Monday, January 28, 2008

Reptilia

A blog has been percolating in my innards for well nigh around a month now. I was meaning to give a complete write-up of the Christmas bounty (complete with pictures to enable full envy!) but it's been more than a month now and I'm more than willing to move on. Well, kind of. It's more of a Christmas gift spotlight, since what I'm going to write about were a gift (on Christmas) from my loveable ex-roomie Geoff.

This is a blog about my turtles. For those of you who know my (sordid) history of turtle ownership, fear not. I have learned from my previous escapades and am now a wiser man.


Meet the turtles, from left to right, Persimmon (the turtle butt), Pomelo, and Kiwi, in a very rare glimpse of them all together.

Persimmon and Pomelo were the turtles gifted to me by Geoff. Kiwi is on loan from my sister. He was given to her by my younger brother when she went to visit him in California. He also has a turtle named Grape. Yes, they're all named after fruits.

It's amazing to me how distinguishable they all are in both appearance and in personality. Kiwi is older than the other two and has definitely become the Alpha turtle of the tank. He's also kind of a hog. He's a voracious eater, to the point that he now has little fat rolls popping out of his shell's leg holes. There's something about my sister raising animals with appetites. Her cat, Fredo, is also on the obese side. It's an odd thing for someone so skinny to raise fat animals.

KIWI SOAKS UP THE "SUN"

Pomelo is exactly the opposite. He's the prettiest out of the bunch, a very dark green with light colored swirls on his shell. But he's incredibly shy. Every time I would put my hands over the tank to feed them, he would rush for somewhere to hide. By the time he would feel safe enough to resurface, the food would be gone (thanks to Kiwi). I think this all traces back to an early experience with my in-laws cat. When you live in a tank your whole life, then are suddenly in danger of being eaten (or at least carried off and hidden) by a cat, it's gotta fracture your fragile little turtle psyche. Fortunately he just started to come around a few days ago. I think it finally got through to him that food is also needed to sustain his existence, not just hiding from the scary things.
POMELO, CAUGHT ON FILM!

Persimmon is crazy. He's definitely the most active of the bunch. He particularly seems to like swimming up against the back wall for some reason. We think he can see his own reflection and is particularly vain. He's not as comfortable around people as Kiwi is, but I like to think of him as kind of being the king's little crony. A very energetic second-in-command, waiting for his chance to overthrow. Sadly, I couldn't find a bigger picture of him than this one


The tank has been through quite a few changes.


This is what it looked like a few weeks ago, but it's changed considerably since then. First of all, there are rocks on the bottom. Second, there are different plants. (The one in the picture is a live plant, but they destroyed it. I bought some fake plants instead.) Third, there are more rocks for them to climb up and sun themselves on. And fourth, because the extra height of the extra stacked rocks, I filled the tank a couple inches higher. It looks a lot better now. As a matter of fact, I just sent Rachel to go take a picture of it so you can see it in its current glory.

The turtles are not alone in their abode however. The same time we bought the plant you see pictured, we bought six baby guppies. The idea was that the turtles could eat them if they wanted to. This idea apparently appealed to someone because now there are only four. We were quick to blame Kiwi. However, one of the guppies is now very definitely preggers, so we'll see some replacement and then some. An appreciating investment, if you will. We also bought a snail to help keep the tank clean. He was a "mystery snail" so Rachel named him Sherlock.

Rachel came back with pictures, taken on this very night!

BEHOLD
As you can see, there has been some improvement. The rocks that cover the bottom were particularly tricky, as there wasn't any large stoned aquarium gravel (turtles tend to eat what they can fit in their mouths). I ended up buying some decorative stones in the craft section and they look pretty nice.

One of the best things about turtle ownership is the zen-like feeling you get while watching them. It's kind of like having a fireplace, in that you can sit down in front of their tank and just zone out for a while.

A few weeks ago when we were rearranging the furniture in the basement we had a couple sofa chairs that we didn't know what to do with. So, as a joke, I set them both up facing the turtle tank and dubbed in the "Turtle Observation Station." It's been a few weeks, and I think those chairs now get more use than either of the couches or the loveseat.

I'll leave you now, as Rachel has already curled up beside me to try to sleep (she might be working tomorrow). As a parting gift, here are some more pictures.



Good Night,
Nathan
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