The following text is from a pamphlet which was seen drifting down from a clear sky one Sunday afternoon. It's not known what sort of creature might have dropped it, but it was apparently something which lives in the sky.
CONGRATULATIONS on your new Human!
Humans make the very best pets! They're more affectionate than pythons, they're easier to litter train than guinea pigs, they take up less space than elephants, and they don't need a fancy salt water filtration system on their tank the way dolphins do. Furthermore, unlike trees, they're mobile, so you can easily take them with you when you move.
There are a few things you should know in order to get the most out of your Human, and that's what this Guide is for. It contains everything you need to know to get off to a good start!
- 1 Shelter or Breeder?
- 2 How Many? They're Happier in Groups
- 3 Spay and Neuter
- 4 Human Breeds
- 5 Clothing
- 6 Housing your Humans
- 7 Entertainment and Toys
- 8 Showing your Humans
- 9 Bonding with your Humans
- 10 Training
- 11 Breeding Humans
- 12 Illness
- 13 See also
Shelter or Breeder?
If you haven't yet acquired your Human, or if you're thinking you might want a few more, then you should give some thought to what sort of Human would best fill your needs.
If you require a purebred Human, or you want to be sure you get a young, fresh Human, then you may need to go to a Human breeder. However, if you're willing to accept a Human whose breed is uncertain, and, in particular, if you're willing to accept a slightly older Human, then consider going to a shelter. Humans from abandonment shelters are a great deal cheaper than Humans from breeders, and they often make very affectionate pets, as their gratitude at being rescued from the shelter will turn into love towards their new owner. Furthermore, our shelters are very overcrowded, and adopting a Human from a shelter assures there will be another place for the next stray Human which is brought in, which might otherwise have been euthanized.
How Many? They're Happier in Groups
So perhaps you're thinking of getting your first Human, or perhaps you already have one Human. You should know that Humans are social animals, and are far happier in a group. When kept alone, they may become depressed. They will also typically sleep more when kept alone, and may not be seen for entire days at a time. They may become fat and lethargic. Consequently, Humans are not just happier in a a group; they're also more interesting pets. Since they have fewer problems, you may find it's actually easier to keep a group of Humans than to keep just one!
Spay and Neuter
Particularly if you keep a group of humans, it's very important that you spay and neuter. If you keep a group of Humans, and you don't spay and neuter, and you don't pay close attention, in a millennium or two you may find you have more Humans than you know what to do with. Remember, adopting out excess Humans is difficult, and if you run short on space, you may be faced with the difficult task of euthanizing some to reduce the population, and nobody likes doing that.
You may have heard that if you spay and neuter your Humans you won't be able to show them, but that's not true. The "Premier" class in HBA shows is just for spayed and neutered Humans, and there are more Premier entries every year as more hobbyists come to understand the importance of avoiding excess Humans.
There were 11 breeds of Human recognized by the HBA when this guide went to press. However, new breeds are being developed all the time, so there may be more on the market by the time you read this.
The primary differences between breeds are coat color, coat texture, skin color, and size. There are some secondary differences, but in general only experts can identify variance in traits other than the four previously mentioned.
Some peculiarities of the coat deserve special mention when discussing Humans. Unlike nearly all other mammals, the Human coat is extremely sparse except on the head and at the points where the four limbs join the body, where there are sometimes tufts of thicker hair. In some breeds, while the hair on most of the body is almost nonexistent, the hair on the head grows seemingly without stopping, and must be trimmed or bound up to keep it from interfering with the Human's ability to move around easily and even feed itself effectively. This is highly impractical, and can be very uncomfortable for the Human if it isn't groomed regularly. It is another example of the tendency of some breeders to ignore the good of the species when they're breeding for a particular "look".
The colors of the coat are somewhat more limited than is usual with most mammals kept as pets. All the usual variants on brown and black occur, ranging from light, almost white, coats, through yellow throu tan and light brown to dark brown to black. Light brown coats can vary in hue, from an opaque yellow brown to a light orange-brown, referred to as "carrot" by most breeders.
However, some color patterns we've grown to expect in domestic mammals are still missing from Humans. There are no agouti Humans at this time, and since the gene is not currently in the human genome, ordinary breeding can't create an agouti Human. However, as we go to press, several breeders are attempting to add a mouse or rat agouti gene to the genome, so by the time you read this, there may be new Human colors to choose from!
There are also no spotted or striped Humans, and since these are polygenetic traits it's less apparent how this could be remedied without producing unwanted variations in unrelated characteristics. The HBA has said they would be very reluctant to recognize such a breed, on the grounds that it might encourage other breeders to do likewise.
Skin color is also available in a number of shades, though since melanin is the only dye naturally present in human skin, all shades of skin color currently on the market are variants on brown. Furthermore, skin color and coat color are currently linked. Though light skinned breeds can be found with a full range of coat colors, the darker skinned breeds currently all have dark coats. A number of breeders are working to split the genes for the two traits.
A number of coat textures are available as well, though once again the traits are linked, with darker skin color generally being associated with the "rex" coat pattern.
With very thin fur on most of their skin, Humans have difficulty withstanding temperature variations of more than a few degrees, and can also suffer badly if exposed to too excessive light, which results in a red, inflamed skin condition called sunburn. These problems can be mitigated by allowing them to wear "clothing".
Clothing is lengths of material wrapped around the Human's body. You don't need to wrap them; if you provide them with suitable strips of cloth they'll wrap themselves. However, this behavior is not instinctive. They learn it from each other. Consequently, if you're starting with just one Human or a few young ones, you may need to show them how to wrap themselves when conditions become uncomfortable.
Housing your Humans
Humans require secure housing, both to protect them from external conditions and predators, and to keep them from wandering away. Furthermore, it's important that their housing be made escape proof, as they are among the cleverest of the animals we keep as pets. They are even better at getting out of cages than raccoons.
Though the physical needs of a Human can be met in a very small space, it will rapidly become bored unless it's given sufficient room to move around and interesting things to explore. In this way Humans are not unlike cats, raccoons, and some of the other animals commonly kept as pets. Taking your Humans out and playing with them from time to time can help to keep them (as well as you) entertained. This is particularly important if you only have one Human.
If you can afford it, and you have a substantial collection of Humans, you may want to provide them with a cage-free habitat. This can be done by housing them on a planet, which is a spherical object with centrally directed gravity. Since the surface of a sphere has no boundaries, there's no concern with the Humans somehow wandering off and escaping because they can't.
Note, however, that even if you can provide your Humans with a planet of their own, it's still very important to spay and neuter; otherwise, within a few millenia you'll find they've outgrown their space, and you'll need to acquire a second planet to house them all. That kind of thing rapidly becomes very expensive.
Entertainment and Toys
Humans are among the more intelligent domestic animals. Like cats, dogs, and raccoons, they become bored easily, and they need daily entertainment and mental stimulation. It would be ideal if you could spend some time playing with them every day. However, most of us have limited time to spend on our hobbies and pets. Your Humans will be happier if you provide them with toys to keep them occupied when you're not there.
A television, along with a good collection of recordings you can "broadcast" to them, will help a great deal. It's particularly important to make the material their television "receives" seem as much like real-time broadcasts as possible. As we mentioned earlier, Humans are social animals, and anything you can do to give them the impression that there are lots of other Humans around them will make them feel and act happier.
You can acquire a television at any good pet shop, where you'll also find an array of other toys your Humans may appreciate. You may want to add something new to their environment every now and again rather than just bringing them a pile of toys all in one go. You may find that progressively increasing the sophistication of the toys you give them over time provides amusement for both you and your Human. Like cats and ferrets, they'll become bored with anything that's left in their "house" for a very long time, and they'll always appreciate it when you bring them something new.
Showing your Humans
There is nothing like an HBA Human show!
A show is a fun and exciting place to meet others who share your interest in Humans, whether or not you win anything. It's also a great place to see the best stock of our top breeders showcased, along with the newest breeds of Human. Of course, it's even better if some of your Humans win ribbons, and with experience, you may someday aspire to win a Best in Breed, or even, someday, win Best in Show! The carved diamond Best in Show trophy cup is stunning, and deserves a place of honor in your home, where it will impress your friends for millennia to come. It's also durable enough so you can let your Humans play in it, and so share in the fun of having won!
The first step on the road to BIS is to enter your Humans in a show, and the first step to that is to prepare them. They will be judged on several characteristics.
- Trueness to breed -- Most categories allow only purebreds. The qualities which are important vary somewhat from breed to breed, but always include skin color, coat color, and size. You should keep in mind that when considering the size of your Humans, the judges will be comparing them against the breed standard. Consequently, bigger isn't necessarily better; it all depends on the breed.
- Grooming -- Is the coat clean and combed? Is it free from excess oil? Is the skin clean and gleaming? (No artificial oiling is allowed at HBA shows -- the skin must have a natural gloss!)
- Fitness -- Is the musculature well defined and uniform, without excess fat?
- Alertness -- Does your Human seem lively and interested in its surroundings, or is it torpid, interested only in sleeping? It'll gain points for curious examination of the judges; it'll lose points if it just lies unresponsively in the corner of the show cage.
- Behavior and Tameness -- Does your Human cooperate with the judge? It'll lose points for struggling. Remember, the judge will need to remove the Human's clothing to check musculature; if it resists, it'll lose points. And if it bites the judge, it'll be disqualified, which would be a disappointing outcome for all the work you've put in to get it ready for the show!
To assure that your Humans are in the best possible condition, you'll want to remove their supply of potato chips and you may want to remove their television a few weeks before the show. Cutting back on their food a bit, or even withholding food completely for one day each week, may make them more active, which will in turn improve their fitness. You should also be sure to take them to the vet for a checkup a couple of months before the show. Besides finding problems you might not have noticed (like lice or worms, which can get your Humans disqualified), your vet may have additional suggestions for bringing out your Humans' full potential at the show.
Bonding with your Humans
Humans have been bred to be easy for you to bond with. They have an innate desire to find and worship a superior (non-Human) being. If you appear to them as such a superior being, something above or beyond their understanding of the world, they will naturally do all they can to please you.
The main thing you need to do in order to effectively bond with your Humans is learn their language. Humans typically communicate using vocalizations. The sound patterns used are not instinctive, however, so you'll need to spend some time observing your Humans to find out what patterns your particular group uses. You should then use the same vocalizations when you interact with them. In general, their languages are sufficiently simple that learning to use one well enough to communicate with them about basic physical things takes minimal time.
While the vocalizations used are not instinctive, the desire and ability to produce them is instinctive. Consequently, if you have multiple humans, over time they will develop their own language, whether or not they are ever exposed to other Humans; there is no need for you to teach them to "talk". On the other hand, if you have just one Human, you may need to spend substantial time vocalizing with your Human in order for it to learn to communicate with you. This is another reason why owning a group of Humans may be easier than owning a single Human.
If you want to take your Humans out of their "house" without restraints, you'll need to train them. If you vocalize with them regularly, this will be easy, because they'll naturally want to do anything they can to please you.
If you've bonded closely with them, "training" will consist of nothing more than making it clear to them what you expect of them. On the other hand, if you don't have their full respect, or they don't know you well, you may find you need to institute a formal training program, with rewards and punishments for doing what you say or infracting the rules you set up. If you find this is necessary, you should read our Guide to Training Humans, which covers the topic in detail.
Breeding Humans is not something you should attempt until you have a some experience as a Human keeper.
Breeding Humans can be an exciting, entertaining, and engaging pastime. Trying new crosses, and creating your own line of unique Humans, can be a challenging and rewarding hobby. However, since there are already more Humans than there are homes for them, you should think seriously about whether you'll be able to find buyers for all your little Humans before you set out on any but the most limited breeding program.
In principle, all you need for a breeding program are a male and a female Human. They'll generally take it from there. However, to ensure the best possible results, you'll want to be sure that their housing is adequate, you'll want to provide additional (and somewhat special) food for them while the new Humans are young, and, most important, you'll need to be sure you really do have a male and female. You can't always tell by their behavior, since Humans are willing to form same-sex bonds or even interspecies bonds, and in such cases they may also exhibit what appears to the non-expert to be mating behavior, but no offspring will be produced. So you need to start by sexing your Humans. Though Humans seem to have no trouble telling their sexes apart, it can be difficult for a new Human breeder to be sure without consulting an expert. (Humans may use smell to tell male from female. Since they have fairly sharp vision, they may also be using subtle visual cues which the amateur Human breeder would find it difficult to spot.)
One of the most exciting aspects to breeding Humans is hybridizing them with other species, with the possibility that you may create something entirely new. Though Humans are remarkably flexible in the array of creatures they'll voluntarily mate with, you may find it helpful to learn something about Human genetics in order to maximize the chances of a successful cross. And if you do succeed, you'll get to name the new species!
It's also important to remember that in the case of crosses between species of very different sizes, it's important that the female be the larger member of the pair. Otherwise the experiment may end badly.
The most notable success in the past was the chimpanzee/Human hybrid, recognized by the HBA in 1473 under the rather whimsical name of Yertle's Chimpazoid. Chimpazoids are present at nearly all modern Human shows.
Another exciting area which is, unfortunately, out of the reach of amateur breeders, is gene splicing to produce variants that can be achieved in no other way. As we already mentioned, this technique is being used in an attempt to produce agouti Humans. Other breeders are working to produce even more exotic results, including a project by one of the largest breeders to produce a Human-potato cross. Of course, such a hybrid couldn't be shown in the main ring of an HBA show, but such an important result would make it easy to justify formation of a special class, much as the way Chimpazoids are shown at current HBA events.
This has been a very brief introduction to the subject of Human breeding. If you're serious about it, you should read our guide, "So You Want to Breed Humans?", and its companion guide, "Sexing Humans".
While Humans are generally quite robust, you should be prepared for the possibility that they can become ill.
You should be sure you have a good vet. If you don't already know of one in your area, contact the HBA; they keep lists of recommended vets.
If you suspect one of your Humans of having any of the condition we've listed here, you should contact your vet for advice and possible treatment.
This arises most often in households with just one Human.
The primary symptom is lethargy, though it may also manifest itself in strange behavior (strange, even for a Human), such as walking in tight circles for hours on end, or licking spots on the wall. If you suspect something of this nature, you should contact your vet immediately, as it can be quite serious and if left go for too long, it can be difficult to treat.
To avoid this problem, make sure you play with your Human regularly. If possible, do so for at least a few minutes every day. As a "quick fix", if your Human seems depressed, try changing the programming on its television.
Unlike cats, Humans rarely barf. If one of your Humans is barfing frequently, you certainly should take it to your vet. You should also carefully check the food you've been giving your Humans. Decayed food is the most common cause of barfing.
Frequent or Inappropriate Urination
If you notice that one of your Humans is urinating very frequently, or is doing it in strange places, you should suspect a bladder infection. This can be serious, so you should take your Human to see the vet right away. You should also try to get it to drink more water. To help with this, try adding a little alcohol to its water. The change in flavor may make the Human more interested in drinking.
Lethargy is the most common symptom of disease in Humans. If you notice one of your Humans is just lying around, not playing with any of its toys, and not watching television, you should call your vet for advice. Any sudden behavior changes of any sort should also be cause for concern, and should be checked by a professional.
- Jesus as a Pet
- Dead Rats as Pets
- Goats as Pets
- Boys as Pets
- Rocks as Pets
- Disposable Pets
- Pet Heaven
- Pet Shop Boys
- A game about Rocks as Pets
- Human Breeders Association. This is the largest association of Human breeders, and its breed definitions and show rules are almost universally accepted.
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