If a friend told you that she has a pet dog, you wouldn’t think twice. A cat? Same thing. Snake? Doesn’t float my boat but still, not unheard of. What would you do if a friend told you that she has pet shrimp? Would you cock your head and say "excuse me now"?
Would you reevaluate your friendship with this deviant?
They are known in aquatic circles as "shrimpers" and they look just like you and me. They could be your neighbour, your dentist or the communications officer at your child’s school. Shrimpers trade their cuddly invertebrates with other enthusiasts at auctions held by the Aquarium Society of Winnipeg. They scour the internet for interesting varieties and have them shipped in, I’m assuming, teeny tiny insulated boxes.Exotic varieties such as the Black King Kong or the Crystal Red can sell for hundreds of dollars. Shocking — I know! But still cheaper than a Labradoodle.
I feel that to really delve into the psyche of a shrimper would require time and perhaps a comfortable couch, so here are some fast shrimpy facts. No, Shrimpers don’t eat their pet shrimp — they are PETS! Shame on you for asking. Yes, it is perfectly normal to name your shrimp. My shrimper connection names hers by variety. For instance the Snowball variety responds to "Abominable Snow Shrimp" and the Yellow Sakura are affectionately and collectively known as "Lemon Chiffon Prawn". No, they don’t look like the shrimp in a cocktail ring nor do they eat cocktail sauce. They are "about the size of a big Rice Krispie with legs. But way cuter." They attack algae and special shrimp food like Winnipeggers at a yard sale —grabbing the best pieces and running off.
Shrimp "television" is the best show on TV. It’s tranquil, amusing, dramatic and has no commercials. "Will they keep the tank clean today?" "Will today be the day that they finally finish that piece of blanched zucchini?" "Wow, I thought for sure that that one was male but she just laid all those eggs!"
Shrimp TV allows you to be still, stare and be amazed. You should slow down and try it sometime.
Heather Myers is CPO (chief poop officer) of Pudgy Dog. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org