Sauropods as Pets

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Hey, I'm waiting for you at Petsmart!
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So you're considering a pet Sauropod. Congratulations! Sauropods are ideal pets for the advanced pet owner who is looking to move on to something a little more challenging than guppies and mice.

But though there are difficulties to be overcome, the rewards are more than worth it. A pet sauropod can prove to be durable, long-lived, far more intelligent than a Japanese beetle, and really, really large.

Acquiring your sauropod[edit]

Since sauropods are generally considered to have been extinct for at least 100 million years, acquiring one presents certain challenges. There are several possible approaches you can use to evade this problem.

Buy one at PetSmart[edit]

Pop round to PetSmart and check out the stock. You never know, somebody might have cloned a sauropod recently, and it just hasn't quite made it into the papers yet, and if that's the case you'll be able to just buy one right off the shelf!

You'll save an awful lot of time if it turns out they've got them, but unfortunately it isn't likely, so let us go on to the next possible approach...

Find an intact one frozen in ice[edit]

The wrong kind of frozen dinosaur

If you can find a glacier with an intact sauropod frozen in it, you may be able to thaw it out and revive it. Perfect!

Drawbacks:

  • Nobody's found such a thing to date, so if you're going to succeed at this, you'll probably need to examine a lot of glaciers. That will be a lot of work.
  • If it's been frozen in a glacier for 100 million years, reviving it will be difficult. You should enlist the help of a good vet for this part.
  • There are no known glaciers still in existence today which also existed 100 million years ago. So, it's going to be extra hard to find one in which a sauropod could be frozen. (Maybe that fossil lake in Antarctica would be good, if you could get into it -- but they're not letting anybody at all in there yet so it might be hard.)

Catch the Starship Enterprise as it flies past on one of its frequent time travel voyages[edit]

Flag it down. Talk Captain Kirk into bringing you live a sauropod from the past.

Drawbacks:

  • Captain Kirk may think your request is frivolous, and may be unwilling to take time from his important mission (whatever it is) to look for a sauropod for you.
  • The Enterprise has never flown more than a few hundred years into the past, and it's not clear it even can go back 100 million years.
  • The Enterprise, and Captain Kirk, are both fictitious, which presents a barrier to getting them to do anything at all for you.

Clone one[edit]

In principle, this is simple. All you need to do is:

  1. Find some sauropod DNA
  2. Find a fertilized egg cell from some other species
  3. Pop the nucleus out of the egg
  4. Remove the chromosomes from the popped-out nucleus
  5. Insert the sauropod DNA in the nucleus, instead
  6. Pop the nucleus back into the egg
  7. Insert the egg in a surrogate mother, and then just sit back and relax and wait for your sauropod baby to be born.

There are some difficulties to be overcome. First, you need to find a good surrogate mother. This is harder than it seems. Since sauropods were large, there may be difficulties with the gestation and birth if the surrogate mother you choose isn't also large. And by "large" we don't mean gorilla-large or elephant-large, we mean really big, like battleship-large. A whale might make a good choice. However, whales live under water, so you should practice holding your breath in preparation for implanting the egg cell, which will also need to be done under water, and which may take significant time.

Even harder than that, however, is going to be finding some sauropod DNA. You can't just get a sample from another sauropod, since there aren't any. But don't give up; there is more than one approach one can take!

Extract DNA from a sauropod bone[edit]

You can borrow a bone from a museum (just wait in the bathroom while they're closing the museum for the night, and then come out and "borrow" the bone you want while the night guard's in another room).

Bone fragments are used in DNA testing by the cops all the time, so this should work great, right? Well, maybe. But they're generally using fresher bones.

Drawback: Fossilized bones are made of stone, not bone, and usually don't contain any DNA. So, you may need to try a lot of bones before you find a good one.

Find a fossil bone with a blood stain on it, and get DNA from the blood.[edit]

That avoids the problems with fossil bones being turned to stone, and should work like a charm.

Drawback: A blood stain fresh enough to have intact DNA may not be from the sauropod which originally owned the bone. It may turn out to be from some other animal entirely.

Find a mosquito frozen in amber which bit a sauropod.[edit]

This is how they did it in Jurassic Park, and it worked for them, so it should work for you, too, right?

Maybe, but there are some issues with this approach.

Drawbacks:

  • Mosquitoes fly, and don't spend a lot of time walking on trees. Consequently nearly all the potential mosquitoes you may find in amber actually turn out to be ants.
  • Mosquitoes mostly bite mammals, so your "sauropod DNA" is more likely to turn out to be megatherium DNA.
  • There weren't any mosquitoes when the sauropods were alive. They evolved later.

Find some other small biting insects in amber -- Chiggers? Fleas?[edit]

Good luck. I have no idea what bit sauropods, but something must have!

Order sauropod DNA on the Internet[edit]

You just write out the sequence for the genome you want, email it off, and a few weeks later your DNA arrives in a refrigerated Fedex envelope.[1]

You need to figure out the genome, but that's pretty easy. Birds are closely related to dinosaurs, so start with some good-size bird, like an ostrich. (You can find its gene sequence online.) Dinosaurs were kind of like reptiles, too, so add some reptile genes. A crocodile should do for that, or a Komodo dragon if you want to be fancy. Then throw in something to boost the size -- say, some whale genes. And then type it all in, send it off, and sit back and relax while Genentech builds your custom genome.

Drawback: The result may not be exactly like a sauropod, unless you happen to be extremely lucky.

Accept Jesus[edit]

Accept Jesus with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. Accept Him into your life! Be saved, brother!

OK, now that you've accepted Jesus, you've also realized that the world is only 6,000 years old, and sauropods were alive until about 3500 BC, when God sent the Flood to wipe out most of humanity, along with all the pterodactyls, stegosauruses, sauropods, and unicorns, and any plants which can't stand being too wet, like cacti.

Now that you have Jesus, you need just one more ingredient to obtain your sauropod DNA: A peat bog.

Dig in your peat bog until you find a sauropod which died there. When something dies and falls into a peat bog, it can be preserved for over 10,000 years -- and you now realize the sauropods lived much more recently than 10,000 years ago! So, once you find a sauropod in your peat bog, you can just haul it out, take a DNA sample, and get on with the cloning!

Drawbacks: None. Like Jesus, this plan is perfect.

Cloning too difficult? Just imagine you have a sauropod[edit]

If you don't want to spend the time and money to get a clone of a sauropod, you can use this three point plan to acquire a sauropod for free.

  1. Go mad
  2. Believe you have a pet sauropod
  3. Start seeing your pet sauropod everywhere you go

Don't worry about people thinking you're crazy. Even if they lock you up, your pet sauropod will still visit you!

Are sauropods happier in groups?[edit]

I don't know, but you'd better hope they're not. Obtaining one sauropod is hard enough; obtaining a whole group of them would be well nigh impossible. And where would you keep them? They're huge.

So, you should stick with just one for now.

Housing for your sauropod[edit]

Now that you have a baby sauropod, you need to decide where (and how) to keep it. There are a few things to keep in mind.

Just because you're big and heavy doesn't mean you can't get stuck

Do not keep your sauropod in a swamp! I know, I know, all the children's dinosaur books show these big brontosaurusy things with long necks wading around in the water, or hanging out on the bottoms of lakes sticking their heads up to breath. It's all a lie. In fact sauropods had heavy bones, and swam like rocks. If they were immersed in 10 feet of water, the water pressure on their lungs would keep them from inhaling, and they'd smother. And they were so heavy that when they walked into a swamp they got stuck.

A prairie, with dry, hard ground that can support their weight, is much better suited to them. In fact, the best land for them is the midwestern plains of the United States. Best of all, you can house them there for free. All you need to do is file the appropriate form with the United States government asking them to qualify your sauropod as a cow and you've automatically got grazing rights on all Federal land![2]

Now you may be concerned about what to do with your sauropod when it rains. How can you build a house for it that will be big enough?

You don't have to. Houses were invented long after sauropods, so it's a safe bet that they're pretty much weatherproof. Just make sure it doesn't get too cold in the winter (do not keep your sauropod in, say, the Texas panhandle, where they have that "snowed so hard that the roof caved in" kinda stuff).

Games you can play with your sauropod[edit]

There are lots of fun games you can play with a sauropod! Some are fun to play with groups of sauropods, too, so you can get together with other sauropod owners and have fun!

Dodge tail[edit]

This is where the sauropod swings its tail around, and you get out of the way real fast to avoid getting knocked off your feet.

Stamp (also called squash the humans)[edit]

This is where a group of humans bug a sauropod until it gets real mad.

This is most fun if played by a group of your friends, while you watch from a safe distance.

Soccer[edit]

You haven't lived until you've seen a full team of sauropods charging across a soccer field, kicking a ball!

You may need to invest some effort in teaching your team of sauropods the details of soccer in order for the games to be interesting. And we don't recommend that you play "humans versus sauropods", however much fun it might seem to be, since, if the humans start winning and the sauropods get upset, it can all too easily turn into a game of "stamp".

See Also[edit]



  1. Dead earnest true -- you can do this. Polio and smallpox viruses have been purchased this way. There's no reason why a dinosaur genome wouldn't work just as well.
  2. Scout's Honor -- this is how beef farmers can afford to feed all those cattle: They don't. The government feeds them, instead.