I am mostly a dog person, though I have been known to truly enjoy the company of some cats. Dogs are great — they are always up for an adventure; they know when you need a slobbery kiss; and they literally force you to slow down and play. I have a history of keeping other pets as well. I once had a mouse named Ishtar; a rabbit named Corduroy; and I’ve had hermit crabs, a turtle, hamsters, tree frogs, and a multitude of fish. I once even kept a Venus Flytrap as a sort of “pet.” These days, the family unit includes dogs, cats, and one very large, very old albino carp that was purchased at WalMart for about 30 cents and has lived longer than ever expected and grown larger than is normal for a common household goldfish. Moby, the fish, has lived up to his name and turned into a sort of whale among goldfish. At this point, we all imagine he has a sort of personality and has been an interesting source of biology study.

I like pets, not only for the companionship, but also for the opportunity for study that they provide. But I don’t think I’ve ever had a really geeky sort of pet. Now I’m on the hunt — what is the geekiest pet possible?

In my research, I came across the Axolotl, or Mexican Walking Fish. The Axolotl is endangered in the wild, as it only occurs naturally in Lake Chalco and the now dry Lake Xochimilco, both in central Mexico. Basically, the Axolotl is critically endangered because people messed with its only natural habitat. But, the Axolotl is a common pet in the United States, Great Britain, and Japan, and is used quite frequently in scientific research. Axolotls look cool (all white and translucent with fuzzy things on their heads); they are entirely aquatic; and they feature an interesting lack of metamorphosis, as well as a natural talent for regeneration (though you should never harm one “just to see”), making them wonderful pets for study. Plus, Axolotls appear to smile, which makes them more attractive as pets.

A similar type of aquatic salamander is the Common Mudpuppy, which lives in rivers and lakes of Northeastern United States and Canada. Mudpuppies are nocturnal carnivores, making them very interesting pets for study; however, they do rank low on the cuddle factor. Being entirely aquatic, this is not a pet that you will handle much, and while their colorations are quite attractive, they do not seem to smile in the same way that Axolotls do. Still, the Common Mudpuppy seems like a geeky pet that you could spend hours watching and caring for, thus making it enjoyable to have around.

Of course, if you have a more common household pet, you can just make it geeky, as I’ve done here with my dog Georgia.

Love me, you do

So, (besides the two new special non-combat pets for World of Warcraft) tell me what kind of geeky pets have you had or would recommend? While you’re at it, check out these TR Member pet pics. If you’d like to contribute to the TechRepublic pet photo gallery, please send us your photos.