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Owning a pet zombie can be a surprisingly stressful experience.

Most people who endeavor to keep zombies do so with poor education. Believe it or not, the zombie is a very high-maintenance creature.

The following is a primer for the beginning zombie owner. More detailed information on zombie care can be obtained from your local Necromancer or other black magician.



Housing & Bedding

Maintenance of zombie habitat is likely the most stressful and involved part of zombie ownership. You'll need to construct an enclosure measuring at least 5 by 5 feet out of sturdy material. Plexiglass anchored with concrete works nicely.

Zombies do not handle humidity well. Accordingly, your main task is to keep your zombie's enclosure dry. Include one to six industrial grade de-humidifiers inside the enclosure where your zombie cannot reach them. Line the enclosure with a one-foot-deep mix of cedar chips and silica sand. The sand will pull moisture to the bottom of the enclosure while the cedar chips will help with the stench. You may also wish to include a bed of willow ashes for resting.

Some owners have constructed 'playpens' out of industrial sewage pipe similar to the Habitrail toys used by Hamsters. While this is a nice option, it is not necessary: a typical zombie does not require much in the way of stimulation (see Recreation).



Feeding

Like snakes, zombies are carnivorous. An animal which is carnivorous eats only meat. Zombies are more picky than most carnivores: they eat only brains.

Many new zombie owners assume that zombies are able to subsist on any kind of flesh. While a zombie will consume any biotic material available, it requires the divine spirit contained in the Hypothalamus of the brain to maintain its hellish energy. Now, before you worry about locating adequate supplies of human brains, be aware that the brains of animals will do just fine in large enough supply.

Unlike most animals, zombies lack the nervous triggers which tell it when it is full. Consequently, if enough food is available, it will eat until its organs burst. Because zombies in the wild are not effective hunters, the danger of eating too much is rarely a concern. However, under the supervision of a live owner, a zombie's brain intake must be carefully monitored to maintain health. Feed your zombie no more than five (5) pounds of brain matter per day. Optimally, each day contains 20 or so meals consisting of only a few ounces of brain. An evolutionary blunder in the zombie is a slow digestive system coupled with an overwhelming drive to constantly eat. Consequently, rate of feeding is a delicate matter. A reputable Necromancer will likely have more detailed instructions for feeding your zombie.



Recreation

Being a mindless killing machine, a zombie is typically not much for recreation. It can be taken for short walks in warm weather; you can participate with it in a crude game of catch by (softly) throwing balls and/or sticks at it, triggering the reflexes remaining from the prior nervous system. To keep the muscles sharp, walk with it on a leash in quick bursts of five to ten short steps, followed by several minutes of rest.

Taking your zombie for a walk is a lot like taking your guard dog out for a walk. There's potential for injury. Getting to know signs of zombie aggression is the first step to preventing catastrophe.

When a zombie is about to attack, it will assume a very specific stance: it will outstretch its arms and moan. It may gag also. While zombies are typically ambush hunters, they are sometimes able to subdue prey from a distance by squirting bile from the nose and mouth.

If you are bitten or burned, immediately amputate the affected body part(s). If infected blood reaches your brain the result is almost always fatal. Having your zombie de-toothed is the best defense against deadly attack.


On behalf of PETU (People for the Ethical Treatment of the Undead), allseeingeye has raised concerns that the practice of zombie de-toothing is cruel and unusual treatment. While the process itself is not pleasant to witness, it's beneficial to the zombie's health in the long run: invariably, teeth become infected, and because the zombie possesses no immune system, small disturbances can quickly turn disastrous. Cause of death for zombies with teeth is typically decomposition of the head resulting from infected teeth; toothless zombies tend to live months longer.

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