My best friend Ju gave me two African Dwarf Frogs for my birthday.
I have to admit, i suffered a temporary crisis of conscience after whiling away my first hour with them in silent awe, because i hadn’t yet figured out for myself whether keeping pets is ethical. This same moral dilemma is what moved me to let my parakeets go sometime in middle school or junior high, in the full knowledge that they would die in the “wild,” and probably within the hour. I wanted them to be free, and i felt i had no right to own them.
So do i have a right to own these frogs? I don’t know. Should they be confined to my tank? I don’t know about that either, but according to breeders, they’d be much better off in my tank than in a local river. These frogs were raised to be kept as pets, so i’d essentially be committing murder if i released them.
I understand all that, but i’m still not comfortable owning them. I don’t even know if they’re happy with me or comfortable in their tank. And i’m not okay with pet breeding, period. I don’t think humans have a right to breed animals for their own pleasure.
So i had these frogs in my hands, and i didn’t know what to do with them. I liked them. They’re adorably quirky. For a while, i cursed Ju for having given them to me in the first place. But she had given me a thoughtful (and unique!) present, and i didn’t have the heart to return them. And, i liked them.
I’m still not sure where i stand on the matter, and i can’t help but feel like a hypocrite, but for now, i’m just trying to take good care of them and give them a happy little home. When (and if) i leave for Seoul in August, i’ll have to leave a friend in charge of taking care of them for a year or two, and while i’m over there, i think i’ll read Animal Liberation (even though i really don’t like Peter Singer) to educate myself on animal ethics. Maybe that’ll help me decide what to do about this in the long run.
And with that, i’d like to introduce Bob and Dorney (Bob’s the lighter-skinned one and Dorney’s the dark-speckled one):
Sorry about the poor quality.
ADFs are nervous wimps (after all, they can easily be swallowed whole by any aquatic creature with a mouth big enough for them), so whenever they need to surface for air, they jump up for a quick gulp and dart back down as fast as they can to hide under things, even each other!
^ Bob standing upright just like me
^ Checking themselves out?
^ These guys can swim fast… In the background is a Southeast Asian wooden instrument carved in the shape of a frog. I like to fuck with animals’ heads by showing them inanimate representations of themselves. Does that make me sadistic?
^ Bob in one of his “zen” positions, sleeping. ADFs will freeze in strange positions. Sometimes they will balance on one foot with their arms and legs outstretched. This is called “burbling.”
^ The new and improved tank, with Bob cautiously peeking out from their preferred sleeping quarters, the big moon snail shell in the middle.
^ Dorney sittin’ on a leaf
^ ADFs are shy creatures that love to hide. Here, Bob is peeking out from the left moon snail shell and Dorney has his head buried under the dinner plate shell.