I have discovered the ultimate pet for people like me. It’s important to know which character flaws led to my decision. First, I am taken with shiny objects but tire of them quickly. Second, I am entirely too busy for my own good, let alone the good of another creature. Third, some days its enough that my children ate, let alone that the pet was thought of.
So Euglena are a perfect pet. They eat, but if you forget to feed them they can fend for themselves by using chlorophyll to make their own food. Unless you lock them in a dark closet, in which case they cannot access sunlight from in there.
When the water on my Euglena tank starts to look a little murky, that means all is well. Not so a fish tank, in fact the fish can drown in a slurry of their own poo if the conditions are bad enough. You have to be talented to drown a fish. But the more that the Euglena water resembles the sludge on a cow farm pond, the happier they are.
They do have their drawbacks. You cannot train them, except to get them to go towards or away from light, and I can’t bring myself to encourage any living thing to head towards the light. They don’t respond to promises of treats or rides in the car, and it is nearly impossible to curl up with them and watch a movie or take a nap. But if you’re the kind of person who appreciates the concept and illusion of responsibility that pet-ownership gives you, but don’t love the actual work involved in bending over once a day to drop congealed animal by-product in a bowl on the floor for your actual pet, Euglena might be the way to go.
Except that the last time I tried to look at my darlings, through a microscope that is, they were looking a little puny. They didn’t have their usual swamp-green healthy glow. So I took the tank outside and walked around for a while to give them a chance to recharge. Yes, I was the crazy woman in the parking lot taking her fish tank for a walk.
As ridiculous as I felt, the excursion did not inspire me to adopt a more reliant, meaningful pet. I know my flaws and I’m fine with them.