Predator to Pet

“A dog is a man’s best friend”… for now. This universal quote highlights the loyal bond that exists between humans and the common companion species: dogs. This relationship shares a rich history with many cuddles, walks, and serotonin. On the other side of this history dogs were used as source for labor. As history continues to develop, humans find themselves appealing to new species, ones that could challenge my initial quote.

Only seen on television we have witnessed domesticated reptiles, parrots, and monkeys. 

Figure 1. Ravi from Jessie on Disney with his pet reptile. Credit: Disney
Figure 2. Ross from friends with his pet monkey. Photograph from Justin Van Voorhis
Figure 3. Jack Sparrow entertainer with Parrorts. Photograph from Parrorts for Parties

Many viewers considered these domesticated animals to be peculiar as we never considered nor viewed it possible to have these species as household “pets”. Well it is possible. Humans have begun to develop relationships with what we once considered wild and foreign animals altering the history of “companion species”. For example, foxes who thrive in various environments, have begun to enter the home of humans. Foxes once considered wild and dangerous are now being sold at a current asking price of $8,000 in Russia(Miller, 2023). Another potential new pet that may surprise readers is a skunk. This odorous creature actually makes great for a pet as skunks odor glands can actually be removed, extracting any potential for a stick bomb. Skunks are very curious creatures making them great for homeowners looking for a small buddy to bond with (Miller, 2023). Another recent pet phenomenon is the domestication of rats. This creature is relatively easy to care for as it does not require much attention and is rather independent. These examples provide evidence that as time continues household choices for a pet have strayed away from your typical dog to more foreign species like the ones we see on our television. 

The television can be dangerous. Human’s curious and naive minds sometimes can’t help but watch Tiger King, a show that has been viewed in 64 million households, and want a pet tiger (Reilly, 2020). This thought should go no further. 

Joe Exotic music videos Tiger King
Figure 4. Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness’ is one of Netflix’s biggest 2020 hits. Credit: Netflix

As mentioned television has captivated humans’ minds on what species have the potential to be pets. Although we have seen the domestication of once-wild animals like foxes, skunks, and rats, not all animals have the potential to succeed in domestication. For example, Tigers have natural instincts, behaviors, and physical attributes that make them unsuitable for domestication. The large and immensely powerful animal poses various safety risks, social needs, and diet restrictions. Additionally, tigers are endangered in the wild so rather than focusing on domesticating the species concerns should be focused on the efforts to promote their natural population and habitats. Similar conversations can be had about the domestication of cheetahs and lions who require similar needs to tigers. Ultimately, when considering the domestication of animals into companion species, history has shown that new species can enter our homes. However, it is vital to acknowledge that not all species can be or should be domesticated, even if your television is showing something else. 


Miller, Quincy. “12 Animals That Are Becoming Domesticated as Pets (With Pictures).” 12 Animals That Are Becoming Domesticated as Pets (With Pictures) | Pet Keen Skunks As Pets: Where They’re Legal + How To Care For One (Wideopenspaces.Com)\. September 7, 2023.

Reilly, Nick. “Huge Viewing Figures for Netflix’s ‘Tiger King’ Have Been Revealed.” NME, 23 Apr. 2020, 

Furthur Reading-

Domesticated animals, explained (

Garbology to the Rescue

Drew Quinn

Garbology to The Rescue

Garbage – the odorous destination for all our tangible items in our society. What many view just as a household staple is, in reality, a significant contributor to understanding nature and our evolving society. Garbage is a hidden treasure box. The archeological study of our garbage is more formally referred to as Garbology. Garbologists study various secondary context items, like products in landfills. Their work provides insight into humankind’s activities such as waste disposal and food consumption. Why is this information so valuable?

As garbologists analyze trash various information is revealed. For example, researchers are able to examine trash and highlight our society’s inadequate job in recycling.  When garbologist discover non-biodegradable plastics and hazardous chemicals in our environment, they are enabled to encourage communities and government officials to make the proper improvements. Additionally, by studying the patterns of our waste generation, garbologists can estimate our overuse of raw materials, energy, and water. With this knowledge, human activities can alter to more sustainable practices. Furthermore, what humans choose to discard reveals much more than one would suspect. For instance, if garbologists see an alteration in the quantity of plant or animal remains discarded, researchers can infer that there has been a change in the ecosystem. Whether it is a decline or increase in these organisms remains, this information grants garbologists the opportunity to stabilize an ecosystem; essential to promoting a healthy environment. 

Figure 1. Landfill, Environmental problem, Waste. Photographed by Ray Van Eng

As our waste decomposes in these landfills greenhouse gases are emitted into the air contributing to our growing climate crisis. Due to the field of garbology, researchers are able to mitigate and help reduce our carbon footprint. For example, expert Claire Parchem shares her experience working at a startup called AMP Robotics. This company programs AI-driven robots that sort waste and recyclables. This artificial intelligence “uses computer vision to recognize patterns of specific recyclable materials within a complex waste stream of smashed, folded, and tattered objects—all combined together”(AMP Robotics 2017). Hence, total waste is reduced by a significant portion, while plastic and reusable waste is put back into circulation. Consequently, both greenhouse gas emissions and waste decomposition decrease. I argue the presence of this beneficial company came into existence thanks to the discoveries in garbology. Similar to AMP Robotics, Glacier has developed technology to improve waste management. Using a similar method Glacier utilizes cutting-edge AI to sort through human-disposed items at an affordable and accessible cost. As garbology continues to undercover humans misgiving towards the environment, powerful technology like AI robots will continue to develop and combat our climate crisis. This upcoming and innovative business sector is seeded in the efforts of garbologists.

Figure 2. AMP Robotics raises $55 million for AI that picks and sorts recyclables. Image Credit AMP Robotics.

Further research- Garbology: Diving into trash at Santa Clara University : NPR

AMP Robotics raises $55 million for AI that picks and sorts recyclables | VentureBeat

Reference list 

“Glacier: Recycling Robots to End Waste,” n.d.

AMP Robotics. “Latest News — AMP Robotics,” n.d.