Have you ever considered having an unlikely companion at home? Chennai certainly has eased up in terms of adopting or buying exotic pets that may send shivers down your spine, but for some families, the thrill of owning a pet that is unusual and challenging beats it all.
“I recall of this one instance when we took our birds for free flight,” says Kirean S, a pet parent. “Zeus, my sulphur-crested cockatoo, spotted a crow and chased it for more than a kilometre. We honestly thought he wouldn’t return but with the crow, his prey, in his talons, he flew back and perched on my arm.” Zeus’ siblings include a rose-breasted cockatoo named Boomer, Theia who is a blue-yellow macaw and a green iguana called Athena.
Vijay Anand has a flock of select chicken breeds, ranging from Frizzle, Cochin, a Phoenix hen, Polish, Brahma to Silkie. Housed in his backyard, they make good pets for Indian households, he says. “Chicken to me are as dear as any dog or cat. I spend more money on them than I would on a normal pet but I receive abundantly in return.
These hens start laying eggs after six months of age,” he explains adding, “Caring for their health is vital in terms of the appropriate food. Timely vaccinations are also important as they are prone to flu during the month of May.” Vijay AR, a businessman by profession and animal enthusiast by heart, has Orange, a bearded dragon, Spiky, a spiny-tailed iguana and Spikes, who is a yellow and red iguana.
“After a researching about their natural habitat, diet and temperament, I adopted them. Owning them gratifies my fetish for reptiles,” he says. “Everyone was skeptical about the idea initially, but my kids, who are three and five years, have come to love, play with and feed them, proving that such pets are kid-friendly and probably the best gift you can give your children.”
The reptiles have become celebrities, earning their owners fifteen minutes of fame. “Spiny has been used by Vijay TV for shoots and has starred in movies as well,” he says. The striking blue and gold prismatic plumage gives it away that our next exotic pet is a blue and yellow macaw, a free flight bird native to South and Central America.
Syed Ahmed, a facility manager at Victory Facilities, owns one by the name Nuhu. “She is remarkably friendly and is hardly ever caged. Four years and six months old, Nuhu loves accompanying the kids into the shower.
Unlike other pets, my pet talks — thought she can be loud at times, that’s her nature and my children are delighted!”