News - September 27, 2012

No lapdogs here

Cats and dogs are all very well, but the biodiversity in the Wageningen student world is much bigger than that.

Here we prefer a 'cuddly' reptile or a Mexican axolotl. In honour of World Animal Day 2012: four students with their beloved pets. 
'Degus are endearingly crazy'
Emma Teuling, Food Technology
'Lancelot and Icarus are incredibly nice. They are very curious and endearingly crazy. They make all kinds of funny little squeaking sounds and they twitter like birds. Sometimes the squeaking can get irritating too. For a while they made the same sound as my alarm clock. I would suddenly wake up on a weekend morning at seven o'clock. Degus have a high cuddly factor but you cannot really cuddle them. I can pick them up and stroke them a little, but that's about it. Unless it's extremely cold and I happen to be warm. Then they snuggle in my hand as if they are saying, 'Ooh, that's nice!'

'Glass shrimps have nice little heads'
Kiki Verheijen, Animal Husbandry
'I have always had an aquarium. It is nice to create your own underwater world. I can stare at these little creatures endlessly; I find it so fascinating. But at some point I began to find fish a bit boring. Then a neighbour of mine told me about glass shrimps. The nice thing about them is that they are very practical. They are scavengers so they clean up all the mess in the aquarium. But what I like best about them is their nice little heads. In India people eat glass shrimps but I could never eat mine. I don't think they'd be very tasty anyway. There is hardly any meat on them.'

'Sjoerd is the most laidback'
Jesse Erens, Biology

'There is something magical about snakes, the way they move and their acute senses. They are really beautiful to look at too. I started with Ad and Ed, two red rat snakes, or corn snakes. This species is known to be very easy-going. Quite soon after that I got two boa constrictors; Sjoerd and Sjef. And now I have a third rat snake, Achmed. He was found in a bag on a corridor on the Haarweg. Sjoerd is the most laidback. I can just pick him up and let him slide all over me. He really is super-friendly and for a cold-blooded animal he is quite fluffy and cuddly.'
'Axolotls have a fascinating capacity for regeneration'
Pieter Rouweler, Biology

'Most people with a pet axolotl choose an albino. They like them best because they look so strange. That is not important to me; I like them just as they are. The fascinating thing about the axolotl is that they have they capacity to regenerate wounded flesh or crushed limbs. For example, one of Axel's gills got injured. Only something went a bit wrong with the regeneration because his new gill has an extra branch. Axolotls have lungs as well and every now and then they surface for air. Sometimes they breathe in too much air and then they keep floating up to the surface or they get caught in the water plants. That is quite a funny sight.'