The Care and Feeding of Pterodactyls
Meet our wonderful family predator!
Sure, everyone loves pterodactyls, they'e so cute and cuddly! You've been thinking about your very own, but, have you really thought this through?
Before you rush out and join the ranks of avid enthusiasts of this massive but gentle brute, there are a few things you should consider.
It turns out, having a pterodactyl is not as easy as it looks. Despite their appeal and uniqueness, they can be difficult to keep. Being an enthusiast myself, I will be the first to admit, it's not for everybody.
Friends aren't as likely to return your phone calls. Remember when they used to 'drop in' for a friendly barbecue? My pterodactyl has been known to fly off with a hot grill loaded with rib-eyes, and some people tend to hold a grudge.
Some are understandably intimidated by this likable carnivore. If you remember back when pet sharks first came out, many were fearful of playing with the voracious predator. That is, until people grew accustomed to them, and, suddenly everyone became advocates of their 'toothy' family pets.
It seems like yesterday, pterodactyls were thought to be extinct, going out with the dinosaurs about sixty-six million years ago. That was before they were discovered by a paleontologist on vacation in the Takuu Islands off the cost of New Guinea. Ever since then pterodactyls have soared in popularity! I've always had a fascination of dinosaurs in general so you can imagine my delight to have a pterodactyl at my house!
Being only recently re-discovered, there was not a lot of information on what to expect, which is why I decided to put together this helpful guide.
Look! There's Bob!
Bob lives next door. Things got off to a rocky start after our pterodactyl flew off with him once. Now they're close, and, Bob is enthralled with his new ferocious friend.
Bob waves back at us and smiles.
He only has half of his arm after the unfortunate incident but that was definitely a wave! Sometimes it's hard to tell if he's smiling, with all the scars on his face. A pterodactyl's talons can be sharp. But make no mistake, Bob adores our new addition.
Do your research
A word about pterodactyls: Pterodactyls are actually a type of a pterosaur, of which there are many species with distinctive sizes and shapes. Our pterodactyl, whom we call 'Ptery' for short, is medium-sized with a mere twenty-three foot wingspan, a distinctive head crest, and a large, keeled breastbone.
Although they enjoy a good life span, they have been known to unexplainedly go extinct.
Large species of pterodactyls can weigh more than 500 pounds and have up to a thirty foot wingspan. While the larger predators are very impressive, they don't make as good a pet as the medium-sized ones. And I'm not sure you can afford the insurance.
Surprisingly, a permit is not required to keep these beautiful but primitive beasts.
They can be very affectionate but have poor eyesight, sometimes mistaking small compact cars for edible prey. I have taken out a special insurance clause just for this reason. Pterodactyls are a predator, instinctively; so if pursued, it's best not to run. And, they can be very territorial. Bicyclists have learned to wear bright neon yellow when biking through my neighborhood. Believe me, getting chased by an angry pterodactyl isn't any fun.
If confronted, remain calm. Let him do a flyover before landing to approach you in an awkward, upright motion. Standing plantigrade on his hind feet, he gets close enough to sniff you.
Now is not the time to make any sudden moves!
Afterward, they turn into an overgrown 'puppy'. Congratulations! You just made a new friend!
An amusing story I often tell is, I got him to spite my mother-in-law because she said keeping carnivorous beasts was not a good idea. We still have a laugh about that, to this day.
My wife was skeptical at first but soon she fell in love with our new house guest.
You're going to need a wheelbarrow!
A good sized pterodactyl can leave a lot of droppings and, sooner or later, the neighbors will complain. One 'accident' can cover an entire car, an unfortunate pedestrian, or a small house. Light poles and power lines in our part of the town, sort of ...droop after 'Ptery' roosts on them.
If you intend to make yours' an inside house pet, you will need to install a large roll up door for easy access. Take him outside frequently for 'potty' trips until housebroken or you will certainly have a mess to clean up. A wheelbarrow and a snow shovel are a good investment.
Two birds, one stone
You've got expenses you have't considered such as their veterinary care and feeding to consider; just the other day the vet made a house call. You can just imagine what thought would cost?! However 'Ptery' as we love to call him, ate the vet, which coincidentally took care of both problems at one time.
"Bad Ptery," I scolded him -It was hard for me to scold Ptery, especially after he saved me a huge vet bill but I had to make sure he understood that devouring people is never acceptable behavior!
"Oh, you scoundrel," I fussed!
Be firm, or he may wind up eating one of the neighbors you actually like.
Be careful how you discipline one, they are bigger than an average sized person and they can be 'testy' at times. Despite being a massive carnivore, they can be very sensitive.
What the neighbors might say...
Pterodactyl are terribly noisy at evening and the morning -think of a 300 pound peacock! Be prepared for some negative feedback from those neighbors not fond of prehistoric brutes. Yet one more reason why living in the country is generally less stressful than crowded neighborhoods.
Travel is another problem you will have to deal with. Frankly, most sitters are terrified for some reason of your gentle pet. Most hotels frown on large carnivores that can leave large deposits of 'poop' behind. Trying to sneak them in after hours is difficult and often guests tend to complain about the noise.
And the maids hate to clean up after you so be prepared to leave a big tip.
On the plus side...
Keeping away pesky salesman and unwanted visitors has never been so easy.
Which reminds me, occasionally I stumble across some empty hats and personal effects, briefcases, samples, and such stashed away some place high.
I wonder whatever happened to that pesky salesman?
She's a tough old bat!
"Shoo! Go away. That's a bad birdie!"
Never mind her. That's Mrs. Grunchweld, the near-sighted neighbor that lives down the street. That's not the first time we caught her trying to chase him off with a broom. She's convinced it's an ostrich we rescued from an animal shelter but arguing with her is pointless since she's stubborn.
I'm not worried. Mrs. Grunchweld is a tough old bat and she's not scared of anything. Plus, she has her bluff in on 'Ptery'. He often cowers when he hears her 'cursing' as she hangs out clothes in the backyard.
Don't eat the neighbors!
When it comes to feeding, take my advice. Don't scrimp on food. You don't want a hungry over-sized brute roaming around the neighborhood, foraging. Table scraps will only make him mad. A healthy pterodactyl can eat it's weight in cattle in a weeks' time. Living in the country will mean you're conveniently closer to sources of natural protein but ranchers will keep an eye on you if any cattle happen to go missing.
Stay away from people food!
I mean this in more than one way, in case the money gets a little tight on the food budget.
If you want to give pterodactyl owners a bad rap, let yours eat a neighbor and pretty soon, we all look bad. The city gets nervous and starts to pass all these silly ordinances. Pretty soon, you'll be on the news every night, and believe me, that can get on your nerves.
A bad idea
The rewards far outweigh the risks and, should you make this difficult decision, you will more than likely be glad you did.
Oh, just one more tip. Forget the rectal thermometer. This is just a bad idea. They will not be happy and pterodactyls can be down-right fussy when it comes to their nether region.
It turns out, 'Ptery' didn't actually eat that salesman but he sure scared the crap out of him. Now he works at the 7-11, making 'slurpees'!
© 2020 Jim Henderson