Out of the Wazoo

Caroline Phillips’ bird, Tiki, poses for a shot.

After a long and mentally exhausting day shuffling through heaps of assignments, students return to the comfort of their homes. Some students may bask in the glow of their television. Some may take delight in books. Others may embrace fur cuddles and slobbery kisses. Then, there are those who welcome the unusual.

Rather than a common house cat or a standard dog named Spot, a few select students greet peculiar animals as their pets. Freshman Caroline Phillips, sophomore Alyssa Gonzales and juniors Brady Smith and Faith Rogers enter their separate homes to caress their one-of-a-kind best friends.

Freshman Caroline Phillips owns two dogs. However, her favorite pet is her four year old cockatiel.

“[I prefer him] particularly because of his barking situation,” Phillips said. “I have two dogs, Sugar and Chewy, and I love them as well, but Tiki is really special to me.”

Phillips got her bird, Tiki, approximately three to four years ago from a cockatiel breeder. Over the years, he learned how to imitate a barking sound from her dogs.

“It is really funny,” Phillips said. “When he sees my dad pull in the car, he barks. He’s like our alert bird.”

Tiki also says, “good morning,” and “hello,” whenever anyone walks by. In his free time outside of his cage, he attempts to fly through the glass of the windows.

“He is really adorable,” Phillips said. “I love him so much.”

On the other hand, Smith and Rogers have been co-parenting a hedgehog for the past four months. The two friends have always wanted a hedgehog, so they combined their money to buy one together. They have shared custody over him and trade off every week.

“His cuddles are so cute. You can hold him and he will start snuggling [in the crook of your arm].””

— Faith Rogers

“We are broke teenagers,” Rogers said. “We [couldn’t afford a hedgehog by ourselves], and both of us are very involved in school. We wouldn’t be able to take care of it on our own.”

One of many quirks that Carl, the hedgehog, has is his loyalty to his owners. He doesn’t take too well to anybody but Rogers or Smith.

“I find it very entertaining that he only likes me in my family,” Smith said. “He gets really mad around anybody else.

After repeated requests of pictures and updates on Carl, Rogers and junior Caroline Colliver created an Instagram account for the hedgehog. His username is @sircarltonn.

“His cuddles are so cute,” Rogers said. “You can hold him and he will start snuggling [in the crook of your arm].”

Lastly, but certainly not least, Gonzales owns a ball python. After an eternity of desiring one, her father let her have one this past January.

“I love him,” Gonzales said. “He is so adorable. He is like my little baby.”

For the first four months, Jake the snake would not eat the thawed dead mice. After a trip to the pet store, she learned that this species is often particular with its food, and she now goes to the pet store every week to buy live mice.

“He’s gotten really big,” Gonzales said. “He is about two feet now, and he is supposed to get up to four to five feet.”

Ball pythons are nonvenomous constrictors that can live up to 30 years. They enjoy climbing and slithering.

“If I am sitting down, I will let him crawl all over me,” Gonzales said. “He’ll go up in my hair and get stuck and tangled. It’s so cute.”