Wednesday 23 June 2010

So You Want A "Badass" Pet...

Cats? Pfft. Dogs? All right. Snakes? Now you’re just overcompensating.

Picking the right pet can be hard. You want something interesting, maybe? Something you can cuddle and stroke? Those are all perfectly viable reasons for getting a pet, sure. But what if you want something a little bit different? What if you want a Leonidas of a pet? Something that’s capable of seriously fucking something else’s shit up? What if you want...a badass pet?

Here are five potential candidates...

Disclaimer: All of the following are genuinely available to purchase as pets in the United Kingdom, and none require a licence or proof of competence to do so. If you decide that you do want to own one of these animals – that’s great - but please behave responsibly. Do your research, consider all aspects of ownership carefully, and only buy them from specialist exotic pet suppliers.

5: Tailless Whip Scorpion

The Tailless Whip Scorpion looks like what would happen if someone had jogged Giger’s arm whilst he was designing the Alien.

Technically neither a scorpion nor a spider, but rather its own order of arachnid, more often referred to as Ohmyfucking-jesuschrist-whatthefuck. The Tailless Whip Scorpion does several things that make it genuinely nightmarish. For starters, it climbs up walls, sideways like a crab. It uses those two giant claws to grab food, and stuff it – still living – into its mouth.

The thing is, though, despite looking like something that dropped out of Shub-Niggurath’s nose, the Tailless Whip Scorpion is surprisingly docile. It generally keeps itself to itself, and never attacks anything larger than, say, a cricket.

Tailless Whip Scorpions are easy to keep as pets, requiring a small vivarium (height is more important than floor area), some mild humidity and temperature control, and relatively little feeding – although their food must be live. They are generally nervous at first, but can be handled safely.

4: Praying Mantis

Praying Mantids (AKA The +1 Insect of Fuckening) are the ninjas of the insect world. Their chief weapon is surprise...surprise and fear...fear and surprise. Their two weapons are fear and surprise...and ruthless efficiency. Their three weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency...and what essentially works out as chitinous katana blades on their front legs. If a Praying Mantis was a video game character, it would be Baraka.

A Praying Mantis is a biological hunting machine. It’s capable of standing perfectly still, highly camouflaged, for hours on end. When prey comes by, it moves at the speed of lighting, trapping, stabbing, and beginning to eat its prey in one swift movement. It’s a Venus Fly-Trap on legs.

Here’s one fucking up a mouse:

If you get a hardy species – something like a Giant Asian or Dead Leaf Mantis, then they’re relatively easy to keep. They need a small vivarium, something to climb on, and regular feeding (food must be live). They can be handled without danger, but they can be careful, for their sake.

3: Assassin Bug

If the grumpy and quiet Tailless Whip Scorpion was a human, it’d be Red Forman. If the silent and deadly Praying Mantis was a human, it’d be Chuck Norris (Internet ROFL). If the Assassin Bug was a’d be Ed Gein.

An Assassin bug eats much like a spider does. It stabs its prey with its sharp proboscis, and then drains their fluids away. The Assassin Bug, however, goes one further. It has been known to cover itself in the dead skins of the animals it has killed, as camouflage. Here’s proof:

There. That’s one of nature’s most depraved predators, disguising itself under a mountain of things it has killed. Jason Voorhees has got nothing on this three centimetre long bastard.

Assassin Bugs can make pretty entertaining and educational pets, if handled with care. They’ll need only a small tank – something like a cricket tank – but they need it quiet warm, so a heat mat and thermostat is essential. They can be fed on virtually any live invertebrate, and size isn’t too important. They have been known to take down prey twice their own size. Take great care when handling, as they can spray their venom quite some distance, and have a very painful bite.

2: Cobalt Blue Tarantula

I wasn’t going to put normal stuff in this list, as everyone knows you can have tarantulas, scorpions and snakes these days....but the Cobalt Blue Tarantula deserves a special mention. Even its Wikipedia entry pretty much just states KEEP THE FUCK AWAY FROM THIS.

Here’s one of them looking fucked off.

An expert tarantula keeper commented: “One of the most aggressive, most beautiful, and high[ly] strung tarantulas in the spider world...Only recommended for advanced keepers”. Chances are if you found an exotic pet shop with one of these in stock, they wouldn’t sell it to you, anyway.

If you do get one, you’re need a terrarium with a lot of earth, because it likes to burrow, like a trap-door spider. Also, you’ll need chain-mail gloves.

1: Pacman Frog

"A frog?", you're thinking, "After dead insect wearing, foreleg katana wielding hot spider death you're giving me a fragging frog? What the hell, Harmer?". Well, most you would think that. The thing is most people forget one thing about frogs. We're so used to seeing cartoony, playful or even dopey frogs in popular media that it's easy to forget that the real-life things are actually carnivores. they are a species that has evolved as a killing machine not only on land, but in the water as well.

The Pacman Frog is not particularly attractive. Nor is it especially active. What it does do – like no other amphibian does – is layeth the smacketh down on anything you care to throw into its tank. Let’s take a look at a Pacman Frog giving a cheery “Good morning, my dear!” to its loving owner.


Pacman Frogs are basically a huge mouth, an arsehole, and a bit in the middle that looks like a frog. If you pick one of these as your pet, then you’re not only taking home an invertebrate disposal’re getting a handy-dandy vertebrate disposal system to boot. They will eat virtually anything that wriggles in front of them. Crickets, roaches, mice, worms, rats, spiders, fish and even other frogs.

Let’s see another Pacman Frog in action:

Okay, they also eat you.

If you want a Pacman Frog, you will want a smallish tank (they’re big, but don’t move around much, so about 10 gallon will do), as well as a good sizes heating mat, as they like it warm and pretty humid. Food is easily obtainable from either pet stores, your garden, or – at a pinch – I’d imagine you could use elderly relatives.

As a mercenary of Queen Elizabeth I fighting in Africa, Solomon Kane encounters a demon and realises he must seek redemption or have his soul condemned to hell. He returns to England and lives a life of peace but soon the doings of an evil sorcerer upset his plans and he must take up arms again. Based on the pulp magazine character created in 1928 by Robert E Howard.

Thanks to our friends at Entertainment In Video, we've got three copies of Solomon Kane on DVD to give away! For your chance of winning one, send us an e-mail to with your name and postal address before midday on Wednesday 30th June (UK time). The first three names drawn out of the electronic hat will win a free copy!


  1. Insane stuff!! so is there a specific country these bad-asses belong? or are they scattered across the globe, never for them to ever meet or join to make one ultimate team?

    is it me, or is my mind set to wrestle-mode atm?

  2. The Tailless Whip Scorpion, Praying Mantis and Assassin bug actually cover several different individual species, from different parts of the world.

    The Cobalt Blue Tarantula (like most totally psychotic tarantulas) is from Asia - specifically Burma and Thailand.

    All varities of Pacman Frog come from South America.