Sunday, July 13, 2008

A Timely Demise

My kids came home from a week at their grandparents' home with some new pets.

One caterpillar.

One chrysalis that was apparently a caterpillar earlier in the week.

Two bullfrog tadpoles.

Two crayfish AKA lobsters.

One baby snapping turtle.

As I thought these critters might be more enjoyable if we can actually see them, I went out and bought two fish bowls. My thinking here is that crayfish are bottom feeders and might help keep the water clean for the reptile and amphibians (notorious for putrefying water in about six hours).

First I put the crayfish in with the tadpoles (who sprouted arms today). While the kids watched their new pets, I looked online to see what we needed to feed these critters. The internet tells me that crayfish can co-exist with fish, but will try to eat them. About that time I noticed the crayfish were chasing after the tadpoles. As I thought the tadpoles might be more important to the kids, I immediately scooped the crayfish into the turtle habitat.

Then I look up what turtles eat. Mostly vegetarian, etc.. We bought some turtle pellets which he promptly ignored. We went out for a walk. We come back. Eldest said the crayfish is dead. We said no, he's not. He said he's missing his back legs. We said, no he's not, he's a crayfish, he's hiding his back half under the rock. He said, oh. He wants to go get a stick to poke him and make sure. We said, don't torture the stupid crayfish. He goes for a stick, anyway.

Enter Princess who starts the conversation over. By this time I've re-entered the area and look at the crayfish. Who is literally missing his back half. And, oh, so, very DEAD.

And a very satisfied snapping turtle that I didn't know had it in him.

Seriously people. This turtle is about the size of a child's fist. A very small child. The crayfish are not huge, but not tiny. I don't even want to know. But I've noticed the dead half a crayfish is now a dead quarter of a crayfish. I don't know where the other one is. I thought I saw him under the rock. I haven't seen him lately. I'm going to presume death. If not now, imminently.

This is not your mama's biology class.

Now, of course, I'll have to buy another fishbowl for the next load of crayfish we catch. Which I've already promised we'll do since I screwed up and killed two of their pets in one fell swoop. Besides, we need turtle food.

I didn't just type that.

Still can't figure out what to feed the caterpillar because I can't figure out what kind of caterpillar it is and it doesn't want any of the green stuff we've put in its bowl.

Anyone know of a really good field guide for identifying butterflies and caterpillars?


Anonymous said...

AM is driving me nuts to buy him that caterpillar/butterfly habitat-thing we keep seeing on tv. I told him to go find himself some caterpillars and we'll do it the old fashioned way :). No idea what to feed them, though.

Luckily, the "boys" don't bring home the critters they catch in the big "E". Finding a fish bowl for a 20 pound catfish is more challenge then this mama is willing to undertake. Plus, they are really, really gross.

Oh, and I can't believe a Kansan called them "crayfish". I had never heard that word until in Louisiana. They're crawdad's :).

Chaos-Jamie said...

I googled "feed crawdads" and my first hit said, "official name, 'crayfish.'" I guess they educated me. Well, that and I have family in the deep south that make Crawfish Etufe (How is THAT spelled? A-tu-fae?)

As soon as the caterpillars come out on my snapdragons, I'll have AM over. We usually have more than I can stand. Any day now.

Anonymous said...

Etouffee :).

Mr. and Mrs. Nurse Boy said...

I say just put the caterpillars in with the turtle and you have just killed two birds with one stone.

Or two caterpillars.