Whenever you ask people “What kind of pet do you raise?” most answer a dog or cat. But there are some people who raise rare pets such as snakes, lizards, snails, and even crocodiles. The Dankook Herald (DKH) interviewed Choi Hyun-joon (21, Animal Resource Science) who’s raising rare pets while running a Facebook page and Naver blog about his experiences. He raises so many rare pets; including 100 shrimp, 150 axolotls, 7 Crested Gecko lizards, 1 beardy dragon, 4 leopard Gecko lizards, and 2 spiders. The Dankook Herald interviewed Choi about his unusual hobby.
|▲ Our interviewee Choi Hyun-joon (21, Animal Resource Science)|
Q. Why did you decide to keep rare animals?
A. I have loved animals since I was a child, but I didn’t have any opportunities to come into contact with any rare animals. One day, one of my acquaintances gave me some snails. They reproduce very well, so the total number of snails I kept grew to almost 2000. I sold and exchange snails for stag beetles and rhinoceros beetles. At that time, I had hundreds of beetles. And then I started to keep axolotl. Axolotls are a kind of lizard and they are my favorite nowadays.
Q. When and why did you start running the Facebook page and the blog?
A. When I was 15, I started a blog called ‘Hankilchan’s Small Farm’ to keep daily records for raising snails. And in the case of the Facebook page ‘Raising Rare ‘Pets: How far have you gone?’ I started it basically because I didn’t want to study. But now I’m running the page to popularize the raising of rare pets and to change mindset of people towards this unusual hobby. Now, about 80,000 people are subscribing my page.
Q. What are the advantages of running the blog and page?
A. Basically I think I’m learning something new every time and I can teach someone else who doesn’t know much about raising rare pets. Also when something happens in relation to rare pets, many people come to me seeking advice and help. From running the page, I helped so many people without even realizing it.
I also got a part time job, from parceling out my axolotl. Through these online discussions, I got to know the boss of the pet shop ‘Minizoo’ in Osan and was hired.
Q. Are there any problems that stem from managing your SNS or raising pets?
A. First of all, the difficulty of managing SNS comes from negative comments I receive and swear words. When I upload videos about feeding snakes using live prey, many people criticize them. Actually, it is better to feed live prey to snakes than frozen feed. However, most people can’t understand the practice and hurl abuse at me. It makes me feel flat.
One problem that is often faced by people raising rare animals comes from hot weather like we experience during our summers. For instance, because of the hot temperatures we experience, shrimps die easily.
Q. Could you recommend specific animals for pets to Dankookians? And what is the charm of those animals?
I suggest keeping an axolotl. Even though they sometimes bite me, they have lots of attractive benefits. You can buy an axolotl for a lot less than other rare animals. They are similar to snakes, because they are long. Personally, I hope to keep a Fennec Fox in the future. They are really cute, so I am pretty sure I will fall in love with them.
|▲ This is a Facebook page he owns.|
Among household pets, the most popular ones are dogs and cats. They are often charming and usually do cute things. It is good to have a dog or a cat, because they have lots of charm. However, if you have a rare animal, there are also many good points. Firstly, you can be unique, because you have an uncommon pet. Secondly, rare animals have unexpected charms that are often concealed by their appearance. They could have a milder character than other animals despite their sometimes intimidating looks.
Even if they behave haughty and picky, this can be another charm which makes you fall in love with them. Furthermore, you can gain new knowledge while keeping rare animals. These are opportunities that help you mature because you are sometimes faced with difficult situations that you need to overcome by yourself. If you have a plan to keep a new or even an additional pet, why don’t you keep a rare animal like Choi Hyun-joon does? Who knows who the next Facebook star will be? This may be your opportunity to shine.
이다혜, 이상현 firstname.lastname@example.org