I had been sick off and on for at least a week when I first starting writing this post, so Ispent a lot of time in bed falling down the Youtube rabbit hole of makeup videos and pet youtuber drama, and it got me thinking about the real life logistics of being a pet youtuber.
I want to differentiate that in this post I’m talking about pet youtube channels, so folks who live in a regular house and have a number of pets that they discuss online, not actual non-profit animal rescue or conservation groups/ranches like Kamp Kenan, etc. I started watching pet youtubers mid way through university, when I owned a betta fish, Scout Finch, and when I first got my Horsfield tortoise, Nugget. I originally came across Taylor Nicole Dean right before her channel really took off, while I was looking for betta fish care advice after receiving some really poor care instructions from my local Petland. From there, I started watching a number of other animal-based channels. At first I didn’t really bat an eyelash at pet youtubers and their exorbitant number of pets, but with the recent spew of videos criticizing popular petubers popping up, it’s made me think more about pet ownership and the logistics of owning as many pets as pet youtubers do. I don’t wish to chastise pet youtubers for their career or hobby choice, but just wanted to share my train of thought with others and see how others feel on this topic.
Time: I cannot fathom the amount of time that it would take on a daily basis to take care of 20-50+ pets. I understand that most Pet Youtubers do this as their full-time jobs, and may have assistants or family members who assist in their animal care. Let’s say that they spend a full 10 hours a day caring for their pets, and that they have 30 animals (based on the channels I’ve seen, 30 seems like a pretty average number, as I’ve seen folks who have anywhere from 15 to 50+ animals). Even if they are spending a full 10 hours a day solely on pet care, that only leaves 20 minutes per pet. Regardless of the type of animals, whether it be fish, reptiles, or mammals, I don’t think this is enough time per animal. Even if a decent portion of that animal count is fish, fish maintenance, especially for exotic saltwater fish, takes a fair amount of time. I presently only have two pets, my cat and my tortoise, but I spend anywhere from 1-3 dedicated hours with them on top of working full time to feed them, bathe them, brush them, play with them, cuddle with them, clean litterboxes and enclosures, etc. Keep in mind too, that this 10 hours just accounts for care, and not for filming or editing, which is very time consuming. The thought of having even 10-20 pets, even if they are mostly observational pets like reptiles and fish, terrifies me to be honest!
Days off: You…just don’t get any days off. Ever. That 10 hour day of animal care? That’s every single day, even weekends, even stat holidays, even when you want to go away on a trip. If you don’t have an assistant, or a very supportive family member or partner who doesn’t work while you’re away, who is going to put in that 8-10 hour work day of care for all of your animals? And does that assistant or family member or whoever properly understand how to care for multiple exotic pets all with varying dietary and environmental needs? Would they know what to do if the power goes off, or if an animal falls ill? You can’t just drop off a fleet of skinks and geckos at a pet hotel either if you don’t have a loved one or neighbour to take care of them when you’re away. If I had that number of pets I would feel as if I couldn’t go away, and I would be incredibly anxious about the wellbeing of my pets if I did go away. Being a pet youtuber in particular is one job you just can’t call in sick for. Even if you’re not filming, you still have to keep your animals alive and cared for.
Unstable work: Though there are a number of youtubers (Shane Dawson, Jenna Marbles, Tati Westbrook, the list goes on!) that have managed to turn Youtube into a lengthy career, as a viewer it seems that Youtube is a risky career field and that there is a certain element of financial instability with working full-time on Youtube. How can you pay for all of those expensive animals if your income is suddenly cut due to a change in an algorithm, fading popularity, and the like?
Emergency: If there is an emergency like a fire or other natural disaster in which you need to evacuate QUICKLY, there is no way you will be able to save or transport the majority of your animals. If you have 30+ animals it would take hours to even remove them from your home. If they are reptiles that have special heat and humidity set ups it would be impossible to recreate each of those environments while travelling or relocating. It would be difficult in general to fit 30+ animals into any vehicle, or even two or three average-sized vehicles.
What are your thoughts on petubers/ Pet Youtubers? I’ve veered away from watching them in recent months, as so many seemed focussed solely on Taylor Nicole Dean’s drama, and it’s very clear that she is going through some difficult things and just needs to figure that out on her own. There’s still the odd non-drama video that piques my interest, though. Who are your favourite petubers, and do you think it is ethical or in the best interests of animals to own that many pets?