The Instigator
Chelicerae
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Juggler37
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Scorpions are good pets in general.

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/3/2012 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,382 times Debate No: 25440
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (1)
Votes (0)

 

Chelicerae

Pro

The first round is for acceptance. I will be arguing that scorpions are good pets in general, and Con will be arguing that scorpions are not good pets in general.

Good- To be desired or approved of

Scorpions- A terrestrial arachnid (order Scorpiones)

Pet - an animal kept in confinement

General- not confined by specialization or careful limitation

First round is for acceptance. The debate will be back and forth arguments and counter-arguments. All sources must be linked and available online, and no semantics are allowed. BOF is shared.
Juggler37

Con

Hey there, Chelcerae! I'll be arguing that scorpions are, overall, inferior to the various species more commonly taken as pets (Cats, Dogs, Birds, Lizards, etc). My arguments will be based on the following measures of pet quality:

1: Benefits of Owning
2: Safety in Handling
3: Adaptability of Habitat

This is not a limit on what I will say; just an outline. If other topics are raised, I am perfectly willing to respond to them.
Debate Round No. 1
Chelicerae

Pro

= Notes on Round 1 =

I feel that it might be needed to reiterate the resolution before I begin. The resolution does not argue that scorpions are better than other pets. It argues that scorpions are good pets in general, which says nothing about where they stand in regards to other pets. I am not here to debate over whether or not scorpions are better than cats, lizards, or dogs.

=The safety of owning a scorpion=

The number of scorpion species on the planet is estimated to be around 1,752, and they are found in all continents except for Antartica. The number of scorpion species that are able to to deliver lethal stings to humans is estimated to be 25. This means that only 1.42% of scorpion species are capable of killing a human being. Since the number of lethal scorpion species is so low, it can be known that scorpions are generally not harmful. [1]

Between 1991 and 2001, only .26% of animal related fatalities were attributed to scorpions. Scorpions were beat by hornets, bees wasps, spiders, and even dogs. The number of fatalities related to scorpions is extremely lower, even lower than dogs, so it's proven that scorpions pose little threat to somebodies life [2]

There were fifteen deaths related to dogs in 2011. Only 4 deaths in 11 years have occurred as a result of scorpion stings. The number of people killed by scorpions is so low, it's about one person every three years. [3]

Of course, the previous statistics were only from the United States of America, so I will provide some global data on scorpion stings too. There are 1.2 million scorpion stings in a year worldwide. From those only .27% of stings result in death. This is an extremely low amount of people.

*The vast majority of scorpions are not lethal and scorpions rarely kill anybody.

[1] http://tinyurl.com...
[2] http://tinyurl.com...
[3] http://tinyurl.com...

=Scorpion stings are generally harmless=

According to Mayo Clinic, scorpion stings are painful, but are mostly (generally) harmless. Mayo Clinic also states that scorpion stings mostly (generally) don't need medical treatment. We can conclude from this that scorpion stings are generally harmless to a human. [1][2]

Furthermore, I would like to stress that the unlikelihood of being stung by your pet scorpion. If it gets out and stings someone, it is because you did not secure its terrarium well enough, allowing it to escape. If you or a family members gets stung by a pet scorpion, it was likely the fault of one of its human caretakers. A well-kept pet scorpion could not escape in the first place.

*In general, scorpion stings are harmless, and do not require hospital. If a scorpion escapes and stings somebody, it is the fault of the pet owner, not an intrinsic part of having a scorpion.

[1] http://tinyurl.com...
[2] http://tinyurl.com...

=Scorpions and other pets=

Can a scorpion kill a pet? Well, it depends on the circumstances. In most cases, your scorpion would probably die if it escaped from its terrarium, as they have very sensitive exoskeletons and wouldn't survive the drop. However, if they did manage to escape and live, I feel that a house-pet such as a cat or a dog would be able to kill them. Cats and dogs in places like Arizona, where scorpions are considered pests, have been known to kill scorpions. If your scorpion did manage to kill another pet, who's fault was it for not securing its cage enough? That responsibility lies with the pet owner. Pets being stung is almost always a result of bad owners, and is not an intrinsic part of keeping a scorpion.

*If your scorpion stings a pet, you should have secured its terrarium better in the first place.

=Scorpions are easy to take care of=

Scorpions are very easy to keep. After you have set up the terrarium for it, it's not a challenge to keep it well-fed and happy. All a scorpion needs is a ten gallon tank (minimum) and a hiding spot to hide under.[1] Scorpions do not require food that often. Most scorpions only need to be fed 1-2 times a week and 1-2 proper sized crickets each feeding.[2] A bag of crickets will cost $18.69 for 250 crickets.[3] Taking into consideration the fact that scorpions won't eat before and after molting, you will feed them rarely.

Even if you forgot to feed your scorpion, some scorpions can survive without eating any food for a year.[4]Even the most irresponsible pet owner would be able to take care of one just fine.

*Scorpions rarely eat and can go a long time without doing so.

[1] http://tinyurl.com...
[2] http://tinyurl.com...
[3] http://tinyurl .com/97qqtfy
[4] http://tinyurl.com...

=What you can do with a scorpion=

What can you do with scorpions? Well, a lot of interesting things actually. Firstly, it's always interesting to feed a scorpion. You drop their prey in, usually a cricket or a cockroach, and you get to watch the scorpion hunt down its food like it would in the wild. It's like watching a nature documentary in real life. Secondly, it's an interesting topic you can bring up to people you meet. Not that many people have scorpions, so it's a good way of sparking somebodies interest in having a conversation with you. Thirdly, scorpions are good climbers and burrowers, and watching what they do while in their terrarium can get interesting. Fourthly, if you really wanted to play with your scorpion, you probably could. Handling it is not impossible at all, and gloves can be worn if you are concerned about your personal safety.

*You can do many things with a pet scorpion.

=Conclusion=

I have proved using sources and factual information that scorpions are good pets in general. The resolution is upheld.
Juggler37

Con

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=Notes=

I understand that you don't need or intend to prove that scorpions are better pets than other animals. You only need to show that they are good pets. However, assuming cats, dogs, birds, and the various other animals commonly kept as pets are considered "good," scorpions would need to rank comparably to them in order to be a good pet. Without some sort of baseline example of what a "good pet" is, the resolution is meaningless.

For parts of my argument, I intend to use the more common pets as that guide. If scorpions are considerably worse pets than most, then they surely cannot be considered good pets. Do you accept this form of debate?
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=Rebuttals=

You have not proven that scorpions are good pets, you have only proven that they are not as dangerous as their reputation suggests. I do not dispute this (though I do have a minor problem with your "safety of owning a scorpion" section. It's pointless to compare deaths by dogs to deaths by scorpions. In the U.S., where your research comes from, people generally interact far more with dogs than with scorpions. It stands to reason that the dog-related mortality rate would be higher).

Anyway, your "Scorpions and Other Pets" section especially seems tailored to show only that scorpions aren't a threat, and ignores any other possible concern about scorpion ownership. For instance, you say that if a scorpion were to escape its terrarium, it would likely die. This may make a scorpion less dangerous, but it's a terrible trait in a pet. A creature so fragile is a poor choice to bring into our human-sized civilization, if a mistake as minor as a two-foot drop could evidently kill it.
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=Original Arguments=

1. Benefits of Owning

Why do people keep pets? Given that 97% of pet owners talk to their pets [1], it's clear that relatability and companionship are major factors. I doubt most scorpion owners talk to their scorpions. Why should they? Unlike, say, a dog, a pet scorpion is kept in a glass box most of the time. It's easy to ignore the scorpion's presence, and even when one pays attention to it, the interaction is more like scientific study than companionship. That's no way to foster the kind of relationship that makes pet ownership meaningful.

2. Safety in Handling

Unnecessary handling of even the safest of scorpions is generally discouraged [2]. It causes them great stress. And it's true, the empire scorpion is unlikely to use its stinger, the same cannot be said for its claws. How many people can say they would remain fully in control of their hand if it was pinched? It can't be predicted, and it would be difficult to avoid dropping the scorpion in this situation. As we have already established, scorpions are unlikely to survive such a drop.

While most pets are cuddly, scorpions are obviously not. This is not merely a subjective judgment. Even if one can ignore a scorpion's terrifying appearance, one must remember that this is a creature for which the recommended mode of interaction is TONGS.

3. Adaptability of Habitat

I had trouble naming this section. The idea behind it is that a scorpion will never be at home in a human household. This is largely based on the need for a terrarium.

Dogs, cats and other household pets can survive in the atmospheric conditions of an unaltered home. As a result, it is safe for them to roam around. I contend that this ability to roam and share space with humans is integral to their function as pets.

Scorpions cannot do this roaming, as they must spend most of their time in a terrarium, on account of being adapted to a different climate from that of most homes [3].

A good pet is a creature that is accepted as a member of the family. How can a scorpion be a family member when it is locked in a glass box, completely isolated and yet within view?
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=Sources=
[1]: http://www.thedailybeast.com...
[2]: http://exoticpets.about.com...
[3]: http://www.drsfostersmith.com...
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Debate Round No. 2
Chelicerae

Pro

=Notes=

The problem with establishing that cats, dogs, birds, and other animals are good, and then comparing those animals to scorpions, is that you must first prove that those animals are good. That would require us to debate about the merits of those pets, which is clearly outside of the scope of the resolution. The resolution defines a good pet as an animal kept in captivity that is to be desired or approved of, so there is no vagueness on what a good pet would be. If there is some disagreement over the definition of these terms, then the debate should not have been accepted.

=Rebuttals=

There are two forms of arguments that I have to make when I engage in what I personally call 'scorpion apologetics' I must firstly make negative arguments, which are refutations of what somebody might say against keeping scorpions as pets. Then there are positive arguments, which are my own arguments in favor of the resolution. Con is mistaken when he takes my negative arguments to be positive arguments, and then criticizes them for not proving scorpions are good pets. They're not supposed to be, as they are negative arguments.

When I do make positive arguments, Con seems to ignore them. For example, Con posted nothing in regards to my arguments about what one can do with pet scorpions that they have on. Con also has no thoughts on the ease of taking care of and feeding scorpions. Thus, Con has dropped these two points for this round. So far, I have seen mistakes about the nature of my negative arguments, and a lack of response to my positive arguments.

We should further note that Con does not disagree with my assessment about the myths surrounding scorpions. The implication of this is that all points I made in that area can be considered true when it is time for the audience to vote.

There are no statistics about how often people encounter scorpions compared to dogs or other animals. Therefore, we should be cautious when making that type of assertion. Perhaps people do avoid scorpions, but scorpions do not avoid people. I believe that it is far more likely that the low mortality rate from scorpion stings comes from their harmlessness rather than being avoided by humans. A human may not choose to approach a scorpion, but a scorpion will never think about its decision to approach a human. In areas like Arizona, scorpions are pests, and there is not much of a choice to avoid scorpions. Yet, UC Davis states that there have been no scorpion related deaths in Arizona since 1948.[1] This shows that even when you can't avoid a scorpion, it is very unlikely for it to be lethal.

It is true that scorpions have extremely fragile bodies. Like all arthropods, they have skeleton, which means that their bones are on the outside, and not in the inside as us humans have. This has the obvious implication of making their bodies more fragile. Perhaps I was overstating the damage a two foot drop would do to a scorpion, and I freely admit that there is no information on how deadly certain drops would be. I am making the point that a scorpion, if it survived its escape, could possibly be killed by the pet who's safety you are worried about. You should be more worried about the threat your cat poses to the scorpion than the threat the scorpion poses to the cat!

I say it is unfair to say that scorpions are bad pets because they would not survive such a fall. Imagine if your friend fell sixteen fight, and all you could say to him in the hospital was that he should have known how to take such a fall without injury. To a scorpion, a fall from a table or a desk would be like that sixteen foot fall.

=Benefits of owning=

In my positive argument, I laid out four things that one could do with a pet scorpion, resulting in benefits as a pet. These reasons were not rebutted during Con's round, so we should take them to be valid reasons until he does so.

Con asserts from his source that 97% of people talk to their pets. This is a factually correct assertion. However, it does not follow from this that you are not able to talk to a pet scorpion. All Con can give us on that point is the vague assurance that (s)he, 'doubts most scorpion owners talk to their scorpions.' Since no evidence was providing for this assertion, we have no reason to think that somebody could not talk to a pet scorpion.

=Safety of Handling=

I actually agree with Con's thoughts on handling a scorpion. It is considered unnecessary to handle a scorpion, and it is often stressful to the scorpion itself. Our ideas of play could be hellish to our pet scorpion. Any harm to a scorpion as a result of handling it is to be blamed on irresponsible pet ownership. While I agree with him on this point, I don't not believe that I had ever asserted scorpions were good pets for handling. I did say that you could handle them with oven mitts or gloves if you *really* wanted to, and this negates anything about the scorpion pinching you during handling. Indeed, the fact that scorpions are bad pets for handling has no bearing on the list of things you could do with a scorpion that I presented in Round 2 of this debate.

I am confused when Con asserts that an observation like, 'scorpions are not cuddly' is not a subjective statement. It should be apparent that there is no such thing as objective cuddliness, or objectively correct tastes in food. Therefore, the only option left is that this was, in fact, a subjective observation. I expect the audience to believe that his observation was subjective until he can offer an argument for why there is such a thing as objective cuddliness.

I hold the same view in regards to the observation that scorpions have a terrifying appearance. Personally, I find that they have an interesting appearance. Again, these are subjective observations on the part of Con, and these cannot be debated.

=Adaptability of Habitat=

I feel that a scorpion can be 'at home' when it is your pet. Let's use an Emperor scorpion as an example, which is probably the most popular pet scorpion. If one assures that the temperature and humidity levels of the terrarium are in the proper ranges, and the substrate is correct, then the scorpion would have no clue that it is was not in its normal African environment.

Scorpions do share space when they take up room for their terrarium. If you have to devote a specific area of your house to keeping a scorpion, then you are by definition sharing space with that scorpion. Taking part of the space you have and allowing a pet scorpion to occupy it is what we call sharing space.

=Conclusions=

- Con has erroneously taken my negative arguments to be positive arguments in favor of the resolution. Therefore, his observations that my arguments did not prove scorpions are good pets misunderstands the nature of the arguments he is responding to.
- Con has dropped two points that I made in Round 2: the ease of feeding and taking care of a scorpion, and what one can do with a pet scorpion.
- Con has agreed with my refutation of myths surrounding the real danger of scorpions, and these should be taken to be true when the time comes for the audience to vote.
- In areas where humans cannot avoid scorpions, there are rarely fatalities from scorpion stings. Therefore, the idea that scorpions do not kill people very often because they are avoided can be considered false.
-Con's statement about talking to pets does not exclude talking to scorpions, so there is no reason to think that the benefits of talking to a pet cannot be received from a scorpion as well.
- Con has made two subjective observations (despite his assertion that they are not) that cannot be debated.

The resolution is upheld. I thank Con for this debate, and I look forward to the next round.

[1] http://tinyurl.com...
Juggler37

Con

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=Notes=

Because Pro rejects the idea of determining "good" by comparing scorpions to other pets, I ask the reader to judge a pet "good" if and only if its positive qualities outweigh its negatives. Simply proving that something has positive qualities is not enough.

Also, I just found the Rich Text button. Expect slightly better formatting from me now! :D
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=Responses=
(For clarity, they are prefaced with the first few words of the rebuttal paragraphs they are written in response to)

"When I do make positive ..."
- Admittedly I did to Pro's positive points; In my rebuttal, I was mainly responding to what I saw as an undue focus on proving that scorpions were safe. There were indeed points about the good things about scorpions, which I did overlook. I apologize, and will address them in the last section of this post.

"We should further note ..."
- Yes, I accept the points made about scorpions' relative harmlessness as true, though I do hold that these negative points have little bearing on the debate, as my case for their subpar pet-status does not rest on the idea that they are a danger to humans. Rather, I am more concerned with the danger that humans pose to the scorpion. That, and the absence of various qualities which I see as critical to meaningful pet ownership. (See Benefits of Owning.)

"I say it is unfair ..." - I've never claimed that scorpions are bad creatures. My point is that they're not a good choice of pet. So, a better metaphor would be me saying that it would have been better if someone with wings had fallen instead. When I say scorpions are bad pets, I mean no offense against them. I simply don't think being a pet is very good for them.

"Con asserts from his source ..." - My statistic about people talking to pets served only to prove that companionship is an important factor in pet ownership. My claim that people are less likely to talk to pet scorpions follows from the idea that the typical human-scorpion relationship is fundamentally less interactive than other human-pet relationships. (One party being encased in glass, interaction mostly consisting of one watching the other, etc.)

"I am confused when Con asserts ..." - I stand by my statement that the uncuddliness of scorpions is more than just a subjective judgment. Yes, my comment about their appearance was subjective. However, we have already established that, as a rule of thumb, scorpions should not be touched. The "Do not touch" rule precludes all cuddliness, and is not based on subjective judgment. So, when I say scorpions are not cuddly, that is a statement of fact.

"I feel that a scorpion can be ..." - People are not at home on the space station, and animals are not at home in the zoo. I believe that there is a difference between one's natural habitat and an environment artificially engineered to suit their needs. Make of this what you will.

"Scorpions do share space ..." - Yes, by giving up some square footage for a terrarium, a person is technically "sharing space" with the scorpion. But that's semantics. What I meant was that the scorpion and person do not occupy the same place. They reside in completely separate bubbles, whereas other pets and family members move about in a single shared bubble.
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=On Pro's "Many Things You can do with a Pet Scorpion" =

Regarding the fun derived from watching scorpions eat:
This is a valid benefit, and I won't reject it arbitrarily. That said, we should remember that scorpions only need feeding 1-2 times per week. Ergo, this fanciful carnage only occurs 1-2 times per week.

Regarding the use of pet scorpions as conversation starters:
Indeed, they are good conversation starters. However, this is only because they're an uncommon pet. There's nothing intrinsically good about them that makes them good conversation; It's just novelty, which is unrelated to whether they're good pets.

Regarding the fun derived from watching scorpions climb:
There's little difference between this and watching the scorpion eat. I reject the idea that this is a separate activity. Actually, defining "watching it" as a thing to do with a pet is a stretch in itself.

Regarding the ability to play with scorpions:
Please refer to my Safety in Handling section from the previous round. Even under the best of circumstances, interacting with a scorpion will cause it stress. Under anything less than the best of circumstances, one risks pain to themselves and death to the scorpion.

The only thing here that actually revolves around interacting with a scorpion is the idea of playing with it. This is, however,unadvisable. There are in fact very few things one can conceivably do with a pet scorpion, and even fewer things that are actually enriching for the scorpion or the person.
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Debate Round No. 3
Chelicerae

Pro

FF due to newly found busyness.
Juggler37

Con

I didn't have much else to say, so I wouldn't mind stopping the debate here anyway. Though I suppose it's unfair if you don't get a chance to respond to my last arguments. Either way, thanks for the good debate. "Scorpion apologetics" is hilarious.
Debate Round No. 4
Chelicerae

Pro

I feel that we should allow the audience to judge the two arguments you and I presented, and vote based on that. Do you accept?
Juggler37

Con

Oh, absolutely.

Enjoy, audiencefolk! We shant be talking your ears off any longer!
Debate Round No. 5
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Chelicerae 4 years ago
Chelicerae
It looks like I accidentally broke a link. Here is the correct link: http://tinyurl.com...
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