If you happen to peek over your neighbours' fence and you happen to notice they are building a very, very large swimming pool, you might ask yourself, are they planning on adopting a beluga whale - one that was beached on a remote island off the coast of B.C. last summer and against all odds survived and now is looking for a home?
Are you worried about hearing beluga whale mating calls in the middle of the night when it's beluga whale mating season? Or that the beluga will make such a big splash it will drown the delicate dahlias on your side of the fence?
Don't worry, the District of Maple Ridge will ensure that your neighbours won't have that beluga whale for long.
Because the new animal control bylaw passed by Maple Ridge council last week bans pet beluga whales.
Orcas (killer whales) and dolphins are prohibited, as well.
And don't think about bringing in an elephant or any erinacidae - except for an African pygmy hedgehog.
You also can't own any chiroptera, that is, bats and flying foxes, which is too bad, because bat houses are all the rage these days.
Other prohibited pets are canidae, edentates, hyaenidae, marsupials, mustelidae, pinnipeds, and procyonidea. (I think I can spell them - don't ask me to pronounce them.)
And in case your Latin ain't as good as it was in high school, these categories include wolves, jackals, foxes (but dogs are allowed!!), anteaters, sloths, and armadillos, hyenas, kangaroos, opossums, and wallabies, minks, skunks, otters, badgers, and weasels (but, yes to ferrets), seals, fur seals, and walruses, and raccoons, coati-mundia, and cacomistles.
If you're more into bugs, make sure you are not caught with any millipedes, centipedes, stickbugs, or hissing cockroaches in Maple Ridge - although I guess you could always argue they just wandered in, like the neighbour's cat who hangs out a lot at my house.
And in case you were so inclined, don't buy any "old world" arachnids (eight legs, two body parts), bullfrogs, or scorpions, except of the pandinus species.
And for those of you who are thinking of modelling the Christina Lake couple who were feeding a dozen or so bears on their property - don't even go there. Ursidae are definitely prohibited.
And there's more. Snakes - sure, you can have a pet snake, as long as it's shorter than two metres when fully grown. But no pythons, at least amethyst, Burmese, reticulated (isn't that a yoga position?), or African pythons. Also green and yellow anacondas are prohibited. (How about if you breed them and get a brown one?)
What about a crocodile? Nope. They made the prohibited list along with alligators, caimans, and ghariels. Sorry, Mick Dundee.
If you want a lizard, make sure it won't be longer than one metre at full maturity. But don't try sneaking an African Nile monitor, an Asian water monitor, a Papuan monitor, an iguana iguana (common green iguana), or a tatara past the Mission-Maple Ridge border.
And if you want a cat, that's fine, as long as it's a domestic cat or a Savannah or Serval cat, but all other felidae are most definitely banned. That includes (according to Wikipedia) any tigers, lions, leopards, or jaguars, as well as cougars, cheetahs, lynxes, and ocelots.
Disclaimer: this is NOT an exhaustive list, although thinking about all these creatures in my house is making me very exhausted. For even more details, refer to the District of Maple Ridge animal control and licensing bylaw 6908-2012.