Aloha, Animorphs!

Well if there's one thing the HARRY POTTER movies have taught us (asides from the fact that oil paintings are sentient and watching you at all times and that Robert Pattinson is sex on a broomstick), it's that no school/college dorm/frathouse is complete without an animal mascot. Phoenixes and Hippogriffs are, however, hard to come by in these days when there aren't that many virgins around to tame them (Although I hear your average MAGIC: THE GATHERING meeting has to be regularly fumigated for unicorns), so what Spokesanimal is right for you and your peeps?

Boiled down, the primary issue is of size and ferocity—the really kickass animals tend to be large apex predators, and whilst they will certainly bring your dorm instantaneous Cool points, they will start whittling down the number of people in your dorm almost immediately (of course, depending on your relationship with your house-mates, this is not necessarily a tick in the "Con" column).

Similarly, smaller animals can be cute and easier to manage, but in your average college environs it's only a matter of time before they are stepped on, flushed down, eaten or smoked.

Come take your friendly scribe's hand now, as I take you on a whirlwind tour of the animal kingdom to help you choose which critter bonds best with your curriculum.

FISH

Aquarium fish are usually easy to keep happy, inexpensive to own and fairly hard to kill (save the occasional drunken beer pong accident). The main problem with pet fish is that essentially, they are fucking boring. Your average goldfish is perfectly content to spend its entire life staring out one side of the tank, swimming to the other side of the tank and staring out, and then repeating step one. You could paint a baked potato orange and glue sparkly gold sequins to it and you'd get the same entertainment value from it as you would a goldfish.

A more exotic representative of the group seems to be called for—if your dorm has problems with a messy bathroom, I can't recommend the Human Parasitic Candiru Catfish (Vandellia cirrhosa) enough. These vicious little fuckers are attracted to the smell of urine, follow it to its source, and then bore into the urethra of their host and drink the genital blood. Keep one of these in your toilet and you will never have to worry about pee on the seat or the lid being left up ever again.

SPOTTED HYENA (Crocuta crocuta)

This is the ideal mascot for a dorm/frathouse that is known for its high percentage of stoners. Much like stoners themselves, Spotted Hyenas tend to communicate solely via a volley of ear-splitting, sustained, hysterical cackles whenever they see anything remotely intersting. Plonk a Spotted Hyena down on a sofa next to a bunch of fratboys watching an Adult Swim marathon and you'll produce a laughtrack not heard outside of a sitcom writer's wettest dreams.

The only down side is that female hyena have a functional penis, are highly dominant and very aggressive, so you maybe woken up at night by a horny alpha bitch who wants humpy-time now and will chew off your face if you try and pull the old "I have an exam first class tomorrow" excuse.

CATS

No, no, no! Whilst the idea of a Kommunal Kitteh for your dorm may seem appealing at first, keep in mind that you are liable to wake up one night in the wee hours, bleary eyed from an all-night studying/drinking/wanking session, to see a pair of unblinking yellow eyes staring at your from your pillow. A few nights of this and you will rapidly succumb to Purranoia—the unshakable fear that your cat is waiting for you to have sex, so that just when you're about to come it can leap onto your unprotected naked body with all claws extended.

RODENTS

Easy and cheap to care for, a rodent may seem like an ideal mascot—but there are problems, again mostly related to size. If you go for a traditionally-sized rodent, such as a mouse, rat, hamster or guinea pig, not only are you issuing a mighty temptation to all the Herpetology students in your building, but it's nigh guaranteed that someone will get drunk, remember that urban legend about Richard Gere, and then whoosh! Mr. Puffychops will be taking a colon-nap.

If you go for one of the larger rodents, such as a porcupine, yes the animal will be better able to protect itself against snake-fanciers or drunken prostate enthusiasts, but your dorm will no doubt be the future site of some spectacular puncture-based fatalities.

SPIDERS

These are easily housed in the aquarium you have on hand since you got bored with the fucking goldfish and flushed it, and can be fed on the armada of cockroaches your dorm is no doubt already home to. Spiders make great pets for Psychology majors wishing to do a thesis on chronic arachnophobia—suddenly all your friends are your case studies—but please go for a non-venomous species.

Universities here in Australia have learned the hard way that the world's deadliest spider, the Sydney Funnel-web (Atrax robustus), really doesn't take kindly to being spray-painted in your favourite sports team colours and made to wear eight tiny novelty "we're number one!" foam hands. And whilst keeping a Funnel-web in your dorm will certainly get you mentioned in your school paper, it's likely to be under the headline "STUDENT BITTEN BY EXOTIC AUSSIE SPIDER TOOK ONLY MINUTES TO DIE: FRIENDS REMEMBER THEM AS ‘COMPLETE TOOL.'"


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