Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A Menagerie

The portion of this that describes the behavior of the fish might make more sense when you find that I was wrong about what kind it was (gasp). I confess, I'm not that much of an animal person. See correction in third comment down...
While I was waiting for Gary and Tim to come home from an errand, I worked on the overwhelming task of cleaning the garage. I came in to the sound of about 5 kids hollering in our front room--not trying to yell, just to be heard over each other. (It almost made me want to go back into the garage.) If they whispered the effort to communicate would have worked better. They were all abuzz about how Tim's new blue Tettra is a boy...they say. (How they know I'm not sure.) I couldn't imagine how it mattered...and I have already wondered how they come to have babies. They have a social life worse than porcupines, because even if they see another in an adjacent tank, they just about have a heart attack trying to kill the other. So anyway, whether it's a boy or a girl, how it could matter I can't even think. Usually I like to know basic facts about things in our house, but not when they're so hopelessly useless. Especially since the main activity of the fish is to do a still-life act like it's a fake suspended in gel instead of a real fish swimming around in water. Pretty depressing, to my way of thinking.
Tim's got quite a menagerie right now. In addition to the fish, there are for the moment the neighbors' two lizards they left with us so they could go on a trip. This is their third time, and you'd think we'd be good at it. They pay Tim a crazy $10 to spray them with water twice a day. He doesn't even open the cage for fear they might escape. Well, I don't know that we're any good at it. When she dropped them off, she said she wasn't sure about one of them, he'd lost his tail...later that day a young member of our household made the mistake of spraying their heat light with water, which made it shatter. We went to WalMart and bought two more bulbs, one for day and one for night because there were none quite like theirs, which they used for both. I thought maybe the day and night change would be good for the little lizard that had lost his tail. If so, it was too little too late. Today Tim noticed that the lizard wasn't moving and was turning a darker green. Well, so now there is the neighbor's one lizard. It's better than I thought it might be; without the lightbulb working, they hunkered down in the moss to try to keep warm. We couldn't see for a while whether they'd escaped or not, and I was imagining myself saying, "Here are your pet crickets..." which are the food they leave in the cage for the lizard(s). I wondered briefly whether they might be convinced that we had some fierce crickets that had turned on their lizards and eaten them instead? But no, I couldn't rely on that level of gullibility (though it might have worked on me).
And then there are the three hermit crabs, which live their lives peacefully and quietly these days, only altering things with a different choice of shell. I don't leave them as often to exercise in a different cage any more, because the one we have is the one they escape from so readily and I don't have the attention level or time to watch it for very long. But they don't complain, and they don't bark, and they're interesting if you pull them out to walk around, so I like them well enough.
So life here animal-wise is sort of peaceful, sort of uneventful, other than the death of a lizard. Until the neighbor kids come over to do their anatomical analyses.

4 comments:

J.OTIS MERSTER said...

My friends have lizards, and I think maybe there is a special type of lightbulb for them.
Funny reading this post, I first thought a tetra was some kind of action figure, and I thought the tank was a military tank, so the mating dilemma made perfect sense. I had to read it twice.

NeverAlone said...

Hi, JOM!
The two lightbulbs I bought were intended for lizards...the boy (one of the neighbors who owns the lizards) who came to pick the lizards up was amazed that the one had died. Thankfully he didn't show any anger or grief...haven't gotten their long-term reaction yet.
I re-read the post after your comment about the action figure. Hilarious! No, I don't think I'd care about the gender there, generally, either! Very funny!

NeverAlone said...

Okay, readers...I stand corrected by Katie. The fish is not a tetra, it's a betta. So I don't know my fish names and what they look like. We've only had it a few days, after all!
Mo' betta?

J.OTIS MERSTER said...

That's where I got confused. Isn't Tetra the brand of fish food?