22 July 2011

Time for Non-Furry Pets (Tropical Fish, etc.)

Lest my last three blog posts give you the impression that I’m a cat person, which isn’t necessarily bad just incorrect, I thought I’d give a rundown of animal companions I’ve known. 

Logically, I should start from my youth and come forward, but if you’ve read my recent blog posts, you’re already familiar with excerpts from my notes to the pet sitters. In those notes about cats, it was sometimes necessary for me to leave instructions about other animals. At times we had tropical fish. (Believe me, “we” is a stretch.)

Tropical Fish--Pleco

For the most part, the fish were small. Nevertheless, because of their number, they eventually graduated from a small bowl to a sizable aquarium. Lassie and Rex were most appreciative for the diversion. Fortunately, we didn’t have Boss at the time; she would have drowned or dumped the tank. 
Lassie, quenching her thirst 
from our first fish bowl.

Here’s an extended excerpt, warning the pet sitter that she will encounter fish where there were none before. This excerpt focuses on an algae eater, Hypostomus plecostomus or pleco, that we called Godzilla. 
Godzilla look-alike pleco. Photo courtesy of Badman’s 
Tropical Fish (http://badmanstropicalfish.com/). 

Excerpt from Note to Pet Sitter

Vicki's fish tank is sort'a cool, at least there's Godzilla, who's easily distinguished from the other fauna and flora by his or her oval grin and -- if you have patience -- by his or her ability to extend a string of droppings the entire length of the aquarium! (Probably a him.) 

Each of Godzilla's… predecessors died about every full moon, just like Vicki’s regular, less talented tropical fish….Then Vicki discovered she was supposed to feed them. 

Wow! What a concept! Feed the fish. Well, by gosh, it worked. Vicki's 2-inch runt made it through the full moon and grew and grew and will soon climb from the tank to crush Tokyo. 

There's also a frog and snails in the tank. Well, sometimes. If they get out, don't worry-- unless of course they come in contact with your exposed skin. But I bet you won't let that happen.

Goodbye Godzilla the Pleco

Lacking a license to drive a crane, I needed two hands to lift our 10 inch Godzilla when we finally relented and returned him or her to the pet store for a better life. For a subsequent going out-of-town note to the same pet sitter, I wrote:

You may remember Godzilla. He/She finally escaped (no report yet from Tokyo). Vicki's experimenting with another big one that she calls "Big One." (Vicki's from Wisconsin.)

She gives Big an algae tablet every night. I have no idea if or when or what she feeds the other things that float about, trying to escape Big, who's a tad clumsy.

Turtle and Parakeet

In grade school, I had a turtle and a parakeet. The turtle wasn’t the most exciting of pets for an active young boy, but I quickly coached the plain yellow parakeet, frozen and traumatized the winter evening my parents brought it home, to do everything but speak. With such proven success I considered a career as a bird trainer until…crunch… the bird died. 
Box turtle.


  
The green or painted turtles that were sold when I was young were no more than 3 inches tip to tail. We found this box turtle on our lawn and brought it inside for an hour or so.
A bird, yes, but that’s a cockatiel
not a parakeet.
In college, the student with whom I shared an apartment for two years wanted a pet. He bought a small terrarium, added sand and a horned toad, which I guess are really horned lizards.

The animal lasted a couple weeks. It was so inanimate and required so little care, my roommate didn’t know it was dead for days.

Wrap Up

Thanks for stopping by. If you’ll permit me to continue my pet saga, I’ll come back in about a week and write about--ready?--dogs. Earlier next week, I’ll post a couple of non-furry pet photo addenda.

P.S.

I encourage any interested viewer to sign up (at bottom) for the emailed version of blog posts. I recommend, however, that the emailed version be used as an alert to check the website. The format of the emailed version can be quite different from what I lay out and any links, such as the YouTube video of Henry, may be absent.

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