Pet Happiness

Gardenlover

Bedazzled Member
@gennie 's post #54 in the thread about snakes is the catalyst for starting this one, as I didn't want to derail that interesting thread.

How does an owner of a pet determine if it is truly happy? I enjoyed a 180-gallon saltwater aquarium for years. People would argue in person and in forums that for certain fish to be happy (Yellow Tangs for example) you had to have at least a 180-gallon aquarium. I always thought it a bit odd, as a 180 tank is still a drop in the bucket compared to the ocean from which fish are captured. The fish would eat and swim around but not breed (Although there have been advances in this area). There was too little data to determine if the fish's life span increased or decreased in captivity. I also had a 20 gallon freshwater tank for a pair of Siamese fighting fish, also known as bettas, which are typically kept in a very small bowl. The fish tended to stay in the same corner of the tank. Were they happy? 🤷‍♂️

With some pets like dogs and cats it's a bit easier to see if they are happy, but with many other pets I think humans tend to project a convoluted sense of happiness onto the pets in their care. Are birds, fish, snakes, spiders, and other little balls of fur as happy as their owners think they are, or would they be happier left in the wild?

What are your thoughts?
 

Gardenlover

Bedazzled Member
Original Poster
As far as fish, snakes, spiders, lizards, etc......I'm not sure that the concept of "happiness" enters into their lives. Hunger, need for warmth, urge to mate? Yes, that's elemental. If they're fed and living at the right temperature, I think that's the nearest to "happy" they can get.
Interesting :unsure:. So, if pets don't mate in captivity this might be an indicator that they are not happy? Are there different levels of cognizance in the animal kingdom? I believe there are, but have no idea where the differences begin.
 

Ruth n Jersey

Well-known Member
I don't want to derail your thread either but I was thinking about the snakes being happy. They are usually kept in a small enclosure kind of wrapped up around themselves. I was wondering if they ever want to stretch out to be more comfortable.

We kept fish also. We tried several times to keep sea horses.I'm sure they have a name other than sea horses but I can't remember. They usually died within a week.They sure weren't happy.

It seemed like the Neons enjoyed their life when swimming in a school yet when only one remained it didn't look like he missed the others. It was hard to tell.
 

Gardenlover

Bedazzled Member
Original Poster
I don't want to derail your thread either but I was thinking about the snakes being happy. They are usually kept in a small enclosure kind of wrapped up around themselves. I was wondering if they ever want to stretch out to be more comfortable.

We kept fish also. We tried several times to keep sea horses.I'm sure they have a name other than sea horses but I can't remember. They usually died within a week.They sure weren't happy.

It seemed like the Neons enjoyed their life when swimming in a school yet when only one remained it didn't look like he missed the others. It was hard to tell.
I don't know of anyone who was able to keep sea horses alive long term. I find it sad that pet stores even carry creatures that won't survive in captivity.
 
I don't want to derail your thread either but I was thinking about the snakes being happy. They are usually kept in a small enclosure kind of wrapped up around themselves. I was wondering if they ever want to stretch out to be more comfortable.

We kept fish also. We tried several times to keep sea horses.I'm sure they have a name other than sea horses but I can't remember. They usually died within a week.They sure weren't happy.

It seemed like the Neons enjoyed their life when swimming in a school yet when only one remained it didn't look like he missed the others. It was hard to tell.
We got a dozen male seahorses because my late husband took a notion to breed them. One bit the....uh....dust.....immediately. So now we had eleven. When it looked like they were thriving well, we bought them a nice healthy girlfriend. If you don't know, the lads are the ones who have to carry the eggs, but they need a lady friend to "get things jiggy".

We introduced her into the aquarium. She swished around fetchingly, with that old "helllooooo, sailor" air; she was definitely interested in doing the nasty. The boys immediately went into a panic and all eleven disappeared into the coral and refused to come out until we removed her. Twice more we introduced her with the same results. Just our luck.....eleven gay seahorses.

We put her behind a barrier in the aquarium to see if absence would make the heart grow fonder. Nope.

A couple weeks later, we took off for the weekend and left an automatic feeder going. If they were human teenagers, there would have been a keg party and somebody would have been knocked up by midnight. Instead, the tank heater malfunctioned and cooked the lot of them. Party over.

End of the seahorse endeavor forever.
 

win231

Senior Member
Location
CA
I also thought about that many years ago & decided not to get any pet that needs a cage. I also don't think birds are happy in a cage - especially large parrots whose wings have to be clipped so they can't fly.
 

Gaer

New Member
Sorry, I didn't know how to contact you Gardenlover, because I haven't got the hang of this site yet. So, I'm posting a message to you here. I thought you were a woman, sorry. But I looked up your profile and you are not only a fellow Libra, you were born on my birthday! I'm sure I'm a great deal older than you but the October birthday is the same! Isn't that awesome?
 

Gary O'

Well-known Member
Location
Oregon
Are birds, fish, snakes, spiders, and other little balls of fur as happy as their owners think they are, or would they be happier left in the wild?
As far as critters from the wild, other than an aged toothless cougar, my buddy kept,
I've only had a bit of experience with my son's wolf pup

Kept him a few weeks while my son was out to sea, fishing
Loved to nip
Not one to mind
Cute howl, though

I have had the pleasure of observing large and small beings in the wild
I do believe they're most happy in their natural habitat

Happy being penned?

Would you be?
 

Gardenlover

Bedazzled Member
Original Poster
Sorry, I didn't know how to contact you Gardenlover, because I haven't got the hang of this site yet. So, I'm posting a message to you here. I thought you were a woman, sorry. But I looked up your profile and you are not only a fellow Libra, you were born on my birthday! I'm sure I'm a great deal older than you but the October birthday is the same! Isn't that awesome?
Glad you're here @Gaer . The monkier I use is a tough one to determine which sex it may be associated, no worries. It's one reason I always put a bit about myself in the profile section. October birthdays are the best. I turned 60 last year and now I'm looking for the fountain of youth. :sneaky:
 
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