If you've got a budding little scientist at home -- a fresh-faced kid fascinated by chemistry and medicine -- encouraging an interest in science will not only make him feel special, it could make the world a better place. You never know -- that kid in the backyard pouring salt on slugs? -- why, he could be the next Jonas Salk. Encourage his interests by giving him the gift of science! With so many good careers in the field of medical research (from lab technician to cancer specialist), you can rest assured that your child won't lack for work in the 21st century. Here are a few gift ideas to excite his imagination.


Farmers breeding lab rabbits are more suspicious of people these days than a customs agent at the Mexican border. Fearful of animal liberation activists, most "research breeders" will only sell live bunnies to people who already have a dead sheep's skin framed on their wall. With research animals ever harder to come by, how is the responsible parent supposed to stock his little scientist's lab? Pet stores, of course. After all, a bunny is a bunny is a bunny. While the results of your child's experiments may be compromised (since your lab animals weren't raised in a controlled environment), your child probably isn't looking to publish at this stage in his career anyway. He just wants to get his feet wet (and his hands bloody) in the exciting field of animal experimentation! Rabbits are perfect for all sorts of experiments, whether you're applying makeup to their eyelids, burning the hair off their backs, or just force-feeding them Diet Coke. Pet store bunnies usually run around $19.99 each (note: Just like real scientists, it's best not to tell the pet store owner what you're doing with the bunnies you purchase).

Scooter's Pets, 815 E Thomas, 322-6177.


There's gold in them thar hips! Liposuction is a high-paying sideline for anyone involved in medicine (however tenuously), so why not encourage your child to take an interest in this highly profitable cosmetic procedure? Practice makes perfect, so fatten up those lab rabbits (force-feeding tubes sold separately), and put your little doctor to work! Used with a standard syringe, your best bet is "the Cobra," a top-of-the-line, fat-sucking cannula. "This is a very aggressive cannula," says John Johnson, the president of the Tulip Co., a West Coast medical supplier. "The Cobra is also a coveted item because it minimizes embarrassing scar tissue." Stainless steel, this device is sturdy and delicate, so it won't perforate surrounding tissue as it sucks the fat away. Why not encourage your kid to suck the fat off the lab rabbit's stomach and put it back in its cheeks! Aw, that's cute! The Cobra cannula sells for $175 and up. Accessories, like the standard pocar (for initial incisions), will set you back $150-$200.

The Tulip Co., 619-557-8420.


When setting up your budding scientist's first lab, it's best to choose a soundproof room in your home (bunnies do make noise when their flesh is burned), with plenty of ventilation. But be warned: If you can't afford to have the floor and walls tiled, and a drain installed, your carpets and walls might become stained with bunny blood. Energine Spot Remover is the best friend a child's proud parents could have. This little product may not look like much -- it's the most generic-looking brand on the shelf -- but MAN does it work! Heavy-duty animal experiments usually lead to heavy-duty stains, but with Energine Spot Remover in the house, you won't ever have to worry about getting your security deposit back! Just rub some Energine Spot Remover on any spot on the carpet, scrub with a toothbrush, and watch that stain disappear! Remember, though, this potent stuff consists of 100% naphtha, so keep it out of reach if your child is using flammable devices (Bunsen burners, propane torches) in any of her experiments.

Available for $3.69 at QFC.


Animal rights activists are everywhere these days, impeding scientific progress and causing problems for medical professionals and hobbyists alike. If any of these dangerous radicals should discover what your little scientist is up to, they may be tempted to break into your home, liberate her bunnies, and destroy her notes! To protect your kid's important research, consider getting her a hostage puppy! What's cuter than a puppy? Nothing! PETA activists targeting her lab will be rendered helpless with grief and indecision once you make it clear that you have one, two, or a whole litter of puppies that you're prepared to injure or even kill if your child's important work is threatened. To get started, send those meddling activists an audio tape of a puppy being strangled, followed by a clear message to back off! Then keep a puppy and a blow torch near you 24 hours a day, so you're always prepared.

Puppies are available for $75 each at the Humane Society for Seattle King County, 425-453-9222. Microcassette recorders, like the Sony Pressman, run around $60 (tapes are extra), and can be found at your local Fred Meyer. Pick up a blowtorch for about $15 at Home Depot, 16616 Aurora Ave.


If your budding scientist is just starting out with only one or two bunnies in his lab, disposing of waste is no biggie: Toss the waste in a food processor, frappe, and flush! But if the child is really ambitious -- with 20 or more bunnies expiring on a weekly basis -- then he's producing lots of biohazardous waste! That's too much to flush, and federal, state, and local laws all frown upon illegally disposing biohazardous waste. Thankfully, there's one company out there ready to help. Allied Waste Systems charges $1.67 per gallon of biohazardous waste, regardless of the waste, and every customer gets a few 10-gallon tubs for free! An Allied representative, however, told us that his company won't remove biohazardous waste unless it's from a legal business operating in the state of Washington. So get your kid a business license (may we suggest the name "What's Up, Doc? Inc."?), and let him experiment on his bunnies in full compliance with the law!

Call Allied Waste Systems at 800-637-7939. Business licenses can be purchased for $15-$20 at the Washington Dept of Licensing, 360-664-1400.