned that the poster's intent may be to get an animal that s/he can show off to his/her friends as an example of what a counter-culture, eccentric-genius, think-outside-the-box kind of guy s/he is. The comment about ferrets looking "fun" troubles me. Perhaps it's because I've seen way too many hippies who think that owning one of these is a great way to advertise your non-mainstreamness. Again, I don't know poster batobin so all we can do is guess what his/her criteria for a pet is.

I sincerely hope that batobin knows what is important to them in a pet even if s/he chose not to let us in on the secret. And for the record, I believe that cats make great nerd pets. If you're concerned about them fooling with your computer equipment, just put that stuff in a offlimits-to-Kitty-room.

GMD

Re:MOD PARENT UP, PLEASE and What's the criteria? (2)

renehollan (138013) | more than 12 years ago | (#3835608)

Regarding ferrets: they are nice, but high-maintenance. I have friends who've had ferrets. Somehow, "high maintenance" and "geek" don't seem to go along. That's why I suggested a cat.

Part of the problem is animals that are "cool", yet cruel or impractical to keep as pets. I like big cats, for example, as in cheetas. You can't tame them, they are an endangered species, and unless you can properly provide for their needs (and meet all applicable laws), it's pretty much criminal to have one.

OTOH, I knew a friend who had a cougar as a pet. Tame as could be at home. Of course it roamed at night, and the neighbors turned him in when one too many domestic cats wound up dead. Poor thing wound up in a zoo. It deserved to be free, but alas, it liked to rest with humans.

Now, I will say that seeing a wild animal in it's natural habitat (deer, fox, wolf, bear, raccoon) is certainly a pleasure [and catching a glimpse of a brown bear is damn hard], and definately exciting.

Re:Cat... (1)

Yottabyte84 (217942) | more than 12 years ago | (#3835411)

My cat used to sleep on my dot matrix printer.

Nothin wrong with a cat (1)

Bladerunner2037 (516233) | more than 12 years ago | (#3833850)

I've got 2..when I am busy with the computer, they entertain each other...
they are also amused by x-roaches.

Penisbird! (0, Troll)

Raskolnk (26414) | more than 12 years ago | (#3833856)

The obvious answer is a penis bird. Don't get a ferret, they smell like urine.

Relax, I might be kidding.

Ferrets don't always make good pets... (2)

stefanlasiewski (63134) | more than 12 years ago | (#3833859)

but ferrets are starting to look fun too. Which pets are especially trainable? Which will be entertained by (yet not intrusive upon) a typist with a flashing screen in front of them? Is cable-gnawing an issue?

I know several people with ferrets (Including my mother in law).

Ferrets are very cute and very fun, but they don't meet all of your criteria. They are difficult to train to to tricks, they are pretty dirty animals (They don't potty train very well, and often prefer to poop in a dark corner vs in a bed of kitty litter), play with and chew cables (My mother-in-law had one that kept chewing through hot electrical wires), they do not enjoy cages, and they are hyper hyper hyper... nonstop nocturnal action. They do like to cuddle with you, but they are also libel to pee and poop on your bed while you are sleeping.

Also note that ferrets are master escape artists, so if you do get one, make sure that ferral ferrets won't threaten indiginous bird populations in your area [google.com] (Which is why ferrets are illegal in California & Hawaii, and should remain illegal according to the Audubon Society, the Waterfowl Association, and The Sierra Club).

Something tells me I can do better than simply a dog or a cat."

Don't disregard a dog or cat simply because they are common pets. There are hundreds of millions of dog & cat owners in the world, with good reason: dogs & cats are (usually) intelligent, clean, easy to train, and very loving animals.

Re:Ferrets don't always make good pets... (1)

atgrim (103715) | more than 12 years ago | (#3834963)

All right. I read this post and had a shit fit. This person either has ZERO clue or is a member of one of the above mentioned organizations who for some silly reason are extremely against ferrets.

First off, you need to understand that there are 2 types of Ferret. There is the domestic ferret that has been around for more than a thousand years. As an example, Queen Elizabeth I, raised ferrets and gave them away as gifts. You can see other examples here [doctorbeer.com] .

The other type of ferret is the North American Black Footed Ferret. This is the wild version and is illegal to own because it is an endangered species. [bagheera.com] It is also "the rarest native mammal in the United States...".

Yes, in California and Hawaii, they are illegal. However, according to various reports,(none of which I can find right now) there are no "Feral" Ferret populations in the USA. I will find the reports and post a response. Also, Domestic Ferrets are legal in all continental states including Alaska, and excepting California.

I don't have documentation concerning cable chewing but I will find it. From personnal experience, I have zero problems with my ferrets chewing on cables. I have network cables, power cables, video cables and other stuff laying all about and the majority of them are hot. I have yet to find a breaker tripped and a crispied critter attached to anything.

Let's start listing some facts....

1. Ferrets are very litter box trainable. In fact they are very fastidious about using the litter box. The only times that they miss are if the boxes haven't been scooped or if they are 2 far away from one. The reason for this is that the ferret intestinal tract is very short (usually about 3 to 4 hours) and they normally need to go to the box as soon as they wake up. So let them do their thing and THEN play with them. Now, to be honest there is a draw back. You will need many litter boxes depending on the size of your home. My lady and I live in a condo that is 1045sq ft and we have 12 litter boxes for 6 ferrets. We had 9 at one time hence that number of litter boxes. If you have a small apartment then I would recommend about 4-5 boxes.

2. Ferrets are not hard to train. Simply look at all the movies and commercials they have been in. Beast Master (Movie and series), Kindergarten Cop, Dr. Dolittle 2*, Doritos.. Just to name a few. Also, Everything Ferret [everythingferret.com] has very good articles on house training ferrets.

3. As to the question of cages, I know from personnal experience that ferrets do not mind cages at all. Now understand that you can't just toss a ferret in an empty cage and expect it to be happy. This is your pet not a convict. Put bedding, blankets, toys and what not in there to keep them happy. A couple good books to read are "Ferrets" by Dr. Wendy Winsted, TFH Publications and "Ferrets: A complete Owners Guide" by Chuck and Fox Morton, published by Barron's. Also,see the links at the end of this post for more information.

4. Ferrets are neither Nocturnal(awake at night) or Diurnal(awake during the day). They sleep 14-18 hours a day and, from personnal experience, they adjust to your schedule. PetSmart has a wonderfull section about ferrets here [petsmart.com] .

5. Anytime Humans attempt to control their environment disaster normally results. Prime example is here [forest-bird.org.nz] . New Zealand does have a ban on ferrets. The primary problem they had there was that there were no natural predators. But I digress.

This post could go on and on. The bottom line is do your research. Ferrets DO make wonderfull pets but as with any animal, preparations must be made and a certain amount of knoweledge must be gathered. Go to your favorite search engine and type in Ferret. If I have missed anything (probably alot) post it and let me know!

Ferrets Anonymous [ferretsanonymous.com]

The National Ferret Welfare Society [ntlworld.com]

The American Ferret Association [ferret.org]

Richard Bach (who owns ferrets), author of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, has written two books about Ferrets. Air Ferrets Aloft and Rescue Ferrets at Sea. Go here [simonsays.com] and type Ferrets in the search.

And yes, there is a Ferret Cam! [extremeweezils.com]

* Dr. Dolittle 2 referred to the ferret as a weasel. However it was a ferret. Weasels are much harder to train and have a nasty temper.

Re:Ferrets don't always make good pets... (2)

stefanlasiewski (63134) | more than 12 years ago | (#3835555)

However, according to various reports,(none of which I can find right now) there are no "Feral" Ferret populations in the USA.

But according to the State of California ferrets can establish ferral populations [ca.gov] , and have done so in New Zealand & the UK, among other places.

The Center for Exotic Pest Research at UC Davis said if ferret ownership was to become legal, there is a "high risk" of feral populations.

Groups like Ferets Anonymous say that Ferets cannot survive in the wild and grow in population. This does not make sense. All other domesticated animals; Cats, dogs, rabbits, rats, cows, and even parrots, can and have established feral populations. But some magical force prevents ferrets from breeding outside of a human house? That doesn't add up.

Domestic Ferrets are legal in all continental states including Alaska, and excepting California.

California & Hawaii also have the most to protect.
California has more native plants an animals then any other state, and the second highest percentage of surving native species (Hawaii is first) (Sorry, can't find a link, and I've sold my biology texts).

Indiginous animal populations are already threatened by feral housecats, feral ferrets would only threaten more species.

Tell me, when it comes to protecting the environment, who do you trust more: The Sierra Club, the Audubon Society, the California Department of Fish & Game, and UC Davis ; or Ferrets Anonymous?

No ferrets, please. (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 12 years ago | (#3833862)

Not ferrets. They do too much ferreting.

uhh (1)

seann (307009) | more than 12 years ago | (#3833863)

your a geek, not an idiot

how about a good old cat or dog.

Re:uhh (3, Funny)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 12 years ago | (#3834310)

"You're a geek..."

In which case the obvious pet is a chicken.]

Guinea pigs! (2)

PeterClark (324270) | more than 12 years ago | (#3833870)

They are cute, ooze personality, are very friendly and "talkative," and what other animal is so closely associated with science? The only problem is that they are prodigious poop producers, so get a cage that is easy to clean. Also, get a short hair, as they are easier to care for (no grooming and less shedding).
I agree about the hedgehog, though. Someday I'll get one...
:Peter

Not a cat... (1)

Twintop (579924) | more than 12 years ago | (#3833890)

If you get a cat, be prepared to tell your friend "ACK! Sorry, cat on keyboard."

Small reef tank or a cat.... (2)

jsimon12 (207119) | more than 12 years ago | (#3833977)

If you really want to be truely nerdy setup a mini reef tank, about 20 gallons. It is pretty simple to maintain and is most certainly geeky (you built and maintianed a small ecosystem in you apartment). Or a simple solution is get a cat, assuming you get a good one they play with you, but don't require any where near as much trouble as a dog or ferret.

Consider a cat... (3, Interesting)

tm2b (42473) | more than 12 years ago | (#3833979)

...and toilet train [amazon.com] it.

No shit, I trained mine 5 years ago and it's been great. She uses the toilet in the spare bathroom and neither of us have to worry about all the indignities of a dirty litter box.

Do not try to train it to flush, though. Seems that if you do this they decide that they love it and go and flush the toilet whenever they're bored...

an EXTREMELY low maintenance option... (2)

Micah (278) | more than 12 years ago | (#3834014)

...hermit crabs!

Ok so they're not all that affectionate, but they are kind of fun sometimes. Given them some rocks, a good bowl of water, some hermit crab food & an apple, a few spare shells that are a little bigger than they (REALLY IMPORTANT), and leave them alone or watch them! I defy anyone to come up with a pet that requires less maintenance!

The beauty of it is that you can play with them when (and ONLY when) you want to. It is rather fun to let them walk around on you. :-)

And they are quiet too. No barks or meows early in the morning, no re-arranging cage bedding or running on a squeaky excercise wheel at 4AM.

Things to watch out for (5, Informative)

Sentry21 (8183) | more than 12 years ago | (#3834036)

Some of these tips might not apply now, but they are good to keep in mind in the long run.
  • Keep small pets. Pets like cats, and anything smaller, are good for this. The reason is cost. Food for a large dog will cost you a ton compared to a half-tin of cat food a day and a bag of dry food every two weeks.
  • Keep low-maintenance pets. Cats are reasonably good for this, as long as you remember to let them in and out (if applicable), and remember to change their litter and feed them. They'll mostly stay out of your way if they're loners, and if they're sucky (friendly, suck-up, lovey) cats, they'll gladly sit in your lap, where you can pet them with one hand and browse slashdot with the other.
  • In a ground floor apartment, you can have any pet you want. In anything above the 1 1/2th floor, or anything above the 3rd floor that doesn't have a huge tree just outside the patio/window, you need an indoor pet, or a 'companion' pet. Cats are bad for this (unless you have the tree), since once you get outside, they'll take off, and you'll have to wait for hours for them to come back so you can open the door. Dogs are better for this, since you walk them and then go home with them. Problem is, you have to walk them, it's not an option.
  • Don't go exotic. It might seem 'cool' or 'geeky' to have an exotic pet, but when it gets sick and the vets are clueless, when the only petstore around that carries food for it closes up, when you move to a no-pets apartment and have to get rid of it, it can be a pain in the ass.
  • Don't get a bird. Either you let it fly around the apartment and crap on everything, or you lock it up in a cage, which is cruel. The best case you could hope for is one that's happy in a cage, in which case it'll sing and whistle at you, which can make concentrating or sleeping somewhat difficult.
I'm a cat person myself, I've almost never not had a cat, but I'm also aware of how much work it takes to care for a cat, and a lot of pets take more work to manage. Be very careful. Ask your local petstore, or as many local petstores as you can find. Ask friends, family, coworkers what kinds of pets they have or have had, and what it takes to take care of them. Get as much info as you can, not just from slashdot. No one here knows enough about your personal habits to give you proper information, only suggestions.

And lastly, once you decide on a pet, go to the SPCA or the local animal shelter. Don't buy from a petstore when there are poor things sitting locked in cages for who knows how long, up until they have to be killed to put them out of everyone's misery.

--Dan

Re:Things to watch out for (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3835572)

A friend had a bird once. Cute little pet. It wouldn't, however, LET YOU FUCKING SLEEP. God damn it, those things can sure be noisy.

millenia of domestication (4, Interesting)

battjt (9342) | more than 12 years ago | (#3834046)

Something tells me I can do better than simply a dog or a cat.

[This sounds like a sickly competitive statement.]

Dogs and cats have millenia of domestication backing them up. If you want a trainable animal, this seems like a no brainer. My dog knows all sorts of things.

- "Let's take a nap" and Belle runs up stairs.
- "MOVE!" and Belle avoids being kicked and gets out of my way.
- "Treat!" and she pays more attention to me.
- "Truck", "Clancy", "go", and she gets excited to go in the truck to Mom and Dad's to play with Clancy.
- "Get in the truck" and she jumps into the back of the truck.
- all of the standards, "sit", "down", "paw", "rollover", "stay"
- "other paw" and she'll shake with the other paw...
= "Outside?" and she'll go to the door if she wants out, otherwise she'll just stair at you.
- When let in from outside, Belle used to check out the living room for visitors, not she checks out the high chair for dropped food.

Dogs are only fun when well trained. Training is a physical activity. There is no negotiating with a dog. The dog has to know that it is at the bottom of the pack (below children) and may at times need reminders.

Mixed breed dogs are more robust and smarter. I'd look for a young dog at the pound.

Dogs are also a 20 year commitment, but can be well worth it.

Joe

Do better? (2)

fm6 (162816) | more than 12 years ago | (#3834080)

Something tells me I can do better than simply a dog or a cat."
If you want simple companionship, you can't do better than a cat. Dogs are OK, but they need lots of attention -- nothing sadder than a dog that spends all its life on somebody's back porch.

If you just need to have an animal that hangs around looking cool, get some kind of reptile. Very low maintenance.

Rats are interesting. But a little too smart for their own good. And they don't live very long.

I've often wanted a ferret. But they're illegal where I live. Probably require more care than I can provide.

The ultimate extreme pet. Somebody in Siberia managed to breed a de-feralized fox. Hoping to create a fur animal that easier to raise than wild foxes. Unfortunately, the de-feralized ones don't have market-quality coats. But they're still beautiful as hell.

wtf? (3, Troll)

simnick (264282) | more than 12 years ago | (#3834121)

i can't believe the inane questions that people ask on slashdot these days... "is this geeky enough?" "what would be geekier?" "could you please define my life for me?" "help me, i have no personal identity!" "*whine*"

seriously. people! "nerdish" "geeky"... if you are you are. if you aren't and you're asking slashdot how you CAN be... ehhhh, you need help, but not from us.

Re:wtf? (1)

batobin (10158) | more than 12 years ago | (#3834484)

I was just curiuos about pet ideas. Is that a crime? I've been interested in a ferret, but haven't talked to anybody with my living style. The posts from this thread have been very useful to me.

Stop telling other people what to do.

Re:wtf? (1)

simnick (264282) | more than 12 years ago | (#3835202)

i haven't told anyone what to do.

i just found it a bit much to say "hi, here is my lifestyle in a word. you all who presumably also identify with this word, what do you think is the pet that corresponds with this word?"

for what it's worth (1)

simnick (264282) | more than 12 years ago | (#3835237)

i have a cat that i really like. cats are pretty low-maintenance and have a well-established user base (== lots of available accessories already on the market, documentation online etc)

i don't think cats are particularly more or less nerdish/geeky/etc than any other pets tho...

Re:wtf? (1)

alienmole (15522) | more than 12 years ago | (#3835483)

FWIW, i agree with you, but then again, "Ask Slashdot" is a little like "Jeopardy" - you have to phrase your question so that it's relevant to geeks/nerds. Which results in questions like this one...

Just be thankful no-one's yet asked CmdrTaco for advice on marriage proposals!

Ferrets (2)

Gabey (18874) | more than 12 years ago | (#3834202)

I have a ferret, and she's perfect for my lifestyle. Ferrets can be difficult to train, and they're not going to do tricks for you, however, they can be litter trained, trained to come to you, etc. Mine is about half litter trained, which is good enough.
Some ferrets will chew on cables. I've been lucky in this regard so far, although there are some gnawers out there. However, this is trainable, especially by using bitter apple spray (they hate the taste).
The best thing I've found about ferrets is that they're always ready to play. Getting home at strange hours is no real problem for them, as they're usually sleeping anyway. However, because ferrets are so playful, it's usually a matter of waking them up, giving them a minute to stretch, and then they're ready to play.
All in all, a ferret makes a great choice (or two, they're very communal, remember), if they're legal in your area, of course.

-Gabe

Re:Ferrets (1)

Incendiary (4637) | more than 12 years ago | (#3835505)

I have to second the ferret recommendation... for the reasons mentioned in the previous post. I have ferrets, hedgehogs, and dogs... and the ferrets seem like the best geek pet... they don't crave the non-stop attention that my dogs do, and they're ready to play at any odd hour. The hedgehogs are very similar... less fur, more quills, less playful attitude; more investigative. Both Hedgehogs and ferrets are illegal in some states, so do some research... oh, and if you do get a non-canine/non-feline companion I recommend that you get it directly from a breeder... there are lists of breeders on the 'net.

Cats, Fish, Birds... (2)

crisco (4669) | more than 12 years ago | (#3834271)

Cats are definately low maintenance, tend to be independant and have interesting personalities.

Fish could be interesting. I rescued a goldfish from a wedding reception and the thing lived for 3 years with my minimal care (let the tank go a little too long before cleaning it, sometimes forgot to feed him)

A year ago we inherited an african grey parrot. They're considered the smartest of birds and probably the smartest of animals that are relatively easy to keep in the house (read about Alex [alexfoundation.org] to see what they are capable of with training). They aren't a low maintenance pet though, they require personal interaction and they are loud, messy and destructive. However, they are a very rewarding pet to own and can be very entertaining. If you consider owning one (or another type of parrot) I'd reccomend reading up on them and talking to a few owners to get a better sense of what owning one is like.

The obvious (joke) (1)

DRACO- (175113) | more than 12 years ago | (#3834318)

If you have been on the internet for long enough to remember.. Gopher://

DRACO-

Equus Caballus (2)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 12 years ago | (#3834321)

"My question to the Slashdot community is this: are there any pets out there that are especially conducive to a nerdish personality/lifestyle?"

MY 32 horses suit me fine. I may not be a very typical nerd, though.

Leopard Gecko (1)

bleechack (95953) | more than 12 years ago | (#3834385)

I usually am not an advocate for reptiles as pets(snake-o-phobia). However, I have a leopard gecko and really like it.

They have long lives with proper care (15-20 years), so you have time to grow on each other. It is easy to take care of, since it lives in a converted fish-tank that I picked up at a garage sale. It is nocturnal, so it is most active during those late-night programming sessions.

I just have to make a trip to the pet store fairly regularly to keep him stocked with crickets. I picked up a thermometer and an under the cage heating pad for him. Probably cost $50 at a maximum initally, then $2-5.00/week for crickets.

He is very relaxing to watch as he stalks his cricket prey around his cage. Once in a while when I'm sitting there talking to myself, he looks at me like I'm nuts. Not real cuddly, but I like him that way.

For a nice low-maintenance pet, you can't beat them.

Cats, Dogs, Sea Monkeys... (1)

watashiwananashidesu (563740) | more than 12 years ago | (#3834394)

Well, Cats and Dogs are certainly viable geek pets. Cats, outside of litterbox detail and putting out food and water, are technically low maitnence. Of course, there's the playing with cats, mainly when they're kittens, but that's fun. Also, if you get a cat, get it to love canned food enough that it goes nuts every time a can is opened. Then, get one of those catfood-sized can air fresheners. The look on my cat's face when I did that was priceless.

Also, make sure to train kitty to hop into your lap at the computer. Mine wouldn't, and missed out on a lot of cuddling and petting.

And one more thing. If you get a dog or cat and leave antifreeze out in an area where the animal has access to, you should be shot. *looks at her father* Antifreeze is a killer.

Anyway, if a cat doesn't sound right, consider a dog. Dogs are great, and loyal, but you have to play with them now and then too to really have a loveable doggie. I recommend against small dogs and any dog that is or is similiar to a poodle, unless you want a guard dog.

My dog was half miniature poodle, and she was the best guard dog, despite being tiny. She would go ballistic every time someone she didn't know came NEAR the house. She couldn't have mauled them to death or anything, as she was an ankle biter, but I'm sure she scared a few away. Besides, the last thing we needed was a lawsuit.

I've found that very good, low-maitinence pets are Sea Monkeys. Yes, they are real. No, they are not monkeys. They're small invertibrates that look like little white things. They're small, I think about the size of a staple. You feed them once a week, and you can get medicines and stuff for them... And they're obviously aquatic. I don'tk now if they're still availbible, but when they were there was a whole catologue of accessories.

But Sea Monkeys aren't cuddly.

I had a rabbit once, but it died. So no comment there.

So, have fun.

Dolly (0, Flamebait)

fallacy (302261) | more than 12 years ago | (#3834396)

"are there any pets out there that are especially conducive to a nerdish personality/lifestyle?..."

A sheep. Not only a pet, but a friend, a sexual partner, a personal clothing factory, and a small butchers all rolled into one.You need never see a human being ever again!

Well, you did ask...

Re:Dolly (1)

batobin (10158) | more than 12 years ago | (#3834663)

I said a nerd, not a person addicted to bestiality.

On a side note, why is it spelled BESTiality? I just looked it up on dictionary.com, and it seems odd. Isn't the root "beast"?

The english language is weird.

What happens when you're illegal (2)

batobin (10158) | more than 12 years ago | (#3834534)

When searching about ferrets I came across this testimonial [angelfire.com] . To summarize it, a representative from the fish and wildlife department of california came to this lady's house, and seized her ferrets. She was forced through a legal battle, and currently has her pets out of state with her father, and a hefty fine. PLUS she's on probation.

Sounds like they take their laws seriously in California.

Ferrets (1)

linuxwrangler (582055) | more than 12 years ago | (#3834560)

Ferrets love to crawl through small places (see previous comments on escape problems) so they were used in WWII to pull leader-lines through the wiring conduits in aircraft. Imagine showing up to help pull network cable and pulling a ferret out of your toolbox :).

Seriously, a former girlfriend of mine did have a pet ferret and it was fun but somewhat high maintenance. They do smell but most people have the scent glands removed which pretty-much deals with the problem. We never had a real problem with smell after the operation.

Like dogs, they love to grab onto things with their teeth which are sharp and they will sometimes draw blood. We never had it try to hurt someone, though. If you jumped, it would stop playing almost as if it was sorry it hurt you.

Fun pets for the Geek in all of us. (1)

atgrim (103715) | more than 12 years ago | (#3834569)

I own 6 Ferrets and they are an absolute blast. They sleep for 14 to 18 hours a day, are litter box trainable and do not gnaw on cables. They are intensely curious. Best analogy that I have read is that they are a cross of the best of a cat and dog. When they are awake they are like a 2-year old on very,very good caffine! :-) If you chose the right one they will bond with you and adjust their sleep cycle to your schedule. Females are about a half pound for the very smallest ones up to 2 pounds and the males can range from about 3 pounds to the largest one that I had seen and held that was 6 pounds. They are very loving and really love to play.

Can "do better" than a dog or cat? (5, Insightful)

Wakko Warner (324) | more than 12 years ago | (#3834657)

Yes, because a pet is a status symbol. All your friends will think you are uber-leet for having a marmoset.

What a moronic Ask Slashdot question.

- A.P.

Re:Can "do better" than a dog or cat? (2)

batobin (10158) | more than 12 years ago | (#3835272)

When I said "better than a dog or cat", I was only referring to getting a pet that had habits more condusive to my own habits. For example, why get a dog that I'd neglect when I could get a ferret that would match my sleep schedule?

I'm sorry if you took offense to my question. I didn't mean to imply anything about status.

Cats (1)

LastToKnow (449735) | more than 12 years ago | (#3834742)

I'm a big fan of cats, myself. The only problem is when they want to be the center of attention and jump up on they keyboard (or book or whatever else I happen to be holding between me and the rest of the world).

"It is widely grokked that cats have the hacker nature" - The Jargon Files [tuxedo.org]

A few choices.. (1)

McCarrum (446375) | more than 12 years ago | (#3834771)

I have a few pets, which have helped my geeklife.

1 husky, which *requires* walking daily. How is this a good geek pet? Well, it makes you get away from the PC! Take a walk, look at the horizen, breath some air. I used to bitch about it alot (still do) but once I get back, I've always been better for it.

2 cats, which are mostly great. The younger does make a habit of sitting on the scanner, but I can live with that.

9 frogs. What can I say .. FROGS! Like a fishtank, you can go gadget crazy also, and they don't mind if you change the habitat from time to time. You can also combine this with a love of lego. Which brings us to the next choice ..

Rodents. Pick your fav. from rats through to gerbils. And this is also a great excuse to use lego. Ever thought of making their home interactive? With lego setup correctly to a lego treadmill (hehehe) your imagination is your only limitation.

Not for apartment geeks... (1)

Captain Nitpick (16515) | more than 12 years ago | (#3834797)

For the active geek with some property, nothing beats a small herd of llamas [oreilly.com] .

No, really [llamaweb.com] .

How about (1)

inerte (452992) | more than 12 years ago | (#3834803)

are there any pets out there that are especially conducive to a nerdish personality/lifestyle?

A Pikachu?

PS: this is where you all go into LOL mode;

Holy shit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3835182)

You are a FUCKING MORON.

Pikachu Aibo (2)

GuyMannDude (574364) | more than 12 years ago | (#3835268)

I'm not sure a Pikachu in and of itself is particularly nerdy. NOW if you hacked an Aibo so the only noises it made were random variations on "Pikachu", give it a custom yellow paintjob and rigged it to give an electric shock anytime it got pissed off (or you forced it into battle with the neighborhood rotwiller), that would be a pretty cool nerd pet! Hell, you could make a website about it and submit it to slashdot for all of us to marvel at! Can't get more nerdy than that!

GMD

www.neopets.com (1)

DRACO- (175113) | more than 12 years ago | (#3834948)

www.neopets.com

Pretty geeky.. and you never have to leave the pc

DRACO-

Servicat (3, Interesting)

austad (22163) | more than 12 years ago | (#3835017)

Get a Servicat. I don't have a link handy right now, and I'm too damn lazy to find one, but a google search will turn up tons of pages.

A Servicat is half African Serval (like a mini-leopard) and half Bengal (a standard housecat, but is at least some part Asian Leopard). They are legal in most states because they are only considered 50% exotic.

I have 2 Bengals, and they rule. If they weighed like 30 or 40 pounds like a Servicat, they would be hella cool.

Re:Servicat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3835442)

I believe they are also known as Savannah cats

Seahorses (1)

ChrisGuest (556510) | more than 12 years ago | (#3835156)

i'm not sure if they're obtainable in your neck of the woods, but they're an excellent geek pet and unique exemplar of male pregnancy!

How about a snake?? (3, Interesting)

LordDartan (8373) | more than 12 years ago | (#3835163)

In my sophomore year of college, my roommate had a pet ball python and believe it or not, made for a pretty good companion while working on the computer. He'd stay up on my shoulder, or on my arm, perfectly content to watch me work away. And before someone asks, he never tried to strangle me! *grin* The snake was about 3' long, and from what I remember my roommate saying, they don't get all that much bigger than that. And taking care of it was a breeze. Just make sure it has a clean cage and give it a mouse once or twice a month. And for those that are really adventerous, let a mouse loose in the living room and watch the snake hunt it down! Just be sure not to bother the snake while it's feeding, it does NOT like that!

Of course now, I have a springer spanial, but only because my wife HATES snakes.

Re:How about a snake?? (1)

batobin (10158) | more than 12 years ago | (#3835242)

I wish I had mod points, because I really enjoyed your post. I never considered a snake.

Sounds like really easy maintenance. And when the work piles on, it won't get depressed if I don't play with it a certain number of hours per day.

Hmmmmmm....

Re:How about a snake?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3835667)

How about a tarantula? Some species are pretty cute. They are very low-maintenance and live for a long time.

If you like the idea of a tarantula, search google for more info on species that make good pets.

Ecosphere (2, Interesting)

Frank of Earth (126705) | more than 12 years ago | (#3835409)

While not really a "pet", they are great for geeks. I have one at work.

Eco-sphere [eco-sphere.com]

They don't require any maintenance and if you forget about them for a few weeks, no big deal. Occasionally, I'll put in the dark for a few days to stop the algae growth and to satisfy my god complex.

I had mine for about a year now and my 4 little brine friends are still running in circles.

Re:Ecosphere (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3835662)

Brine shrimp and semen!!! Make sure you remain their ONLY god though, or else shit will hit the fan.

(This looks like a troll unless you watch south park. Please don't mod it down)

An African Grey Parrot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3835429)

Probably the most intelligent animal you can keep as a pet, and they can be absolutely hilarious. Kind of high maintenance and expensive though.

I wouldn't recommend a ferret (2)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 12 years ago | (#3835502)

After over a decade of ferret ownership and 5 ferrets, I'd strongly suggest that you avoid them, particularly as a first pet. They're next to impossible to potty train, they're stubborn and they dig dig dig dig dig. They require that your apartment be "ferret proofed" because they will get in to anything, particularly stuff they're not supposed to get in to. They're also prone to expensive cancers starting at around age 5 or so and a lot of vets don't really know how to deal with them.

Their playful nature is a delight and they are pretty low-maintenance but a cat would be almost as playful most of its life and would live easily twice as long as your average ferret.

Cats! (2)

slaker (53818) | more than 12 years ago | (#3835683)

Short-hair cats.

Fish freak me out. They're always looking at you with beady little eyes. Birds are every possible kind of messy.

Dogs require a little too much maintenence (gotta get home to let Spot out to pee).

But my cats - a pound rescue and a Scottish Fold I've had for several years now - are great geek pets. First of all, they love the computers. Bat-the-cursor, lay on the keyboard, sleep on the giant monitor. They appreciate all the simple geekish joys.

They basically come toilet trained, and clumping litter means two minutes of litter-box cleaning three or four times a week. No big deal. You keep a brush around to keep the shedding down to a minimum (it's not bad on shorthairs, anyway), get 'em a few toy mice and a laser pointer (all household pets, including my ex-'s fish, will play with a laser pointer), and they're basically good to go.

Cats can cuddle up on your lap and are plenty vocal (mostly) if you're in need of another voice. Purring is a smoothing thing. It always relaxes me, anyway.

Cats also live a good, long life. My parents had a cat for 21 years. They're truly an animal for the long-term. They're just all-round good pets.
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