Dear Leodini,

We are husband-and-wife magicians. We would like to add animals in our act.

What animals would you recommend?

We want animals that we can use in the show and also allow our children to keep as pets. You see, our children adore animals and want to play with them

We are torn between getting a rabbit and a white tiger. Please help us decide.

Ingrid and Troy


Hi Ingrid and Troy,

As parents and performing magicians, you will find that your choice of pets for your children and animals for your show depends on your budget. The deepness of your pocket may also define how long you want to keep them.

The little ones, though, don’t care what species of animals they get to keep as pets. Whether you give them a cuddly poodle or a child-swallowing anaconda, children will love it just the same.

If money is a concern, choose less exotic animals that are constantly on diet, as against high-priced, jungle animals (say, a cheetah) that are always hungry.

The rule of thumb is, avoid keeping carnivorous animals as pets or magic assistants. They eat lots of meat (which can be expensive over the long haul). They also oftentimes heed their jungle instincts, which is to regard little children, you or your audience as meal.

Don’t harbor the romanticized thought that treating tigers or lions as part of the family will inspire them to regard your family in return with love and affection. Tigers and lions don’t know about love and affection. What they know is that when they are hungry, people are delicious food. That’s the reason they treat people as food, not as a family. So stay away from them. They are not only expensive to keep but also dangerous.

Your children will be better off keeping fowl, birds and rabbits in the house. These animals are not only safe to become tenants of your house, but they also eat so little that their upkeep will not bust your wallet. And yet the enjoyment your children will derive from them will be the same enjoyment they will derive from wild animals.

As a magician who entertains children with livestock magic, I think I have the expertise to recommend the best animals to keep as pets. When I say “best”, I refer to animals that are both cost effective and safe to keep.

So give me your undivided attention…

Doves, the symbol of peace.
I keep five doves in the house. They are not the pigeon variety that you see released on wedding ceremonies. Rather they are Turtle Doves. Difficult to find, they cost more than ordinary doves. You only hear about them during Christmas when the carolers sing 12 Days of Christmas at your front gate.

Buy a pair, and I assure you, your children will fall in love with them on sight. Your children will swoon over them night and day, as turtle doves have the unerring ability to put kids in a state of ecstasy just by cooing and flapping their wings.

Doves are also perfect to use for Doves from Burning Gloves, otherwise they wouldn’t have named the trick after them.

Rabbit, the icon of magic. I have a rabbit named Roger. He goes to sleep in one second flat when I hypnotize him. He doesn’t eat carrots (oh, he hates them) contrary to what the books on rabbits claim that they do.

Just the same, rabbits are excellent pets to give your children. All manner of children love rabbits. The mere sight of a rabbit will move or excite children greatly.

That’s the reason that rabbits are always a hit at children’s shows.

Duck, lovable in its awkwardness. I also have a duck named Ugly, as in Ugly Duckling. Her special talent is to walk and quack like a duck.

Little children also love ducks a lot. I don’t know why, but they do.

I’ve had little children coming to me after the show and begging me to give them the duck I used in the performance. (These kids are smart. They know I still have the duck although they saw me make it disappear on stage.)

Of course, I always say no, because I use my duck in my other shows. Parents usually give me a baleful look every time I refuse to give away my duck, because then they have to haul a screaming, kicking child home.

Please keep in mind no to keep animals in the house as a hobby. Treat them more than pets. They are part of your family. They assist you in your shows, and therefore help you earn a living. Pamper them with love and attention. Those are good reasons that you don’t give them away after each show.

The only thing I don’t do with with the animals I use in my act is to French kiss them. I’d look weird if I did that with my rabbit. Besides, my wife is the jealous type.

Stay magical,


Buy Magic ‘To (The Next Level) tickets HERE.

Beautiful magic begins at 8 PM, September 8, 2007,

Philamlife Theater, UN Avenue, Manila

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