Rabbit Birds

The new addition to the habitats brought gobs of campers, all of them swarming around one single enclosure and squealing, yes, even the guys, “awwwwwww.”

About six baby bunnies had been born, and them and their mother “Waffles” were sharing a habitat with some frisky Indian Ringneck Parakeets. Most of the parakeets were friendly and would allow to stroking and feeding, while some others preferred to stay away.

The friendliest parakeets were the most troublesome. One particular parakeet liked to peck at my bracelets, the jewels on my shirt, my necklace, and on occasion, even my teeth. “The like to eat the plaque on your teeth,” I was told.

Eeeewwwww.

I preferred to play with the birds than the baby bunnies. Sure the bunnies were cute and all but they didn’t do much but sit on your lap and sleep. A lot of the times I was in the enclosure with my partner, he would sit on the ground and play with the bunnies. I liked to put birds on his head, and often times he wouldn’t notice until the bird hopped onto his shoulder.

The biggest, meanest bird in the enclosure was King Tut, an Alexandrine Ringneck Parakeet. Ok, he wasn’t really mean per say but he wouldn’t stand for petting whatsoever. He did like to be hand-fed bird treats, which look remarkably like human cereal.

The treats come in a variety of colours and shapes, and I believed King Tut’s was the yellow banana-shaped one. Louie preferred the smaller, rounder ones while Dewy liked any and all of them.

Or maybe it was the other way around.

I would have one parakeet on each shoulder and feed them treats one at a time. When I went to feed one bird the other would get annoyed and peck at my ear. When I went to feed him the other bird would pull at my hair. They were like little children with sharp beaks and small talons. I would leave the class with crunched up bird treats littering my shoulders.

I had always loved birds but I had never really considered having a pet bird until I spent a week with those annoying little parakeets. It’s a shame my school doesn’t allow pets.

Tang and Vulture

My first week in the Habitats I had tried to adopt Stevie, but there were about 3 other campers looking to adopt him too. After walking up and down the hallway several times I decided on adopting Tang and Vulture. Tang was a Green Iguana and Vulture was a Black Throated Monitor.

Vulture was a huge creature, and relatively dangerous to a kid my size. Or anyone for that matter, as a whip of his tail could shatter a full-grown man’s ankle. Me and my partner, a guy from Alabama cabin that liked to wear very neon clothing, weren’t allowed in the enclosure when Vulture was on the ground or when he was feeding.

So for three out of five days we weren’t allowed into their enclosure.

There was a counselor that was like the “expert” on Vulture and said, in the large lizard world, Vulture was “puppy-dog tame.” On the two days he was around he would pick Vulture off the ground and put him on a higher platform. Then my partner and I could change the water and get their food, but had to step outside again when Vulture fed.

While Tang ate salads, Vulture had a more carnivorous diet of canned dog food and eggs. They weren’t… Really the most exciting animals of the Habitats. We could pet them and mist them with some water but it wasn’t like we could hold them or play with them. Nonetheless they were amazing creatures and some of the largest lizards I had ever seen.

Farmers Markets

One of the underrated aspects of American culture is the farmers market. Most towns or cities have one, and most often they sell things like organic fruit, handmade soaps or clothing, and delicious  desserts. In my opinion at least, they’re all pretty good, and definitely affordable.

Most everybody these days has realized that the healthier the food is that you buy, the more expensive it is. Example #1: Whole Foods. While it’s delicious, and unquestionable healthy, it can cost up to 200 dollars for a single bag of food.

That’s ridiculous.

As a result, many people forsake healthy food and decide instead to go with the cheaper, more filled-with-preservatives option. What they don’t realize, is that they could get the organic veggies and homemade natural goods at a much cheaper price – and much fresher. Enter farmers markets.

Farmers markets generally take up a block or two, and are crammed full of different sorts of stands. Many of them sell fresh produce. Others include homemade gelato, honey, soap, clothing, and the ever-important desserts. What’s especially nice about it, besides the fact that it’s all delicious, is that it’s affordable. Prices aren’t marked up to the jaw-dropping expense you would find the same items for at Whole Foods.

For those looking for a healthy alternative, of the less expensive variety, I highly recommend you visit your weekly farmers market. You might be surprised at what your hometown locals can offer you.

The Reptile Room

The Reptile Room was warm. Very warm, and filled with slithering reptiles and crawly lizards.

“You have to stay quiet,” hushes the counselors, “you have to stay five feet away from each other while holding a reptile, and make sure you sit down onto the ground so you don’t drop them. Make sure they stay away from your neck, too.”

On a hot day the Reptile Room could be dreaded due to its warmth. On the rare cold day campers would gratefully huddle in the warmth and perhaps peek at a snake or lizard.

During the first week of camp I “adopted” the Speckled Kingsnake. Her name was Carly, and she was sort of vicious. For the first few days she was fine. For some reason, a few days in, she would begin to squirm in my hands and try to bite me, but would actually bite herself instead.

I was scared for her, I really was. I see pictures on the internet of snakes eating themselves and it genuinely scared me. I quickly put Carly back in her enclosure and worry. I would stand there and watch her watch me and just worry. She was a wild-caught, which may be the root of her frightening quirks.

That’s when I began to take Legolas out, and despite what everyone said about him, he was tame. After my trauma with Carly I would sit on the dirty ground with Legolas puffing in my hands and watch the other campers interact with their reptiles.

Most of the campers sit with their friends and choose compatible snakes. Other people, like me, choose solitary snakes and have to sit alone.

During the last week of camp I adopted a Prairie Kingsnake, named Molly. She was tamer than Carly but was still slightly twitchy. I would clean her enclosure, replace her water, then take her out and hold her for about 10 minutes before switching to either Legolas or a Leopard Gecko.

My best friend had become infatuated with Leopard Geckos, affectionally calling them Geckard Lepos, and would take out two at a time and let them sit on his chest. The room was warm and I always felt a slight worry that he would fall asleep and roll over the Geckos. He never did though.

Right next to the Reptile Room was the Small Animal Room. Whose great idea was that? And right next to the Small Animal Room was the Cat Room. Whose great idea was that?

Abortion

One of the foremost arguments of today is the issue of whether abortion is humane, and whether or not it should be legal. Protesters line the streets with signs and banners crying out that abortion is murder, it goes against the Bible, and must be made illegal. But should it really? Most women who get an abortion have good reason to do so, whether the baby was conceived in unconventional circumstances, they aren’t in a position to care for a child, or can’t financially support one. And then there’s the fact that no baby should be brought into the world unwanted.

I realize that this is an extremely sensitive subject, and rightly so. There is research saying that when a fetus is aborted, it doesn’t feel a thing. And there is research claiming the exact opposite. Surprisingly though, it’s not quite as cut and dry as some people seem to think.

There are actually three different ways an abortion can be performed. The first, which is only effective during the first nine weeks of a pregnancy, is the abortion pill. Taking it induces what resembles a miscarriage, but it is less accurate than the in-clinic abortions available. To me, though, it seems like the best option.

The other two options are in-clinic, or surgeries. The fetus is vacuumed out and the womb is cleaned, although one is used only for very late-term pregnancies.

There are so many unknown facts behind the controversial procedure. Besides the different ways of completing it, there are the different reasons for deciding to have an abortion. I don’t believe that it could be an easy decision for anyone, and that if it is an easy decision, that person would most likely not be a fit mother. There are financial considerations as well, where if the family is unable to support a child properly, they might decide to hold off until they are able to give a newborn a situation befitting its status.

Many women decide not to have their baby because of the way it was conceived. If it was an unpleasant experience she wishes to forget, she may fear that the child would constantly remind her of something she wishes to forget. In this case, she may come to resent her child, which is an attitude no mother should even risk having towards their child.

A large number of pregnant teens consider the option of abortion. Having the baby would mean giving up their own personal dreams, which is either a fact the teen cannot come to accept, or fears she will resent. There is also the major factor that they are just too young. They haven’t yet had the worldly experiences that can make a mother so great. I’m not saying that’s true for all of them, I’m just saying many of them aren’t ready.

As hard as this may be to hear, or read, I believe that these are valid reasons to have an abortion. I also believe that every woman should have the right to choose whether or not they are suited to be a mother. There are already too many families not suited to raise a child but who are doing so anyway. In my opinion, that’s a decision for each individual to determine on her own. I also firmly believe that no child should come into the world unwanted. That is absolutely something that I hold to be true. And because of that, I believe that every woman should have the right to choose, if not for herself, then for the baby’s sake.