People just don’t get it...

Herpin Man

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People think you're weird because of your fish? Try telling them that you keep reptiles and amphibians.
I get blank stares, followed by "why"? I hear about how much they love killing snakes, how icky they are, about the snapping turtles they've butchered, about the rattlesnakes that have supposedly chased them- the list goes on and on. Once in a great while, someone sincerely finds it interesting, but most of the time, I am forever branded as that weird reptile guy. That's the first thing people think of, when they think of me. And that's now- today- and the herp hobby is as mainstream as it has ever been. When I was a kid in the 60's and 70's, the herp hobby was tiny and primitive compared to now. I was considered the weird kid in school up until the eighth grade, when another herper kid moved to our school district, so I was at least able to share the "weird kid" label for the next four years. My parents were flabbergasted to learn that there was another person on this planet who was like me- into reptiles and amphibians- and he only lived two miles away!
As an adult, nearly all of my friendships have been with other herpers. I keep a low profile; coworkers, neighbors, etc. have no inkling, for the most part. To them, I am a normal person. Not that I should have to, or that I am ashamed or embarrassed or anything, but it's just easier to keep it quiet.
 

OnlyGenusCaps

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People think you're weird because of your fish? Try telling them that you keep reptiles and amphibians.
Wow, this thread has made me appreciative for something I'd never considered before - I've never been made to feel uncomfortable because I've kept amphibians, reptiles, and fish throughout much of my life. Indeed, I'd never considered it could happen. I suppose it speaks to the vastly different social contexts that exist. Although, I'll admit I have at this point selected my social environment by becoming a biologist in such a way that I think it would be highly unlikely for colleagues to think it unusual to keep a variety of animals in my home. Indeed, they are more likely to be interested.
 

Snagrio

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As someone who's always had something of a menagerie, I've grown used to it. As I type this I have a parrot, 6 chickens, a ball python and, for now, 4 and 2 snails but that will increase sometime soon. Throughout my life I've kept/lived with just about anything, from spiders to horses.

Though it doesn't matter in any particular way to begin with as I've been without real life friends or associates for years. An online circle here and there sure, but it's just not the same. I made exactly two attempts a couple years ago to branch out and meet new people, and then last year saw the basal human instinct to socialize turn taboo (if not outright illegal in some places) so, back to a lonely existence I go. Can't have people look at you weird if you never interact with any to begin with I guess...
 

Snagrio

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This is going to sound corny beyond belief, but I think I've always been drawn to quote unquote "unconventional" pets because, in a way, I can sympathize in how they are all too often misunderstood. My ball python in particular has opened my eyes to this (he's still a baby, have only had him since last September). To 99% of people, snakes are unreadable, unfeeling, and cold. But from what I've seen in videos and in sharing my life with one, they have reactions and responses just as any other animal. But because it's not obvious at a glance like a dog, cat or most other mammals, people in general treat anything else as something to be feared and/or destroyed.

In the same way, I've always felt similar in the sense that to most people, I'm unreadable, aloof, quiet. However, I've gotten far better at it as an adult. I can strike up conversation with complete strangers rather competently for example. So if you're young and think you'll never be able to break out of that awkward silence stage, give it some work and you can be more outgoing. Just takes some courage and risk-taking as with many things in life.

But even then, there will always be that side of me that the overriding majority will find weird, that side of me that prefers isolation and being reserved with new people (or people I haven't or refuse to warm up to). But, it is what it is. The best I can do is share my passion with any who are interested to listen and learn. Which can be satisfying in its own right, the feeling that, even if it's only a couple folks, you got to shine a light on the unappreciated aspects of our natural world in a way that others can walk away with in a new, positive perspective. It's a simple yet beautiful thing all of us can do to brighten our little sectors of life.
 
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HoldenOn

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I used to get bullied a lot because I have ADHD so I'm a total spaz. What I've always noticed about the people who do the bullying is that they are often confused and don't know what makes them who they are. Just do what ever makes you happy, you only get one go, you should live life to the fullest. It's ok to be different, that's what makes an interesting and enjoyable human.
 

TheTenthDoctor

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You know what I hate? When people assume they were experts on fish because they killed a goldfish in a bowl when they were 12. I hate it when people say "Oh yeah my brother knows SO MUCH about fish!!!" I always respond by saying "Oh does he now? So tell me about the nitrogen cycle...." They always reply with "Oh whats that?" And I say "Yeah you don't know a thing about fish...." I hate when people act like they know everything when I've been keeping fish for years and have barely scratched the surface of the hobby. :hatchetchase:
 

ClownLurch

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I wish I’d had my current “don’t care what others think” level in my much younger days. It gets easier but a little fact embellishment when telling people you keep fish could go a long way.

I mean Ive been keeping fish on and off since the 70s and I never knew about the conservation programme to help save the Kentucky Freshwater Fighting Shark (Lancasterius Burtus) after it’s near extinction due to being used for years in sports fighting gambling matches against Alligators from down Florida, Louisiana way.
They’d fight around the Guntersville Lake area just outside Huntsville, Alabama apparently as it’s sort of half way between and the travel wouldn’t take too much out of them both.The KFFS would win about 70% of the time according to a trove of recently discovered bookies records unearthed during demolition work in Metairie, New Orleans.
One thing I did know and most non boxing obsessives don’t is that fellow Kentuckian Muhammad Ali had refused a KFFS related nickname in his younger days because he didnt consider himself capable of living up to their fearsome reputation. He more modestly started referring to himself as the greatest. Woe betide anyone who made a disparaging KFFS related comment in his vicinity. Imagine that eh?

The work being done by those fine young fishkeeping people all over the state is a lesson to us all. No wonder the NFL, NBA and whatever the baseball people are called are engaged in multimillion dollar lawsuits over the rights to use KFFS and a cartoon of one as their latest franchise name and emblem in a few years time.
Id imagine they’ll pay big bucks to have a few swimming around in a giant tank at the stadium and even bigger bucks to the only person brave enough to swim with them and clean out their tank.Of course that person would’ve had to have raised them from being babies.
Shame we don’t know anyone who could do that eh?

Make sure you ask the listener if they’re familiar with Huntsville and New Orleans during the tale though. If they look a bit scary I’d skip the Huntsville enquiry.
 

porl66

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Have to agree you lot are ALL weirdos :-(:-( BUT I think weirdos are great. A lot of diverse opinions on the same subject BUT all correct answers in there own right. I drink, I smoke and I keep weird animals. At least it keeps me off the streets. Mind you at 54 years old I dont really want to be on the streets
 

Barry Tetra

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I started to be “I don’t know, I don’t care” type of person when I was 6, my grandparents shouts at me for “not wanna be what they wants you to be” like other asian family do, in my case they want me to be a doctor.

They started to understand that I’m going to be a vet 3 years ago, that’s when I started fishkeeping.
 

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