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Interviews with people who own unusual animals

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Goats eat grass, right? Does that mean you don't have a lawn mower? I do own a lawn mower. That is actually one of the reasons I chose goats, because it's like all-natural lawn service. They are picky about what they eat, though. If I put two things in front of them, they will go for the one they want. If they don't want it, they will just leave it there.

Do you sneak people food to them under the table? Yeah, yeah. I've learned not to throw away any food in my house. If the goats don't eat it, then the raccoons or something else will. They also like hay. I have this salt block that they like to lick. I guess they like the nutrients from it. I also have various watering stations around the property for when they're thirsty.

Do they sleep with you in your house? Absolutely not. They never sleep in my house, nor do I let them in my car. If I do leave my car door open, however, they will jump in there. I move them around. Sometimes they sleep in the barn, or the hutch I have on my property, or sometimes in the shed.

Do you have any other pets? I actually have a German shepherd and a cat, too. The cat is afraid of the goats. The dog always just wants to play, like chase them, but the goats are usually not into that type of fun. They always run away.

Do you have any funny stories about your goats? My goats are escape artists. They will find a hole, and if there's no hole, they will make a hole. It boggles my mind because I used to have them fenced in, then go inside and five minutes later they would be outside my window. They will always find a way out. One time, they came onto the Valencia campus (East) and walked all the way through campus to this one patch of grass. I didn't find out they did it until Animal Services brought them back to my house.  

You mentioned that the white goat is the momma to Brownie. How did that happen? Did you put an ad out for a daddy goat or did she just one day end up pregnant? The previous owner did breed them. The momma goat would have a litter, and he would sell them. But, no, I've never bred them.

Would you ever get another pet like this one? I don't know. Maybe. Maybe not. If I had more time to spend with them. I would like to have chickens and a pig, too – I just don't have the time.

Slow and steady

By Drexler B. James

Orlando Weekly: What type of odd pet do you own? Chelsey Hyatt: He is an African Sulcata (spur-thigh) tortoise. They thrive in East Africa or any desert climate.

His name is Garbanzo. How old is he? He was 12 in September.

How long have you had him? Two years.

How did you get Garbanzo? Did you pick him or was he offered to you? My friend Pete always had him. I liked visiting Garbanzo. I grew up having pet turtles, so I was drawn to him. I'm drawn to certain reptiles, especially if they interact with humans in an interesting way. When Pete said he was moving to Seattle, I asked what he was doing with Garbanzo, and he said he wasn't sure. I said 'If you don't know what you're gonna do and you want somebody here to keep him, and you can always come back to him, I'll take him.' He took me up on that offer and I've had him since then. Pete's been back once to try and see him.

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