Stumbling Into the World of Exotic Animals

Who knew reptiles were so charming?

By Liv Langenberg

Opinions Editor

As I’m sure you’ve all realized by now, being a person is a lot harder than it looks. I have to pay rent, feed myself multiple times a day, go to class, go to work, shower, and “socialize” among 400 other tasks?? No wonder I have to take three different medications to help my brain function correctly.

While I am obviously aware of my never-ending list of responsibilities, I am also a normal college student who procrastinates like no other. Sure, I may have an assignment due at 5pm, but that will not stop me from surfing the Internet until 4:30. Recently, a video popped up in my YouTube recommendations from a famous Pet YouTuber. Now what is a Pet YouTuber, you may ask? I’m not entirely familiar with the qualifications, but I’m not talking about someone who makes videos about their dog. I’m talking about people with between 10 and 30 pets, most of which are ~exotic~ animals.

I’ve gotten pretty deep into these videos in the past week or so. I have no idea what the appeal is for me, considering I’m absolutely not in the market for an exotic reptile, but I can’t help myself. I sit for hours watching people show all their geckos. It’s oddly satisfying. I’m going to pretend that the reason I’m deep into Pet YouTube is because I’m trying to educate myself. Truthfully, though, I’m just in a rough pit of depression and I need some sort of weird outlet to distract myself. So… 30 minute “Feeding All My Pets” videos it is!

You’d be surprised at the audience that these Pet YouTubers have. Many of them have hundreds of thousands of subscribers, and I’ve seen some with over a million. Clearly, I’m not alone in entertaining myself with exotic animal videos. While I’ll occasionally watch an explicitly educational video about a specific species, my favorite ones to watch are feeding videos or “Meet All my Pets” videos. Why on earth would I sit and watch someone feed a bunch of animals? I don’t know exactly, but don’t judge me until you’ve tried it.

I’ve always kind of wanted a hedgehog as a pet, so perhaps this is why I’m so intrigued by these channels. Initially, I really liked watching people feed and take care of their hedgehogs because I could live vicariously through them. Now, however, I have a newfound attachment to various lizards. Did you know that blue-tongued skinks love bananas? Do you even know what a blue-tongued skink is? Google it. They’re so cute, you know, for a lizard. And boy, you don’t even want to get me started on all the various species of gecko. They just chill in their enclosures, climb around, and stick their little tongues out. I wish my life were that simple.

It’s pretty crazy to me that there are so many people out there with literal zoos in their houses. Each YouTuber I’ve watched, though, stresses that this should not be the everyday person’s goal; taking care of that many animals is a huuuuge responsibility, and should only be taken on by someone with experience who can handle it. And yes, my obsession with exotic animal content originally began as a way to take my mind off things, I have definitely learned a lot over the past few weeks. I’d wager that these channels do a lot more good than your Jake Paul/Dobre Brothers type. If people can learn how sweet and interesting exotic animals are, perhaps we’d be a lot nicer if we encountered them in real life. I know I used to be way more scared of snakes, but I see now that they’re just silly worms that don’t really want to harm you. They just want to slink under logs and mind their business.

Have some extra time between classes? Feeling dead inside and unsure how to find meaning in life? Maybe check out Pet YouTube. If you’re squeamish, maybe don’t watch videos of people feeding their animals, but definitely tune in to regular informational content. It’s so much more calming and entertaining than you might think.

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