Even if you don’t believe in God*, it always seems a bit inappropriate to play God. Perhaps even more so.
I’d worry about unsettling any ecosystem I wasn’t fundamentally familiar with. Which is probably all of them. If you were to make up an animal and dump it into an already settled environment, you’d potentially screw everything up. (Like when ‘God’ made people, except that we evolved naturally and so still technically part of the whole, just a very weird and arrogant part).
So anyway, taking inspiration from the cuddly toys nestled around me, I go with Neidr, the wooly snake (Colubridae Vellus).
Basically, we’re talking about a medium sized, quite thick, very friendly, wool-skinned house snake.
Because the only habitat I really know well enough is my bedroom, and quite frankly, I’ve disrupted the laws of ‘nature’ enough in here already.
An intelligent snake with a temperament halfway between a cat and a dog (not all the way dog, as nobody wants a snake to leap up at them everytime they come home). Something that comes to say hello, and coils friendlily around your legs, having spent the whole day basking in a conveniently sun drenched pile of clothes in the corner. It wouldn’t do tricks for you but it would be well up for cuddles and nestling.
I’m finding it hard to work out what it would eat. It certainly sounds like a carnivore, and it would be handy as a mouse/rat hunter, but if I’m making it, then I need to take responsibility for it’s ethics, so it’d have to be a vegetarian snake. This is okay once you remember that it’s made out of wool, so would presumably be a grazer. Just keep a bag of grass cuttings in the corner and it’ll be fine.
And when it sheds its skin you could totally use them as thigh high wooly socks! If that’s not too grotesque.
Snakes are surprisingly cuddly. It’s just the skin that’s a problem, so the Neidr (which is Welsh for snake by the way, and the name of my own cuddly snake) would be the perfect cosy animal. Although you’d have to keep the house clean and wash it quite often, which would probably be a bit tricky. Unless you’re a proper charmer.
Mating call, is kinda easy. You’re probably expecting me to say hiss, as that’s what snakes do. But fuck that shit. If I’m making an animal it’s going to be a honker. I love to honk. So I want an animal that honks at me, so I can honk back.
I’ve written this whole thing with my own inanimate Neidr coiled across my chest. I’m sure you’re all thinking I’m a bit weird for wanting a cuddly snake, but this was the best present ever, and if it was more animate, it’d be an even bigger part of the family.
So Neidr the cuddly snake it is. I’ll have a stripy one.
*Warning: More complex underlying viewpoint.
Illustration by Andy.