Most people grow up in a household where money is an issue, so decisions as trivial as what brand of cereal to buy to those as monumental as where to buy a house are always a battle of want versus need.
Likewise, when you graduate from racking up bills to busting your hump so that you can pay your bills, how you live and what your willing to pay for is usually dictated by what you can afford.
As a result, your cereal bowl is brimming with Marshmallow Safari instead of Lucky Charms, and curled at your feet is a fat, old dog, instead of a ten foot alligator.
This is not just a socially acceptable lifestyle, but one that keeps the average person pretty happy—something we quickly forget when our checking account balance suddenly jumps from four-figures (at best) to seven-plus.
Like those lottery winners who wake up one day to kiss life in a crappy apartment goodbye and celebrate their new McMansion's yard by filling it with weirdo, overpriced statues, pro athletes also find puzzling, and often awesome, ways to unleash their suddenly fat wallet.
There are few better examples of this phenomenon than the exotic and weird animals they choose to make their faithful companion(s).
Former Tennessee Titans tight end Visanthe Shiancoe doesn't feel the pressure to get a bunch of large scary dogs, just to fit in with all the cool kids. Obviously he doesn't care a bit about being cool.
Because nothing says "I'm not too cool" like having a couple of hyperactive pet ferrets—Smoke and Gee—that live with your mom six months a year.
I kid. Smoke and Gee are adorable…and a little creepy.
Born and raised outside of Austin, Texas, Nationals pitcher Ross Ohlendorf spends his offseason by chilling at his family's Texas ranch. Chilling with them and about 300 longhorn cattle.
I guess you can take the boy out of Texas, but he'll probably keep going back. I wonder how often they have to chase drunk UT frat bros away from their Bevo collection.
Apparently, former NFL wide receiver Chad Johnson-Ochocinco has had a lot of free time on his hands in recent months, which allows him to focus on buying animals.
In August, he tweeted this photo with the accompanying text: "Some cool black ribbon eels for my bedroom… As cuffing season nears, chicks love eels"
No, Chad. Chicks don't love eels.
In April 2011, Chad Johnson-Ochocinco tweeted this photo announcing the newest addition to the Johnson-Ochocinco clan—or maybe just a new friend?
His new best friend was a lemur named Pupilo. It's not entirely clear whether or not he actually bought the animal or if he was just hanging out with him in Miami.
Maybe they hit up some clubs later than night and eventually had a falling out over some trashy broads they'd both end up regretting having met? Who knows.
One of Chad Johnson-Ochocino's first exotic pets was a bengal tiger named Julio. That was back in the fall of 2010. I like to think that Julio is still of this earth, but it's been years since I've seen a photograph of him.
The one positive sign for Julio is that CJO reportedly spends, on average, $1,000 per month taking care of his many pets. The eels, fish and lemur can't cost that much to maintain, or can they? Honestly, I have no clue.
AC Milan footballer Mario Balottelli likes to keep the public guessing.
Last August, he did it by tweeting a photo of his adorable new pet piglet, Super—ya know, as opposed to driving into a women's prison uninvited, just because you wanted to have a look around.
The NBA's Mikki Moore grew up in Gaffney, S.C., which is apparently where he developed a love for all things slithery while exploring his grandmother's scary-sounding back yard.
As of 2008, Moore had started quite a collection of his own. It was reported by The New York Times that Moore had five snakes at the time, including two albino Burmese pythons, a Colombian red tail boa constrictor and two corn snakes.
That would make a total of 42 feet of snake bodies that he was responsible for keeping stuffed with rats. Here you thought having a pet was supposed to be an enjoyable experience.
In May 2011, future NBA free agent Carmelo Anthony tweeted his displeasure with the mundane pet practices of most people who go the obvious route with their cats and dogs.
Unlike y'all, 'Melo thinks outside the box when it comes to serious decisions like these. How far outside the box, you ask? Like, camel far. I'm not sure what the conversion rate is in distance from camels to yards.
I also think he may have been kidding about the pet camel. But since he never confirmed that one way or the other, I'm just going to assume he's got a pet camel living in his swanky Manhattan apartment.
The Cardinals' Darnell Dockett seems to have a growing collection of exotic pets. It started with an alligator, then a tiger cub and apparently he tried to buy a monkey over the summer.
That being said, there's at least one Phoenix writer, Matthew Hendley of Phoenix New Times, who thinks Dockett may just be messing with us. Let's hope that's the case, because you know this will end badly otherwise.
Speaking of Darnell Docket and his pet alligator, who he calls "Nino," the alligator in this photo doesn't look big enough to actually be Nino.
That must means he probably just got another one.
Niners quarterback Colin Kaepernick balances out his own personal speed with a pet that moves at a much more leisurely pace—an African spurred tortoise.
Sammy is already 115 pounds and he's not even fully grown yet. That's fine though, he has another 135 years to do his growing, which suits his life of leisure.
Oh, and Sammy has his own Twitter account, naturally.
Freestyle skier Patrick Deneen has, what may very well be, the cutest mountain farm in the history of the world. It's a pretty nice spread for the 2009 freestyle skiing world champion.
Also calling Deneen's farm in Washington home are two miniature donkeys named Carlos and Shawnie, a regular-sized donkey named Mr. Don Key, some horses and four border collies.
I wonder if the miniature donkeys ever gang up on the regular-sized donkey to slowly peck away at his self-esteem. I bet they do.
Boxer Mike Tyson has always loved pigeons. In fact, he got in his very first fight as a child after some neighborhood sociopath pulled the head off one of his feathered homies.
Tyson owns pigeons, races pigeons and even warns the world about the vast government conspiracy aimed at eradicating pigeons. If that last part is true, the government has obviously failed.
NBA problem child Gilbert Arenas made headlines on and off for years because of the ridiculously lavish custom shark tank he had constructed and later filled with sharks in his former home in Virginia.
In addition to the cost of the custom tank and installation, the monthly cost of upkeep was unreal. Arenas used to pay $5,000 a month to feed them and shelled out another $1,500 to pay their caretaker.
To pay that much money you'd think Arenas was really attached to those fish…but you'd be wrong. Apparently all the sharks are dead because someone dropped pennies into the tank—copper "distresses" them.
Could it be someone who didn't want to pay their bills anymore?
Former Louisville running back Tony Stallings and his understanding wife of five months, Vette, had a pretty full apartment during his senior season back in 2001.
Rounding out their family was a three-foot-long alligator named Baraka, a monitor lizard, a five-foot-long reticulated python and a two-foot-long Burmese python.
So, it was the couple, an excessive amount of reptiles to be living in an apartment and, of course, a freezer full of dead mice and rats to feed the "pets." Awesome.
In November, Jose Canseco and his girlfriend Leila Knight were pulled over by what I suspect ended up being some seriously confused cops. The couple were on their way home from picking up their new fainting goats, which were chilling in the back of the vehicle with their saggy diapers.
Because Canseco and his inexplicably hot girlfriend bought fainting goats and he broadcast the whole weirdo event in real time via both Twitter and Instagram, I'm pretty sure Canseco would cease to exist if people stopped looking at him for even a moment.
As it turns out, the fainting goats were returning with Jose Canseco and his lady friend to what was already a pretty full house. They were just the latest addition to the Canseco house of animal hoarding.
The couple already had two turtles and no less than seven dogs that come in all shapes and sizes. You know those two Weimaraners have to be absolutely miserable.
Until recently, the Lions' Louis Delmas was the proud poppa of a five-year-old alligator named Mojo. As of October, Mojo had grown to six feet long and was eating him out of house and home.
Young's new roommate, teammate Kevin Ogletree, was less than thrilled about the prospect of living with the massive gator. That is why Young decided to pass Mojo off to someone who is actually qualified to care for him.
Honestly, everyone wins here, especially Ogletree and Mojo.
Cowboys linebacker Ernie Sims is the dummy responsible for giving former teammate Louis Delmas an alligator that he eventually had to get rid of. When will people learn that baby alligators eventually grow into regular-sized alligators?
Anyway, back when Sims was playing for the Lions, he turned his suburban condo into one of those indoor zoo exhibits that nobody wants to go in. He had two alligators, several lizards, a bunch of snakes, various birds, dart frogs and, of course, black-tip sharks.
When Sims left Detroit, he just dropped them all off at the pet shop where he bought them from on his way out of town.
Back in 2010, the Grizzlies' Mike Miller pretty much defined his entire career with the decision to buy and be routinely photographed with a Java Macaque, which he named Sonny and made wear a teeny, tiny diaper.
It's been three years since then and, as you can imagine, Miller no longer owns a monkey. He recently reminisced about Sonny with the Washington Post, conveniently leaving out the details of Sonny's fate.
Such a responsible pet owner! Don't worry, though. Obviously, the monkey is gone. Miller now just has a couple of kids to worry about. He'll probably do an interview in 2016 and causally mention how he used to have kids, too.