The Weirdest Animals We Called Pets In The Early Aughts

Did you ever have one of these?

Pets are so cool! They can be stupid and good at playing fetch, they can be smart and adept at using the litter box — they can even just be pretty to look at. Getting a pet is not unlike taking a trip to Pinkberry: I’ll take one medium-sized chocolate lab, add a few scoops of laziness and loyalty, top with a sprinkle of orneriness! And while you sometimes cash in with a bomb mango yogurt with mochi and granola, you sometimes end up with a cup of green tea-strawberry-butterscotch with marshmallow goo and gummy bears, which you will eat, but it will taste weird!

We as a society have tried quite a few of those weird ones. Below, a few notable “pets,” because nothing says BO-ring like a friendly golden retriever.

Hermit crabs

Photo: Roberto Verzo/Flickr.

In the hierarchy of coolest crabs to have, these are probably number one, except for the fact that they smell extremely bad, especially when they die, which will probably happen mere months after buying them. However, they get a point for having a cool shell that you can adorn with fingernail polish.

Goldfish with those crazy bubble cheeks

Photo: Angela Torres/Flickr.

Nothing like taking a vanilla pet and adding on big balloon cheeks. These are actually known as bubble eye goldfish, which would be a more fitting name for Telescope Eye goldfish.

Inanimate objects that you drew faces on

Photo: Ian Munroe/Flickr.

A pet rock is a pet for life. In fact, this guy will live longer than you!

Sea Monkeys

Photo: djmapleferryman/Flickr.

Bet your ten-year-old self never would’ve anticipated that your plastic container of specially engineered brine shrimp was so entangled in legal issues involving a bondage film actress and capitalist America, unless you were an especially with-it preteen.


Photo: Corey Taratuta/Flickr

The adult version of sea monkeys. These were pretty enough for mom to put on the mantle.


Photo: Melissa Wolff/Wikimedia Commons

If you owned a chinchilla, please apologize to your mom right now because she’s probably still taking care of this boneless creature that can live for 20 years.

Guinea pigs, especially the ones with weird hair

Photo: Tavu/Wikimedia Commons

We domesticated an animal that was traditionally (and still is!) a food source in South America.

Hairless Cats

Photo: dehofman/Pixabay

Mr. Bigglesworth made being hairless cool 😉


I liked my Kacheek and Usul to live life as I do — starving 50% of the time, bloated the other 50%.

Amanda Arnold is a writer based in Brooklyn. She writes a weekly column about women in food for SAVEUR and will take any opportunity she gets to tell you about that one time she went to Oaxaca. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @aMandolinz.