Unusual roommates

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Unusual roommates

01-1 intro
Most students don’t want pets. Pets need taking care of, have to be fed just when you’re sleeping hungover on the couch. But some students do succumb. In this case to a lazy dog, a python that only eats live mice, and an elderly hedgehog.
By Lucia Grijpink / Photos by Reyer Boxem / Translation by Sarah van Steenderen

 

02-1

Pablo Escobark

Labrador

02-2

‘The house has become much cleaner since Pablo’

This black female Labrador joined the ten men living at Huize de Kromme Paal, a Vindicat house in the Schildersbuurt, two years ago. The guys took their shared car to her kennel in Langbroek and picked her to be their new housemate. They had picked a name before they’d even picked the puppy, and so the female dog has to live with the name of Pablo Escobark.

Every Sunday morning at nine, the guys showed up to puppy school. ‘And that sucked, trust me’, says Bas, one of Pablo’s owners. ‘Fortunately, she passed her course with flying colours.’ Pablo was also given her own health care insurance, with an extra clause for hip dysplasia.

The fridge door holds the walking schedule. The guys walk Pablo four times a day. The 1 o’clock afternoon shift is the longest walk. For that, they take the car to Hoogkerk to walk Pablo at the beach or through the woods. One advantage of this location is that they don’t have to pick up Pablo’s poop.

Even when it’s raining? Especially when it’s raining. ‘Pablo really loves the rain, sadly’, says Bas Anyone who forgets to walk Pablo has to buy the rest of the house a bottle of wine of at least five euros. ‘Thijs already owes us four bottles.’

Hungover

Pablo has become an integral part of the household. The living room door closes automatically, aided by a clever system using a water bottle and a rope. And no one leaves food or empty beer bottles lying around anymore. ‘The house has become much cleaner since Pablo joined us’, says Bas. ‘She always joins us for a cuddle when we’re hungover on the couch’, Max says. ‘Unless she’s feeling lazy. Then she doesn’t move, and she’s thirsty all the time.’

Their rental contract is ending soon. Huize De Kromme Paal is therefore looking for a new place to live. They have only two requirements: they want to all stay together, and Pablo has to be allowed. ‘We’re currently looking at a place that has even more rooms than this house. Maybe Pablo can have her own room’, Bas laughs.

Would you like to follow Pablo? Add her on Facebook. The guys recently remembered the password to the account, and they’ll be resuming their weekly updates on Pablo’s adventures.

3-1

Benjamin

Ball python

3-2

‘I just wanted a fat, chill snake’

Before Maud moved into the Dizkartes house she now lives in, she warned her future housemates: she was considering getting a ball python. Would that be a problem?

Most people are shocked when Maud tells them about Benjamin, her now three-month-old ball python. Her housemates didn’t really get it either, but they did allow it. On the condition that he would stay in his terrarium as much as possible.

Benjamin is hiding between the plants in his terrarium. Pythons are cold-blooded, which means the climate in his terrarium has to be tightly controlled. He has two houses in his terrarium, one on the cold side, and one on a heat mat.

Ever since Maud started working at her aunt’s pet shop, she has been fascinated with reptiles, and snakes in particular. ‘A snake is more a display animal rather than a pet you can cuddle. I enjoy keeping the ecosystem under control, and the whole set up is aesthetically pleasing as well.’

Benjamin doesn’t look much like other ball pythons. He has certain genetic mutations which means he is completely white. ‘Another option was to get a corn snake, but they’re thinner and more aggressive. I just wanted a fat, chill snake.’ Right now, Benjamin is still small, but in a year he will measure five feet in length. Snakes can live for up to twenty-five years, a fact of which Maud is all too aware. ‘Twenty-five years is a commitment, but I feel he should die with me.’

Warm stick

Benjamin is not dangerous, and he’ll never become dangerous either. ‘This species isn’t large or strong enough to strangle a person. Besides, snakes only strangle for food. He knows he’ll never be able to eat me, so he’s not interested.’

Snakes don’t have that part of their brains that creates emotions. This means they don’t show affection or fear. ‘He does recognise my smell, which means he’s a bit calmer around me. But I think he sees me more as a warm stick that feeds him than his owner.’

One housemate had trouble not so much with the snake, but with the mice that Benjamin eats. Once a week, Maud bikes to Paddepoel with a plastic container to get a single mouse for €1.50. ‘I’d really like to get him started on frozen mice.’ But it’s not that easy. Benjamin first has to make the change from live mice to pre-kill mice. This involves Maud killing the mice herself and then feeding them to Ben.

Maud’s housemates have been won over. They see how much Maud enjoys playing with Benjamin and taking care of her own little ecosystem. A friend said to her: ‘I had my doubts, but now that I’ve seen him, I get it, Maud. He’s really very cute.’

4-1

Luna, Watson, and Crick

An African pygmy hedgehog and two cats

4-2

‘Luna is five years old, so she’s an elderly hedgehog’

On the twelfth floor in Paddepoel lives Joppe with his two cats, Watson and Crick, and his hedgehog, Luna. The corner of the living room houses a large plastic container with a hamster wheel. Luna is in a corner, rolled up like a spiky ball. ‘I think she’s still asleep, but we can wrap her in a blanket and hold her. That will wake her up.’

Joppe used to live at the University College campus, which didn’t allow pets. Two years ago, he moved to this apartment, which is owned by his parents. Joppe didn’t feel like living all by himself in the large apartment and went looking for the perfect roommate.

‘Hedgehogs have all the characteristics that suit me. They are solitary animals that like quiet and warmth, which means they’re great to just hold in your lap. They’re also nocturnal. This is ideal, because it means they wake up when I get home from the faculty in the evening.’

Luna eats special hedgehog food, which mainly consists of nuts, cat food, and dried shrimp, but her absolute favourite are dried mealworms. She is ‘fairly house-trained’ and often poops or pees on the newspaper in her den. The only drawback to an omnivorous pet is that her faeces smell a bit more than those of a rodent.

Cuddly

In the meantime, Luna has woken up, poking her head out of her blanket. Her spines face towards the back, which make her a lot more cuddly. She waddles across Joppe’s lap. ‘Luna is five years old, which means she’s an elderly hedgehog. The waddle is probably due to wobbly hedgehog syndrome, which is what they get when they get older.’

While he enjoyed cuddling with Luna on the couch, Joppe was looking for something a little more lively, so he decided to get a cat. The owners of the litter he found were eager to have them adopted, and before he knew it he had two eight-week-old kittens. He named them after the people who discovered DNA, James Watson and Francis Crick.

The kittens were fairly startled to find out who they were sharing their living room with. What was that walking pin cushion on the rug? They tried hitting it, but quickly found out that this didn’t do much, and that it didn’t feel great either. The three animals having been living in harmony in Joppe’s apartment ever since.

mobile versie
Most students don’t want pets. Pets need taking care of, have to be fed just when you’re sleeping hungover on the couch. But some students do succumb. In this case to a lazy dog, a python that only eats live mice, and an elderly hedgehog.
By Lucia Grijpink / Photos by Reyer Boxem / Translation by Sarah van Steenderen

This is a simple version optimized for mobile view. The desktop version contains rich content.

Pablo Escobark – Labrador

‘The house has become much cleaner since Pablo’

This black female Labrador joined the ten men living at Huize de Kromme Paal, a Vindicat house in the Schildersbuurt, two years ago. The guys took their shared car to her kennel in Langbroek and picked her to be their new housemate. They had picked a name before they’d even picked the puppy, and so the female dog has to live with the name of Pablo Escobark.

Every Sunday morning at nine, the guys showed up to puppy school. ‘And that sucked, trust me’, says Bas, one of Pablo’s owners. ‘Fortunately, she passed her course with flying colours.’ Pablo was also given her own health care insurance, with an extra clause for hip dysplasia.

The fridge door holds the walking schedule. The guys walk Pablo four times a day. The 1 o’clock afternoon shift is the longest walk. For that, they take the car to Hoogkerk to walk Pablo at the beach or through the woods. One advantage of this location is that they don’t have to pick up Pablo’s poop.

Even when it’s raining? Especially when it’s raining. ‘Pablo really loves the rain, sadly’, says Bas Anyone who forgets to walk Pablo has to buy the rest of the house a bottle of wine of at least five euros. ‘Thijs already owes us four bottles.’

Hungover

Pablo has become an integral part of the household. The living room door closes automatically, aided by a clever system using a water bottle and a rope. And no one leaves food or empty beer bottles lying around anymore. ‘The house has become much cleaner since Pablo joined us’, says Bas. ‘She always joins us for a cuddle when we’re hungover on the couch’, Max says. ‘Unless she’s feeling lazy. Then she doesn’t move, and she’s thirsty all the time.’

Their rental contract is ending soon. Huize De Kromme Paal is therefore looking for a new place to live. They have only two requirements: they want to all stay together, and Pablo has to be allowed. ‘We’re currently looking at a place that has even more rooms than this house. Maybe Pablo can have her own room’, Bas laughs.

Would you like to follow Pablo? Add her on Facebook. The guys recently remembered the password to the account, and they’ll be resuming their weekly updates on Pablo’s adventures.

Benjamin – Ball python

‘I just wanted a fat, chill snake’

Before Maud moved into the Dizkartes house she now lives in, she warned her future housemates: she was considering getting a ball python. Would that be a problem?

Most people are shocked when Maud tells them about Benjamin, her now three-month-old ball python. Her housemates didn’t really get it either, but they did allow it. On the condition that he would stay in his terrarium as much as possible.

Benjamin is hiding between the plants in his terrarium. Pythons are cold-blooded, which means the climate in his terrarium has to be tightly controlled. He has two houses in his terrarium, one on the cold side, and one on a heat mat.

Ever since Maud started working at her aunt’s pet shop, she has been fascinated with reptiles, and snakes in particular. ‘A snake is more a display animal rather than a pet you can cuddle. I enjoy keeping the ecosystem under control, and the whole set up is aesthetically pleasing as well.’

Benjamin doesn’t look much like other ball pythons. He has certain genetic mutations which means he is completely white. ‘Another option was to get a corn snake, but they’re thinner and more aggressive. I just wanted a fat, chill snake.’ Right now, Benjamin is still small, but in a year he will measure five feet in length. Snakes can live for up to twenty-five years, a fact of which Maud is all too aware. ‘Twenty-five years is a commitment, but I feel he should die with me.’

Warm stick

Benjamin is not dangerous, and he’ll never become dangerous either. ‘This species isn’t large or strong enough to strangle a person. Besides, snakes only strangle for food. He knows he’ll never be able to eat me, so he’s not interested.’

Snakes don’t have that part of their brains that creates emotions. This means they don’t show affection or fear. ‘He does recognise my smell, which means he’s a bit calmer around me. But I think he sees me more as a warm stick that feeds him than his owner.’

One housemate had trouble not so much with the snake, but with the mice that Benjamin eats. Once a week, Maud bikes to Paddepoel with a plastic container to get a single mouse for €1.50. ‘I’d really like to get him started on frozen mice.’ But it’s not that easy. Benjamin first has to make the change from live mice to pre-kill mice. This involves Maud killing the mice herself and then feeding them to Ben.

Maud’s housemates have been won over. They see how much Maud enjoys playing with Benjamin and taking care of her own little ecosystem. A friend said to her: ‘I had my doubts, but now that I’ve seen him, I get it, Maud. He’s really very cute.’

Luna, Watson, and Crick – An African pygmy hedgehog and two cats

‘Luna is five years old, so she’s an elderly hedgehog’

On the twelfth floor in Paddepoel lives Joppe with his two cats, Watson and Crick, and his hedgehog, Luna. The corner of the living room houses a large plastic container with a hamster wheel. Luna is in a corner, rolled up like a spiky ball. ‘I think she’s still asleep, but we can wrap her in a blanket and hold her. That will wake her up.’

Joppe used to live at the University College campus, which didn’t allow pets. Two years ago, he moved to this apartment, which is owned by his parents. Joppe didn’t feel like living all by himself in the large apartment and went looking for the perfect roommate.

‘Hedgehogs have all the characteristics that suit me. They are solitary animals that like quiet and warmth, which means they’re great to just hold in your lap. They’re also nocturnal. This is ideal, because it means they wake up when I get home from the faculty in the evening.’

Luna eats special hedgehog food, which mainly consists of nuts, cat food, and dried shrimp, but her absolute favourite are dried mealworms. She is ‘fairly house-trained’ and often poops or pees on the newspaper in her den. The only drawback to an omnivorous pet is that her faeces smell a bit more than those of a rodent.

Cuddly

In the meantime, Luna has woken up, poking her head out of her blanket. Her spines face towards the back, which make her a lot more cuddly. She waddles across Joppe’s lap. ‘Luna is five years old, which means she’s an elderly hedgehog. The waddle is probably due to wobbly hedgehog syndrome, which is what they get when they get older.’

While he enjoyed cuddling with Luna on the couch, Joppe was looking for something a little more lively, so he decided to get a cat. The owners of the litter he found were eager to have them adopted, and before he knew it he had two eight-week-old kittens. He named them after the people who discovered DNA, James Watson and Francis Crick.

The kittens were fairly startled to find out who they were sharing their living room with. What was that walking pin cushion on the rug? They tried hitting it, but quickly found out that this didn’t do much, and that it didn’t feel great either. The three animals having been living in harmony in Joppe’s apartment ever since.

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