Leasing tigers not a good idea

Published 10:33 pm Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Don’t get me wrong. I like pets as much as the next person.

In my life, I’ve shared a home with dogs, cats, hermit crabs, hamsters, gerbils, fish and, once, due to a science project of my brother’s, a mouse.

I’ve never had the desire, however, to own anything more exotic.

I know some people think it’s great to own a giant snake or a spitting African lizard or something of the sort, but I’ve never understood the attraction.

It seems rather foolish to own a pet that, if it wanted to, could kill you.

With that in mind, let me introduce you to a plan by the Indonesian government to allow you to rent a pair of tigers.

Yes, that’s right, tigers.

Here’s the deal: For a deposit of only $107,000 in US dollars (a billion rupiahs, the Indonesian currency) you can rent two Sumatran tigers, an endangered species with only about 400 remaining in their native Indonesia.

You have to live in Indonesia in order to rent the tigers and you have to allow quarterly visits from animal officials, but as long as you’re paying, you’re the proud owner of the tigers.

The idea, according to Indonesia officials, is to save the endangered tigers.

“There are many orders from rich people who want them, who feel if they own a tiger they are a big shot,” an Indonesian official said.

A big shot? I’m not so sure about that.

Sure, it would be cool to show off your tigers when people drop by for a visit.

And yes, it would make for interesting show and tell at your kids’ elementary school.

However, I bet tigers eat a lot, and something tells me they’re not munching on corn and wheat.

Tigers are going to want meat and, if you don’t provide enough, I doubt they are very discriminating as to if that meat is you, the family pet or the mailman.

Tigers are big.The Indonesian government is requiring tiger renters to provide large cages, but that’s got to get in the way if your, say, wanting to hold a backyard picnic or cut the grass.

There’s an old saying about some people having more money than sense.

I think the rent a tiger plan is proof that this is more than just a saying, it’s a reality.

But, if you are willing to pay $100,000-something dollars to rent a tiger, let me make you this offer.

I have an eight-pound Chinese crested hairless powder puff/ poodle mix that lies around all day, doesn’t eat a lot and runs from the lawn mower when it’s in operation.

He can be rented for about $1,000 a day and that’s a lot cheaper than a tiger. And a Choodle has never eaten anyone.