The Sledgehammer – Version 2.0

May 19, 2008

Animals Forced to Live in Xtreme Conditions

Filed under: Random Stuff — Tags: — Brian Lutz @ 12:05 am

I suspect that at one point or another, most of us had some sort of small animal as a pet.  In my case, it was back around the time I was in fourth grade when for some reason, my parents came home from a trip to Albuquerque one Saturday with a Habitrail and three gerbils of mixed gender.  These weren’t the only pets in the house (my Dad made a hobby of keeping aquariums for many years, and there were as many six of them in the house at one time, with plenty of interesting fish,) but as you might imagine, pretty soon those three gerbils had become fifteen gerbils, and after a mass escape from the cage or two, my Mom managed to find someone to foist the things off on, and that’s pretty much the last I heard of it. 

In those days, the Habitrail cages (Warning: slightly obnoxious use of Flash on that link) were pretty standard boxes made mostly out of orange and yellow plastic, with the customary tubes used to connect the various elements of the cage to each other.   It had all the stuff a gerbil would need for a reasonably comfortable existence, but I don’t think there was anything particularly fancy about it.   Since I have few inclinations to bother with keeping pets these days I haven’t really bothered to keep up with the latest in hamster cage technology, but it seems that in recent years, the selection of these cages has expanded to incorporate a much wider variety of colors and styles, to the point that if you were so inclined, you could probably find one to match your decor.  On the other hand, I think that some of these cages might be going just a bit overboard.  Case in point:

This is CritterTrail X, the “eXteme activity home for critters, with the eXciting, eXtractable ‘Petting Zone'” (and yes, that is eXactly how they write it on the box too. )  Can you think of any place besides Glowing Stuff Night at the bowling alley where something like this wouldn’t clash with the decor?  I don’t know how much scientific research has gone into the improvement of artificial small animal habitats over the last twenty years or so since I had gerbils (has it been THAT long?  Dang, I’m getting old…) but I somehow doubt that “make the cages in vaguely decorative day-glo colors” scored all that well in the final results.  I am not aware of too much animal behavior research that has been devoted to the subject of Attention Deficit Disorder among captive rodentia, but I suspect that a cage like this would probably be a good place to find it if you were looking.

 On the eXterior of the box, we see the text eXtolling all of all this product’s eXciting features, but on closer eXamination of the box you might eXtrapolate that something seems slightly odd, and it’s not just the eXcessive use of quotation marks…  I’ll eXplain it if necessary, but don’t eXpect too much help with this one.

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