On this episode of Wantdo Stories, we are having Em, also known as "Emzotic" online, as a guest. Em is an exotic pet owener and a digital animal educator. She creates content based around her life, sharing her knowledge of animals on her Youtube Channel (@emzotic) and her Instagram page (@emzoticofficial). She shared with us how it is like being an pet YouTuber and some tips for taking care of animals. Read on to find out more about Em.
Em's interest in Exotic animals was born in a very early stage of her life. She has always been fascinated by animals, and her parents ecouraged her interest in the natural world by providing her with as many books and wildlife documentaries as possible. Em was born in the UK, but spent many years of her childhood in Hong Kong, and she was able to travel frequently to places which were rich with exotic fauna and flora, which helped to feed her curiosity.
As Em grows up, she begins to think about turning her love for animals into a career. She has worked as an animal educator and a zoo keeper before becoming a YouTuber. Later, she was seeking way to share her passion for animals with more people and she started "Emzotic" as a small project. She created some short YouTube videos of the animals she lived and worked with, and some of her videos went viral. That is how "Emzotic" was born. Right now, Emzontic has 707K followers on YouTube and 92.5K followers on Instagram.
When asked what is the best thing being a Pet YouTuber, Em said, she loves having the opportunity to share UP TO DATE ideas and information about exotic animals and their care. She also sees it as a good way to share some of the realities about exotic animal ownership, which can help to dissuade people from buying animals on impulse. She also shows a lot of appreciation for her audience. "I have an incredible community and positive community, which I call my 'creature Crew'." Em says, "I feel very blessed to have such a thoughtful and kind audience of animal lovers."
Em Currently houses 10 animals. One Eurasier dog, named 'Kiba'. Two Ferrets, "Dobby" and "Niffler". Two snakes, "Zombie" and "Kaa", two Madagascan Hissing Cockroaches, "Uno" and "Dos", and three geckos, "Okey", "Vexxus" and "Sploot". "I also has a few wild 'office spiders' which live rent-free in my filming space," says Em. If you go on her YouTube channel or her Instagram page, you will be able to find even more animals. However, Em says she will never keep a cat again, because she has quite severe allergies to them and cat's hunting instincts are too much of a liability aroung other animals she has. We also asked Em want animal she wants to have next. She says that she would like to keep axolotl again. "They're a very cute aquatic animial which looks like a smiling water dragon!" she says.
You can see that many of the pets Em has in her home are not what we usually see in a domestic environment. We ask Em what is the most difficult part taking care of exotic animals. Em says that exotic animals have very specific care needs, which can be tricky to get right. When they become sick, veterinary costs can be astronomical. Em also says that on the internet, there is a lot of misleading and outdated care information, so one has to be prepared to question everything and to be confident with trails and errors. Not only for exotic animals, for pets in general, Em believes that extensive research on the specie is a must.
"It is important to research whether certian species will be a good fit for your family and lifestyle," Em says. Some pets require a lot of exercise and mental stimualtion, or they can become destuctive. Other pets are cheap to buy, but very expensive to keep in terms of feeding and upkeep. She recommends everyone to seriously consider where he/she will be in 5 years, and whether he/she truly wants to be responsible for an animal, including any expensive healthcare it may need. Fostering will be a good way to see if a particular pet is right for you. "Try to avoid buying pets on impulse," Em says, "Thorough reserch is the key to a happy, healthy pet."
Speaking of buying pets, you probably already know the importance of choose a good breeder. A good breeder means the pet you are buying is more likely to be in a better health condition. We also asked Em what advice she would like to give on choosing a breeder. Em gave us a checklist of things that legitmate breeders will provide:
1. Legitimate breeders will be able to show you proof of health testing.
2. They will often be part of a breed or species club, and have waiting lists for their animals.
3. They will ask you a lot of question, because they'll want to match you with the very best animal to suit your lifestyle.
4. Legitimate breeders will often have contracts in place, which state that if you cannot keep your pet, it must be returned to them, and never abadoned in a shelter.
5. They will also have records of vaccinations and want to provide on-going support to see how your new pet is doing in your home.
Em has shown a lot of compassion for animals on social media. Through sharing her knowledge of animals and taking care of them, she is hoping that she can bring good influence to the pet industry and pet owners. Besides social media, Em also extended her voice to publishing. "Animal Kind" is a book that was published in 2020. Em wanted to highlight and celebrate the unique bond humans have with their pets, so she interviewed real people about how their animals and pets ahve impacted their lives. From the interviews, she created short stories around each of these owneres.
Out of the stories featured in her book, we asked her which one is her personal favorite. She says her favorite story is the very first story, titled "Zak". It's a true story about how one special dog helped a young woman through the grief of losing a family member. It's written is a very cozy manner and is relaxing to read. "Bear" on the other had is the most difficult story for Em to write. It was her own personal story and is non-fiction. In this chapter, she shares a memory of an extremely difficult period of time in her life where she faced many trials, such as being diagnosed with Bipolar 2 disorder, losing a pregnancy and making some very unexpected, grim discoveries outdoors. The animal which got her through was her first ferrect, "Bear", which became the title of this chapter. If you would like to check out the book, you can find it here: http://amzn.to/2Yd9e0e
The writing did not go as smoothly as she thought it would. Aside from the challenge of meeting deadlines whilst trying to stay creative, her marriage was ending, which made the process of writing very difficult. She has thought about giving up a few times. However, she was very determined to finished her first book. Clearly, the perseverance paid off: "Animal Kind" became a #1 Best Seller in multiple categories, which "I am still in shock over", she says. She is all excited about writing and she cannot wait to write another book. At the moment, though, it might be a little hard to squeez out time for Em to writher another book.
Currently, Em is working on some exciting collaborations with pet product companies, creating limited edition products for sale to animal lovers. She is also creating a video series that focuses on the fascinating world of unknown animal careers, where she interview people who work with animals in surprising ways. When asked about next plan for her life and or for "Emzotic", she says, "I'm looking to make some serious waves in the pet industsry as an investor and innovator". She is also working on a few TV projects which she cannot speak about just yet. However, she is certain that 2021 is going to be a transformative year for Emzotic and she is ready to take her brand and her pets to the next level.
We definitely wish Em the best luck with all her projects. It can be quite easy to forget why we are doing what we do, when we are busy dealing with the problems we have at work or in our lives. It is good to see, after all these years, Em is still so passionate about animals, about the relationship between human and animals, and she is still all fired-up to make positive changes in the pet industry. As a brand that sticks to our mission, from the beginning, to provide the best valued performance clothing to our customers, Wantdo hopes all of us stay true to who we are and never forget our dreams. Let's make dreams happen in 2021.
Comment down below let us know your thoughts on this episode of Wantdo Story, or if you have any fun story of you and your pet that you would like to share with us. We will pick one reader from the comment section to receive a free jacket that Em wears in the picture above!