Coriolanus Rowland's Guide to Pokémon Husbandry
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August 2nd, 2011 (1:58 PM).
Gone. May or may not return.
The Misspelled Cyrpt
Here is the chapter you were looking forward to, 01. Today, Coriolanus Rowland remains arrogant, and talks to us about domesticity.
Chapter Two: Pokémon in the Home
Perhaps you have some experience with Pokémon already. Perhaps you were a Trainer in your youth, or you've worked with them before, or you've kept a few as pets already and are ready to move on. Well, this is the point at which we move onto the big (well, bigg
) boys. Now you truly begin to draw the sideways admiring glance from friends and neighbours; now, we reach the sort of Pokémon you might have seen on television or on a leash connected to a celebrity. Pokémon as domestic pets are growing in popularity, and are more fashionable than ever right now. Industry predictions indicate that by the end of 2011, the market will have overtaken that of traditional pets.
And it is not hard to see why: your dog might be able to beg and fetch, but Lombre can make you breakfast; not even a pig can outclass Munchlax as a garbage disposal unit. The pets people have been keeping for centuries simply do not have enough to offer in the face of competition from Pokémon. Even pythons and tarantulas, the exemplars of risqué pets, are outdated: why not switch to a Slowbro, which can not only provide you with a modicum of free water but can help throw you into a meditative trance?
Of course, with great power, as a wise uncle once said, comes great responsibility. While Slowbro are mainly peaceful, they are predators in the wild and will not hesitate to attack other pets that come near them; Lombre's sense of humour is often not shared by the parents of the children that it so loves to play with. There are rules and regulations to be obeyed. Not all Pokémon are legal to keep in all places, and there are often restrictions on their movement. Ensure that you know the law before purchasing, in order not to fall foul of it. If your Pokémon is only allowed out with a muzzle, make sure you have one; if it needs to have venom or flame sacs removed, make sure they are.
I may be getting ahead of myself a little. Very few of the Pokémon in this section are restricted by law. If they were, they would hardly be suitable for keeping as domestic pets. Just remember that, as in all things, caution is necessary. Know your limits. Not everyone is me, and, by extension, not everyone can successfully keep a pair of breeding Serperior in a one-room apartment in Manchester.
But above all, enjoy yourself. The law is an ass, after all, and there are so many opportunities to have fun with Pokémon that it's almost worth disregarding it entirely. Read on, and see for yourself the myriad methods of enriching your life that I have discovered.
Originating from the deep forests of central Johto, Bayleef (
) is the last surviving member of a family of dinosaurs that has otherwise been extinct since the late Triassic. It is also the smallest: its closest relative, Riojasaurus, is estimated to have been around ten metres long.
So far, so good; Bayleef is a little dinosaur, and dinosaurs always go down well, possessing as they do the ability to inspire wonder in almost everyone who sees them. Despite its small size, Bayleef is no exception; it is an impressive creature. However, alligators, tigers and other exotic pets are also impressive, so what has Bayleef to offer that sets it apart?
Firstly, it has a ring of organs around its neck, visible at a cursory glance, that give off a gaseous substance similar in its effects to adrenaline. This adrenal vapour, coupled with its ability to move at a steady speed for a very long period of time, results in it making an excellent partner for cross-country athletes, if not an entirely legal one. A sniff of Bayleef vapour near the end of the race can provide the crucial boost to send one over the line first; what a pity that so few race officials are open to bribes.
There is, of course, potential for abuse here. Many fake asthma inhalers filled with Bayleef adrenal vapour are produced every year and circulated amongst the sporting community. As with so many things in life, no one really minds unless one gets caught, something that precipitated my ejection from the 1996 Olympics. It is also something that has rendered me unable to visit the city of Atlanta, but that is an entirely different matter.
Bayleef itself is a charming little creature, not overburdened with intelligence and somewhat prone to flatulence, but charming nevertheless. It has impressive stamina, as previously noted, and is rugged enough to withstand severe playing with. In fact, there are only two caveats I would make with regard to Bayleef: one is that spending more than seven hours in
close proximity to it may cause you to die of adrenaline shock, and two is that, in the heat of a dispute or even in play, Bayleef can lose themslves a little and casually disembowel their owners with a flick of the stiff, sharp leaf on their heads. Often, they do not even realise they are dead, which can lead to unfortunate situations where those who attempt to remove the body also end up being cut. I recall one incident I witnessed in Colorado where a Bayleef systematically sliced its way through four generations of one family before attempting to play catch with its deceased owners.
The moral of the story is that you should make sure that your Bayleef has been pinioned before purchase. It is a simple operation that removes the muscle that attaches the leaf to the forehead; this leaves your Bayleef incapable of moving its head-leaf, and thus no longer lethal. If you are purchasing your animal directly from the trappers, then you may wish to take it to a vet and have the operation done yourself, rather than ask the hunters to do it for you; their methods are rather bloody and tend to leave a large and unnattractive scar.
Your Bayleef will enjoy much the same sort of diet as any other advanced prosauropod.
More difficult than usual. Bayleef require a paddock, though they will not mind if they lack slightly for space; while they prefer to be surrounded by trees, most will adapt quite happily to a meadow or field. They lack the sheer mass to be as warm-blooded as their relatives, and so require a heated stable for winter and cold nights.
Six to seven feet long, including the long neck and tail.
Bayleef, like so many of the sauropod dinosaurs, are quite long-lived. In captivity, they will easily reach thirty years and perhaps forty; if allowed to evolve to Meganium, they will almost certainly reach sixty.
You may wish to raise your own Bayleef from a Chikorita; there is nothing to stop you doing so. However, you should think twice before evolving it to Meganium: will you be still be around to care for it in sixty years' time?
Bayleef are rather difficult to breed in captivity, hence their rarity. However, some success has been reported from China.
Almost exclusive to Johto; Pokémon import and export from the country has always been strictly regulated, and consequently there are few other places one can obtain one.
, variant B) is a curious creature. Biologically, it is exactly the same as a Slowpoke or Slowking, but the presence and position of the mutant Shellder alters the extent and power of its psychic powers and even its physical strength. The symbiotic relationship between Slowpoke and Shellder is one of the most curious things in Pokézoology; a number of theories have arisen as to why variant Shellder only affect Slowpoke, but none are yet proven. Perhaps you might inspire a sense of scientific curiosity in your children by raising them in a house with a Slowbro.
Extremely docile by nature, Slowbro are the sort of playmate that won't mind being picked up, cuddled or pushed around; the venom of the Shellder actually appears to block their sense of pain, and they don't care if you injure them, especially as they can regenerate lost limbs within hours. In short, they are perfect pets for the clumsy, or for children.
However, Slowbro are active hunters in the wild, and you should exercise caution accordingly. Cats who wander into your garden may not wander out again; they usually put a good fight, but it is hard to escape an adversary who is entirely single-minded, and physically incapable of becoming tired. One method of stopping deaths from occurring is to let one or two cats die to scare the others off; while simple, this method can become expensive, as pet owners often have an unaccountable desire for compensation. Another technique is to invest in a cat-scaring device, or surround your property with some sort of wide moat. The latter does have the frequent advantage of allowing Slowbro access to the fresh water it requires.
As well as cuddly and occasionally threatening, Slowbro is
useful. It can supply up to eighty gallons of free water a month; alternatively, it can put you into a mild trance, useful for attaining inner peace or reducing fatigue, whichever suits you better. This latter technique requires some training, and you must be prepared for some fairly dire migraines while your pet is learning how to do it; it is extremely stupid, and learns at the speed of continental drift.
As a river predator, Slowbro feeds mainly on fish, insects and crustaceans; caution is advised if allowing it seafood, for it can swiftly become addicted, and the last thing you need is a super-powered salamander that is chemically dependent on caviar.
Slowbro could come indoors, but it is very likely to break something, partly because it is very stupid and partly because it feels no pain and hence doesn't care if it crashes into things. Far better to keep it outside, in the garden – though of course, it must have accss to fresh water at all times.
Counting the Shellder, Slowbro are just over six feet long.
Slowbro are one of those species that display negligible senescence, as they regenerate their cells at the same time as they age. However, sudden and extreme trauma to the head or any of the major organs usually kills them, if you find that you've become tired of your pet.
Inapplicable, though Slowbro can in fact
volve if the Shellder is removed from its tail. In that case, you will be left with a Slowpoke, which you can turn back into a Slowbro if you place the Shellder back on its tail. Alternatively, it can be forced to become a Slowking if the Shellder is positioned on its head. Be warned, however, that its simple memory will be erased if you move the Shellder from tail to head, and that moving the Shellder from head to tail will most likely cause an aneurism as its brain attempts to eject approximately 150 points of its IQ.
Inadvisable unless you have saintly patience. When Slowbro sees another Slowbro, it takes it approximately half an hour to realise that it is the same species, and twenty minutes more to determine whether or not it is a member of the same gender. If it does decide that mating is possible, it will take it several attempts to get it right. Some months later, a clutch of spherical, semitransparant eggs will appear in the pond where the mother lives; if you don't want her to eat them, you had better remove them and hatch them yourself.
My wife and I often made our own Slowbro, conducting experiments in Johto's famous Slowpoke Well with a batch of genetically-modified Shellder; I would recommend this as a fun family outing, but warn you that security has been increased since we were arrested. Otherwise, Slowbro are available from the Slow Bros. chain of
stores across America.
The closest to a universal solvent that we will ever know, Munchlax (
) is by definition hungry; along with Snorlax, it is the sole occupant of the
genus, a rare group of bears that take their family's omnivorous nature to extremes. They will eat anything and everything, heedless of toxins or simple indigestibility – and apparently suffer no ill effects, no matter what it is they ingest. I once (entirely in the spirit of science, you understand) conducted an autopsy on a Munchlax, and extracted the remnants of four types of cheese, two hams (with bone), a whole turkey, two wine bottles, a selection of different-flavoured Tic Tacs and the twisted remains of a racing bicycle. When it isn't eating, Munchlax is sleeping, allowing it to achieve the perfectly spherical shape that it requires for evolution.
What does this mean for the homeowner? It means that you have a new way of removing rubbish from your household. Nothing is wasted with a Munchlax; organic or artificial, plastic or metal, all will disappear into its gaping mouth and reappear some months later as a solid, brick-like hairball. (Since Munchlax habitually does not move from the spot, it does not defecate, and prefers instead to excrete through its mouth.)
I must, as ever, offer a word of warning. You will have to forcibly exercise your Munchlax every day, to prevent it becoming spherical and therefore being able to evolve. If you do not, your Munchlax will become a Snorlax, which will promptly forget you were ever its owner, devour you, demolish your house in search of more food and then depart for the mountains.
Other than that, there need be little care taken when raising a Munchlax. Simply park it in the corner of the kitchen with a tray to cough hairballs into, and it will happily become part of the furniture. You can give it a name, but don't expect it to perform tricks, or indeed do much apart from eat as much as you can give it. It does offer surprisingly good hugs, if you take care to keep its fur soft and silky.
The only other thing you must do is keep babies away from it. They do not move enough for Munchlax to recognise them as something still alive and therefore too much effort to eat.
Whatever you care to put in front of it, although repeated ingestion of plutonium has shown to been detrimental to their health.
The easiest Pokémon of all to house. It just needs a corner to sit in; it won't move unless the house is burning down, and only then if the fire gets within a metre of it.
Around two feet tall, including the ears.
They expend very little energy, and so can survive for around forty-five years. This is longer than a great many marriages, so Munchlax ought to last your family for as long as it is needed.
I have already outlined reasons for not evolving Munchlax, as well as directions for avoiding doing so.
Impossible. Munchlax are by definition immature creatures, and can no more reproduce than a baby. Having said that, the Chinese are again reporting success, which is rather confusing.
If you live in Sinnoh, Kanto or Uruguay, all you need to do is leave a large pile of cloth and scrap metal smeared with honey in your back garden; only Munchlax will come to eat it. If you are fortunate enough to live elsewhere, you will have to order them in from abroad. There are apparently quite a few Sinnish breeders who have taken an unaccountable shine to Snorlax.
) are indigenous to Hoenn and West Africa, two places that appear to have no connection whatsoever until one realises that the winds that blow over the former often carry their airborne seeds over to the latter. They are one of those curious species of Pokémon that combine aspects of plants and animals, and possibly the most exciting Pokémon in this chapter.
Highly intelligent and lovers of mischief, Lombre in the wild spend a large proportion of their time playing tricks on other animals and on passers-by; a particular favourite of theirs is pretending to be a lost child, luring someone near, and then beating them up and throwing them in a lake. In captivity, this intellect can be turned to other uses.
You could install a pond in your front garden, teach your Lombre how to recognise salesmen and to chase them away on sight (beware; many a postman has been lost forever this way). Another trick is to teach them how to operate kitchen appliances – their agile minds and dextrous hands leave them almost as capable as humans. I once owned Lombre that made a divine soufflé, though regrettably, that was all he learned to make; I attempted to teach him more, but mealtimes remained incredibly monotonous.
Lombre, even when tamed, retain their mischievous nature as well as their intellect, and love to play with children. Unfortunately, children very often do not like to play with Lombre, since Lombre's idea of playing is beating someone up and throwing them in a lake. It also happens to be its primary hunting tactic. You should be wary of pet owners and parents. Despite all this, or perhaps because of it, Lombre have always been one of my favourites: they will trick you, and interfere with your affairs, and on more than one occasion you will probably consider having them put down – but in the end, they have such phenomenal character, such audacity, that you simply pick them up, hug them and wonder what possessed you. They are the epitome of a person you love to hate, and after you have experienced life with Lombre, you will never want to be without your irritating tearaway again.
Meat and raw fish. Placing a standing order with your local fishmonger would help a great deal; it is always good to support local businesses.
With its sharp intellect, Lombre is easily house-trained. However, I would caution against keeping it indoors, as their long arms and grasping hands are well-suited to taking and breaking any valuables they come across. They also figure out taps rather quickly, and take great pleasure in flooding houses until they resemble the rivers they originally lived in. Taking that into consideration, it might be better for them to live in a large pond in the garden, and to come inside only under adult supervision.
Between three and four feet tall, just the right height to snatch babies from prams.
Twelve to eighteen years.
Ludicolo has its adherents. Any Pokémon that reacts to music with such a crazy dance is automatically beloved of all humans. However, Ludicolo have none of the charm of Lombre; they still have their intelligence, but the love of mischief that makes these little scamps so loveable has gone, replaced with a certain carefree attitude that leaves them somewhat bland. I recommend sticking with your little devil, no matter how much you love pineapples or ducks.
Lombre are sly and devious suitors, and will stoop to levels of extreme depravity to undercut their competitors for a mate, real or imagined. In the wild, mating season generally results in a large number of injuries; in the home, where there are no competitors, your Lombre will probably see you as the sole obstacle to its love, and attempt to murder you. If you must breed Lombre, then you will want to invest in some sort of neck protection, for they are accomplished with the garrotte.
Freely available in stores throughout Hoenn – but also available very cheaply in Ghana, where they have thrived since the creation of Lake Volta, which has proved an excellent drowning spot.
Perhaps the most unusual of the Pokémon in this chapter. Golett (
Homunculus golem minor
) lacks a true Linnaean classification, as the species is presumed to be artificially created; however, with the discovery of other synthetic Pokémon, it has been tentatively placed in a kingdom/genus fusion termed the
, a sort of taxonomic holding pen for species that have been created by artificial means.
Golett is made entirely of blue-green river clay laid over black granite, with some form of energy contained within them, the precise nature of which is unknown. They possess unusual physical strength, and make excellent companions for those who like to work out.
I recommend them as domestic pets primarily because they are so useful. Like Lombre, they can be taught to perform tasks; unlike Lombre, they can, if you show them how, complete very complex tasks beyond the capabilities of other Pokémon. They appear to function much like a robot, and memorise everything they see with the goal of repeating it on demand.
This does have one disadvantage, and that is that they have no personality. They require no sustenance or sleep, and when not needed will simply stand in a corner and hum blankly to themselves. They are servants, not playmates, and it seems that this was the purpose for which they were constructed.
However, the advantages are enormous: Golett can perform all of the housework that its small stature allows it to, and will never cut corners or put off boring tasks until later. A group of them, being largely bulletproof, also make for a squadron of excellent bodyguards or private soldiers – useful for celebrities, controversial political figures, and authors of Pokémon guide books who need to return to the scene of the crime.
Unnecessary. Prolonged exposure to rainfall will wash parts of your Golett's covering off, exposing the granite beneath; this is unattractive, so some sort of roof might be desirable.
Precisely one metre tall, indicating that whoever created them used the metric system.
Forever, as long as they are not destroyed; at least, it is assumed they last forever, as almost all known specimens are over four thousand years old and still functioning.
If you decide that you want more of a bodyguard than a domestic servant, then by all means evolve it; Golurk are more suited to the battlefield than the home, but at least one high-profile celebrity has appeared in public riding one. Just be aware that they cannot turn back, and that it is far harder for a nine-foot mechanised boulder to do the washing up than a three-foot one.
Not possible, as no one knows how to create more. There are reports that a certain Golurk, termed Variant B, has exhibited signs of having been created to build more Golett – but as it is currently under investigation by the US government, it has been difficult for anyone to find anything out about it.
They are not cheap. With only 3,000 of them in existence, a Golett could set you back several hundred thousand pounds. However, when you consider that this is a creature that will serve you, your children, your children's children and so forth for the rest of time, the price tag starts to look reasonable.
The Thinking Man's Guide to Destroying the World
The Rocket Case
The Rocket Revival
Neither Here Nor There
Coriolanus Rowland's Guide to Pokémon Husbandry
Robin Goodfellow's Christmas Carol
Stranger Than Fiction
My Trip to the End of Time, by Pearl Gideon
A Smell of Petroleum Pervades Throughout
For information about A Grand Day Out, a bizarre short story in video game form, click
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