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It’s traveling-pet-store time of the year in Beijing. Most evenings, as the various food carts come out, so does this one:

While I don’t want a pet, I can’t help stopping to ooh and ahh over the animals (there are fish too, as you clearly can see!). Usually there are guinea pigs, bunnies, birds and turtles. Sometimes there hamsters or kittens. And more often than you’d think, there are chipmunks.

Since seeing my first caged chipmunk four years ago, I check to see if the seller (and it’s not always the same cart) has them. A good 1/3 of the time the answer is yes. This begs many questions!

  • Where did they come from? Clearly the other animals entered the world through “normal pet means.”
  • Do people actually buy and bring chipmunks into their homes?
  • What do you feed chipmunks other than peanuts?
  • Do they bite?
  • Are they scared?

I could go on, but you get the point! Based on not-very-official internet research, there are at least 1,250,000 identified species of animals with around 475 of then domesticated (that includes animals, freshwater and marine species). First let’s just pause and slowly say the number.

One million, two hundred, and fifty thousand animal species.

Wow. This doesn’t include all of the variety within species. The immensity of it is just too much to fully grasp! The creator God has certainly done that — been creative. If that number isn’t big enough for you, there is an estimated 10-30 million unidentified species, mostly in the rainforest. So, while we know a lot, what we’ve identified is a pittance. I love numbers, and it’s even a bit overwhelming for me.

However, I’m pretty sure we don’t need to add “domesitcated chipmunks” to the list!

What’s a strange pet you’ve heard of (or had!)? Do share!

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